BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







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        |Hearing Date:June 29, 2009         |Bill No:AB                         |
        |                                   |490                                |
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                       SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS
                                AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                         Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, Chair

                          Bill No:        AB 490Author:Smyth
                         As Amended:May 4, 2009   Fiscal: Yes

        
        SUBJECT:   Pet stores. 
        
        SUMMARY:  Modifies the definition of pet store, and revises and  
        clarifies the guidelines and requirements for a pet store operator or  
        employee of a pet store to euthanize rodents and rabbits intended as  
        food for another animal.

        Existing law:

   1)Establishes the Pet Store Animal Care Act (ACT), which regulates the  
          care and maintenance of animals in the custody of a pet store  
          and provides limits on the sale or transfer of those animals.

   2)Provides that the Legislature does not intend, by this Act, to  
          regulate the care or handling of animals in or on farms,  
          ranches, livestock or horse auctions, livestock markets,  
          slaughtering facilities, or any place other than pet stores.

   3)Defines a "pet store" as any retail establishment open to the public  
          and selling or offering for sale animals.

   4)Provides that a person who sells, exchanges, or otherwise transfers  
          only animals that were bred or raised, or both, by the person,  
          or sells or transfers only animals kept primarily for  
          reproduction, shall be considered a breeder and  not  a pet store.

   5)Provides that an animal intended as food for another animal may be  
          destroyed using a method or methods of euthanasia that are  
          humane, involve painless loss of consciousness and immediate  
          death as specified in Appendix 2 of the American Veterinary  
          Medical Association (AVMA) 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on  





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          Euthanasia, and as authorized for the species in the documented  
          program as prescribed.

   6)Requires that each employee who performs euthanasia shall receive  
          adequate training in the method or methods used and proof of  
          successful completion of that training shall be documented in  
          writing and retained by the pet store, and that all training  
          records shall be maintained for two years and be made available,  
          upon request, to appropriate law enforcement officers, as  
          specified.  

        


        This bill:

        1)Changes the definition of "pet store" and provides that a pet store  
          is a retail establishment open to the public that sells or offers  
          for sale animals as pets, or animals intended as food for other  
          animals, but that a "pet store" does  not  include a retail  
          establishment selling or offering for sale animals to be used in  
          commercial or agricultural operations or for commercial or  
          agricultural purposes, for student or youth projects, or for  
          educational purposes.

        2)Clarifies that an animal intended as food for another animal is a  
          rodent or rabbit.

        3)Clarifies the requirements for a rodent or rabbit to be destroyed by  
          the pet store if it is to be used as food for another animal, by  
          requiring a pet store operator or an employee to euthanize the  
          animal by a method that is performed in a humane manner, appropriate  
          for the species, authorized by state law, and in compliance with the  
          American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) pursuant to  
          Guidelines on Euthanasia, dated June 2007, published by the AVMA. 

        4)Requires that in addition to a pet store operator or an employee of  
          a pet store who will perform euthanasia be properly trained and  
          proficient in performing the method of euthanasia on that particular  
          species, that they also be  certified , in writing, by a  
          California-licensed veterinarian that they have received such  
          training and are proficient in providing euthanasia to the animal,   
          and that the certification shall be made available, upon request, to  
          the appropriate law enforcement officers, as specified.

        5)No longer requires the pet store to maintain records of the training  





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          of the pet store operator or employee in euthanasia for two years,  
          only the certification required by the veterinarian for a period of  
          three years.

        6)Specifies that it is the responsibility of the pet store operator to  
          ensure that euthanasia is performed in compliance with the specified  
          requirements. 

        FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations analysis,  
        dated May 13, 2009, minor, if any, nonreimbursable local prosecution  
        costs, offset by fine revenue, as this bill expands an existing crime.

