BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Mark Leno, Chair                A
                             2009-2010 Regular Session               B

                                                                     2
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                                                                     1
          AB 2012 (Lieu)                                             2
          As Amended April 28, 2010
          Hearing date:  June 22, 2010
          Penal Code
          MK:mc


                                  CRIMINAL PROCEDURE  

                                       HISTORY

          Source:  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to  
          Animals
                   Los Angeles Society for Prevention of Cruelty to  
          Animals
                   State Humane Association of California

          Prior Legislation: None

          Support: Amador County Animal Control; California District  
                   Attorneys Association; Central California Society for  
                   the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Haven Humane  
                   Society; Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office;  
                   Marin Humane Society; SPCA for Monterey County; San  
                   Diego Human Society and SPCA

          Opposition:Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety 

          Assembly Floor Vote:  Ayes 69 - Noes 0



                                         KEY ISSUE




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                                                             AB 2012 (Lieu)
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          SHOULD THE POSSIBLE JAIL PENALTY FOR OVERLOADING, TORTURING,  
          TORMENTING, ET CETERA, AN ANIMAL BE INCREASED FROM UP TO SIX  
          MONTHS TO UP TO ONE YEAR?






                                       PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to conform the misdemeanor penalty  
          for overloading, torturing, tormenting, et cetera, an animal to  
          other subdivisions within the same section thus allowing for up  
          to one year in jail for the misdemeanor portion of the existing  
          wobbler.
          
           Existing law  provides that any person that does any of the  
          following is guilty of a felony and is punishable by  
          imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years, or  
          by a fine not to exceed $50,000, or by both such fine and  
          imprisonment:

                 Owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any dog, with the  
               intent that the dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of  
               fighting with another dog;
                 For amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight with  
               another dog, or causes any dogs to injure each other; or, 
                 Permits any of the above acts to be done on any premises  
               under his or her control, or aid or abets that act.  (Penal  
               Code  597.5(a).)
           
           Existing law  states that any person that is knowingly present,  
          as a spectator, at any place, building, or tenement where  
          preparations are being made for an exhibition of the fighting of  
          dogs, with the intent to be present at those preparations, or is  
          knowingly present at the exhibition, fighting or injuring with  
          the intent to be present at the exhibition, fighting, or  
          injuring is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment  




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                                                             AB 2012 (Lieu)
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          in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not  
          exceeding $5,000, or by both.  (Penal Code  597.5(b).)
           
           Existing law  provides that any person who causes any animal, not  
          including a dog, to fight with another animal, or permits the  
          same to be done on any property under his or her control, or  
          aids or abets the fighting of any animal is guilty of a  
          misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail or  
          by a fine not to exceed $5,000; or both.  (Penal Code   
          597b(a).)
           
           Existing law  provides that any person who causes a cock to fight  
          with another cock, or permits the same to be done on any  
          property under his or her control, and any person who aid or  
          abets the fighting of any cock or is present as a spectator is  
          guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the  
          county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed  
          $5,000, or by both.  (Penal Code  597b(b).)
           
           Existing law  provides that any person who is knowingly present  
          as a spectator at any place, building, or tenement for an  
          exhibition of animal fighting, or who is knowingly present at  
          that exhibition, or is knowingly present where preparations are  
          being made for the exhibition, fighting, or injuring of an  
          animal is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in  
          a county jail not to exceed six months, or by a fine not  
          exceeding $1,000, or by both.  (Penal Code  597c.)
           
           Existing law  provides that any person who owns, possesses, keeps  
          or trains any bird or other animal with the intent that that it  
          be used in an exhibition of fighting is guilty of a misdemeanor,  
          punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one  
          year, by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or by both.  (Penal Code   
          597j.)

           Existing law  provides that every person who maliciously and  
          intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living  
          animal or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal is  
          guilty of either a misdemeanor or felony, punishable by  
          imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year and/or by a  




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          fine up to $20,000, or by imprisonment in state prison for 16  
          months, 2 or 3 years and/or a fine up to $20,000.  (Penal Code   
          597(a).)

           Existing law  provides that every person who maliciously and  
          intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird,  
          reptile, amphibian, or fish is guilty of either a misdemeanor or  
          felony, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to  
          one year and/or by a fine up to $20,000, or by imprisonment in  
          state prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years and/or a fine up to  
          $20,000.  (Penal Code  597(c).)
            
           Existing law  states that every person who overdrives, overloads,  
          overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of drink, cruelly beats,  
          or mutilates an animal is guilty of either a misdemeanor or  
          felony, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to  
          six months and/or by a fine up to $20,000, or by imprisonment in  
          state prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years and/or a fine up to  
          $20,000.  (Penal Code  597(b).)

           This bill  makes the potential jail time for overloading,  
          overworking, et cetera, up to one year.

           This bill  reorganizes Penal Code Section 597 so penalties are  
          listed in one subsection.