        COMMENTS:
        
        1.Purpose.  The Sponsor of this measure is  the Pet Industry Joint  
          Advisory Council  .  According to the Sponsor, this bill provides  
          for the minor clean-up of  two   issues  in the Pet Store Animal  
          Care Act (PAC Act) which will go into effect on January 1, 2009,  
          pursuant to  AB 1347  (Caballero, Chapter 703, Statutes of 2007).

        The first area of clarification is made at the request of the  
          California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).  They want  
          to ensure that agricultural establishments are not considered  
          pet stores for purposes of the Act.  As the Sponsor indicates,  
          the PAC Act included this exemption in intent language, but it  
          did not include the agricultural exclusion in the text of the  
          law itself.  As a condition of CDFA's support for AB 1347, it  
          was agreed that the agricultural exclusion language be placed in  
          the substantive text of the law itself.  This measure takes care  
          of that issue by providing for an agricultural establishment  
          exclusion into the text of the law itself (as opposed to simply  
          the intent language) by exempting agricultural establishments  
          from the definition of a "pet store" and clarifies that  
          agricultural establishments were not intended to be considered  
          pet stores under the PAC Act.

        The second clean-up issue is to clarify accepted euthanasia  
          practices for certain animals in pet stores.  There has been  
          some confusion over the appropriate guidelines to be followed in  
          providing euthanasia, in particular those specified by the  
          American Veterinary Medical Association, and also the need to  
          clarify the training provided to those who may perform  
          euthanasia within the pet stores.  Animal protection groups, pet  
          stores and the California Veterinary Association, according to  
          the Sponsor, are in agreement over the changes made in this  
          measure to those requirements.





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      2.Background.

           a)   The Pet Store Animal Care Act (PAC Act).  The PAC Act  
             established criteria and procedures for the care and maintenance  
             of animals in California pet stores.  It also established a new  
             infraction process which would require enforcement officers to  
             clearly indicate the nature of the alleged infractions, identify  
             the corrective action to be taken, and include the timeframe in  
             which corrections be completed.  The PAC Act came about as a  
             joint effort on the part of animal protection groups and the pet  
             industry to provide clearer guidelines on the care and handling  
             of animals sold within pet stores.

           b)   Previous Similar Legislation.  This measure is similar to  SB  
             986  (Ridley-Thomas) of 2008, which the Governor vetoed.  This is  
             one of many measures that the Governor vetoed with the message  
             that, due to the delay in passing the 2008-09 State Budget, he  
             would only sign bills that were "the highest priority for  
             California."  SB 986 was vetoed for this reason.

           c)   American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines on  
             Euthanasia.  The AVMA is a not-for-profit association  
             representing more than 76,000 veterinarians working in private  
             and corporate practice, government, industry, academia, and  
             uniformed services.  The AVMA asserts that whenever it becomes  
             necessary to kill any animal for any reason whatsoever, death  
             should be induced as painlessly and quickly as possible.

           In 2006, the AVMA convened a panel of scientists to produce the  
             AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia.  These guidelines summarize  
             contemporary scientific knowledge on euthanasia in animals and  
             call attention to the lack of scientific reports assessing pain,  
             discomfort, and distress in animals being euthanized, and are  
             intended for use by members of the veterinary profession who  
             carry out or oversee the euthanasia of animals.  They also  
             include instructions on proper euthanasia techniques.

        3.Support if Amended.   Born Free USA  has strong concerns regarding  
          language in this measure, as amended.  According to Born Free, the  
          definition of "pet store" as amended in the Assembly Agriculture  
          Committee is now vague and largely unenforceable.  It has the  
          potential to completely undermine existing pet shop laws under AB  
          1347.