                                          
              RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION IMPLICATIONS
          
          The severe prison overcrowding problem California has  
          experienced for the last several years has not been solved.  In  
          December of 2006 plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against the  
          Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sought a  
          court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the  
          federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.  On January 12, 2010, a  
          federal three-judge panel issued an order requiring the state to  
          reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity  
          -- a reduction of roughly 40,000 inmates -- within two years.   
          In a prior, related 184-page Opinion and Order dated August 4,  
          2009, that court stated in part:




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               "California's correctional system is in a tailspin,"  
               the state's independent oversight agency has reported.  
               . . .  (Jan. 2007 Little Hoover Commission Report,  
               "Solving California's Corrections Crisis: Time Is  
               Running Out").  Tough-on-crime politics have increased  
               the population of California's prisons dramatically  
               while making necessary reforms impossible. . . .  As a  
               result, the state's prisons have become places "of  
               extreme peril to the safety of persons" they house, .  
               . .  (Governor Schwarzenegger's Oct. 4, 2006 Prison  
               Overcrowding State of Emergency Declaration), while  
               contributing little to the safety of California's  
               residents, . . . .   California "spends more on  
               corrections than most countries in the world," but the  
               state "reaps fewer public safety benefits." . . .  .   
               Although California's existing prison system serves  
               neither the public nor the inmates well, the state has  
               for years been unable or unwilling to implement the  
               reforms necessary to reverse its continuing  
               deterioration.  (Some citations omitted.)























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               . . .

               The massive 750% increase in the California prison  
               population since the mid-1970s is the result of  
               political decisions made over three decades, including  
               the shift to inflexible determinate sentencing and the  
               passage of harsh mandatory minimum and three-strikes  
               laws, as well as the state's counterproductive parole  
               system.  Unfortunately, as California's prison  
               population has grown, California's political  
               decision-makers have failed to provide the resources  
               and facilities required to meet the additional need  
               for space and for other necessities of prison  
               existence.  Likewise, although state-appointed experts  
               have repeatedly provided numerous methods by which the  
               state could safely reduce its prison population, their  
               recommendations have been ignored, underfunded, or  
               postponed indefinitely.  The convergence of  
               tough-on-crime policies and an unwillingness to expend  
               the necessary funds to support the population growth  
               has brought California's prisons to the breaking  
               point.  The state of emergency declared by Governor  
               Schwarzenegger almost three years ago continues to  
               this day, California's prisons remain severely  
               overcrowded, and inmates in the California prison  
               system continue to languish without constitutionally  
               adequate medical and mental health care.<1>

          The court stayed implementation of its January 12, 2010, ruling  
          pending the state's appeal of the decision to the U.S. Supreme  
          Court.  On Monday, June 14, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed  
          to hear the state's appeal in this case.   
          ---------------------------
          <1>   Three Judge Court Opinion and Order, Coleman v.  
          Schwarzenegger, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, in the United States  
          District Courts for the Eastern District of California and the  
          Northern District of California United States District Court  
          composed of three judges pursuant to Section 2284, Title 28  
          United States Code (August 4, 2009).




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           This bill  does not appear to aggravate the prison overcrowding  
          crisis described above.

                                      COMMENTS

          1.    Need for This Bill  

          According to the author:

            In the California Penal Code, both animal cruelty and animal  
            neglect are wobblers.  Both offenses have potential felony  
            charges; however the penalty for animal cruelty as a  
            misdemeanor is up to one year in county jail and/or an  
            associated fine (up to $20,000).  While the fine for animal  
            neglect is the same, the penalty for a misdemeanor offense is  
            only punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail.  Although  
            animal neglect causes prolonged agony and pain to the animals  
            involved, the penalty is not in proportion to the sentence for  
            a single act of animal cruelty.

            Animal abuse is a serious concern, and the awareness for this  
            disturbing crime is growing. Although there is a particular  
            focus on protecting animal welfare, there is also a disparity  
            in current law surrounding this issue. 

            Animal abuse is separated into two main categories: animal  
            cruelty and animal neglect. Animal cruelty generally refers to  
            a single act of harm on an animal, while animal neglect is  
            defined as an act that causes extended or prolonged suffering.  
             While animal neglect can be considered a horribly egregious  
            offense inflicting extensive distress to an animal, the  
            associated penalty for the crime is inconsistent with that of  
            animal cruelty. 

            Cases of animal neglect are prevalent, and it occurs when one  
            deprives an animal of basic needs, including shelter,  
            nutrition, and medical care.  In a study of 1,400 animal  
            cruelty cases conducted by the Humane Society of the United  
            States, 41 percent of the cases involved animal neglect.  This  












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            overwhelming number reiterates the importance of protecting  
            animals from neglect as well as cruelty. 

            Whether animals are tortured or starved, too often the end  
            result in either case is death.  In cases of neglect, the  
            abuse is more prolonged and the neglected animal ends up  
            slowly decaying and suffering due to starvation, dehydration,  
            and/or disease. 
          
          2.   Penalty for Animal Torture  

          Existing law provides that the penalty for overworking,  
          overloading, torturing, et cetera, an animal is a wobbler with a  
          penalty of up to six months in jail or 16 months, 2 or 3 years  
          in prison and a fine up to $20,000.  The penalties, within the  
          same section, for intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing  
          or abusing an animal is a wobbler with a penalty of up to one  
          year in jail or 16 months, 2 or 3 years in prison and a fine up  
          to $20,000.  This bill conforms the penalties for torturing an  
          animal by making the penalty for all types of torture within  
          Penal Code Section 597 the same penalty of up to one year in  
          county jail or imprisonment in state prison for 16 months, 2 or  
          3 years and a fine of up to $20,000.  This bill also makes  
          technical changes within Penal Code  597.


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