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        Specifically, the concerns of Born Free are:

           a)   The exemption for agriculture is so broad that it swallows up  
             the entire pet store definition.  It is so broadly written that a  
             pet store selling traditional pet animals could avoid existing  
             laws under AB 1347 by simply offering for sale one or two  
             chickens.  This part of the definition essentially guts AB 1347  
             and, as such, is very problematic to them.  Born Free strongly  
             urges that it be significantly tightened.  As stated by Born  
             Free, "This exemption was the subject of detailed negotiations  
             and the revision of the agreed-upon language is of great concern  
             to us."

           b)   The language added in the first sentence of the definition  
             referencing animals "as pets or intended as food for other  
             animals" is vague and confusing.  It triggers questions as to  
             which animals would be considered "pets" and which would not.   
             This was not the intent of AB 1347 and this new language raises  
             enforcement issues as it is unclear to whom the existing laws  
             apply.

           c)   The language exempting facilities that sell animals "for  
             student or youth projects, or for educational purposes" is  
             something that never was discussed amongst stakeholders.  It is  
             new language and presents enforcement problems.  Who determines  
             what an "educational purpose" is?  How is it defined?  And why  
             are these animals to be subjected to less humane conditions than  
             other animals under existing law?  What exactly are "student or  
             youth projects" and who determines the buyer's intent in making  
             such purposes?

          Born Free suggests the following amendment to the definition of "pet  
          store":

          "Pet store" means a retail establishment open to the public and  
          selling or offering for sale animals,  including animals  as pets or  a  
           animals intended as food for other animals. "Pet store" does not  
          include a retail establishment open to the public and selling or  
          offering for sale  only  animals to be used  directly  in  commercial or   
           agricultural operations for the raising of livestock or poultry on a  
          farm or a ranch  .  or for commercial or agricultural purposes, for  
          student or youth projects, or for educational purposes  . A person who  
          sells, exchanges, or otherwise transfers only animals that were bred  
          or raised, or both, by the person, or sells or otherwise transfers  
          only animals kept primarily for reproduction, shall be considered a  





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          breeder and not a pet store.

        4.Technical and Clarifying Amendments Needed.  This measure defines  
          "pet store" as "a retail establishment open to the public and  
          selling or offering for sale animals as pets or  animals intended as  
          food for other animals."  As indicated, this change in the current  
          definition provides uncertainty in what animals may or may not be  
          considered as "pets," such as fish, reptiles or other exotic  
          species, and establishments which may or may not be covered by the  
          PAC Acts.  The original intent of the PAC Act was to cover all types  
          of animals whether considered pets or otherwise.  The addition to  
          the definition of what a "pet store" does  not  include, "Those  
          establishments offering for sale animals used in commercial or  
          agricultural operations or purposes, or for student or youth  
          projects, or for educational purposes," is also problematic.  The  
          intent of PAC Act again was to cover any establishment which as part  
          of its business may be providing animals for sale, however, those  
          establishments which are only in the business to provide animals for  
          agricultural operations were to be excluded.  By stating  
          establishments involved in "commercial or agricultural operations or  
          purposes" and or providing animals "for student or youth projects or  
          for educational purposes"  now causes confusion to what  
          establishments may be covered under the PAC Act, especially since a  
          commercial venture in selling animals could be separate and apart  
          from an agricultural business.  The following amendments should be  
          made to this definition:  

          On page 3, lines 30 to 36, make the following changes:

          "Pet store" means a retail establishment open to the public and  
          selling or offering for sale animals,  including animals  as pets or  a  
           animals intended as food for other animals. "Pet store" does not  
          include a retail establishment open to the public and selling or  
          offering for sale animals  for purposes that are directly related to  
          an agricultural operation for the raising of livestock or poultry on  
          a farm or a ranch   to be used in commercial or agricultural  
          operations or for commercial or agricultural purposes, for student  
          or youth projects, or for educational purposes.  A person who sells,  
          exchanges, or otherwise transfers only animals that were bred or  
          raised, or both, by the person, or sells or otherwise transfers only  
          animals kept primarily for reproduction, shall be considered a  
          breeder and not a pet store.


        SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
        





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         Support:  

        Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (Sponsor)
        California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
        City of West Hollywood

         Support if Amended  :  

        Born Free USA
         
        Opposition:  

        None on file as of June 24, 2009.



        Consultant:Bill Gage