BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                                    CONSENT


          Bill No:  AB 2243
          Author:   Smyth (R)
          Amended:  5/6/10 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 6/15/10
          AYES:  Corbett, Harman, Hancock, Leno, Walters

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 4/5/10 (Consent) - See last page for  
            vote


           SUBJECT  :    Civil law:  search and rescue dogs

           SOURCE  :     California Emergency Management Agency


           DIGEST  :    This bill clarifies the emergency service law to  
          ensure that the protections for emergency services dogs,  
          including protections appropriately prohibiting  
          discrimination against the dogs' handlers, apply during  
          non-declared disasters, and extends these protections to  
          search and rescue dogs handled by volunteers legally  
          registered with government agencies.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law provides that a peace officer or  
          firefighter assigned to a canine unit, who is assigned to  
          duty away from his or her home jurisdiction because of a  
          declared federal, state, or local emergency, and in the  
          course and scope of his or her official duties, may not be  
          discriminated against in hotels, lodging establishments,  
          eating establishments, or public transportation by being  
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          required to pay an extra charge or security deposit for the  
          peace officer's or firefighter's dog.  (Civil Code Section  
          54.25(a)(1).)

          Existing law further provides the peace officer's law  
          enforcement agency or the firefighter's fire agency is  
          liable for any damages to the premises or facilities caused  
          by the peace officer's or firefighter's dog.  (Civil Code  
          Section 54.25(a)(1).)

          Existing law states that any person, firm, association, or  
          corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, association,  
          or corporation that prevents a peace officer or a  
          firefighter assigned to a canine unit and his or her dog  
          from exercising, or interferes in the exercise of, the  
          rights specified in this section is subject to a civil fine  
          not exceeding $1,000.  (Civil Code Section 54.25(b).)

          This bill prohibits discrimination against the handler of a  
          search and rescue dog assigned to duty away from his or her  
          home jurisdiction because of a declared federal, state, or  
          local emergency, or an official mutual aid request or  
          training, and in the course and scope of his or her duties  
          in hotels, lodging establishments, eating establishments,  
          or public transportation by being required to pay an extra  
          charge or security deposit for the dog.

          This bill expands the circumstances for the prohibition of  
          discrimination to include when the peace officer,  
          firefighter, or handler is away from his or her home  
          jurisdiction because of an official mutual aid request or  
          training in addition to declared emergencies.

          This bill provides that peace officers and firefighters  
          assigned to a canine unit, or handlers of a search and  
          rescue dog shall not be denied service based on the  
          presence of the dog.

          This bill requires the handler, in addition to the peace  
          officer's law enforcement agency or the firefighter's fire  
          agency, to be liable for any damages to the premises or  
          facilities caused by the search and rescue dog.

          This bill defines "handler of a search and rescue dog" to  







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          mean a person in possession of a dog that is in training to  
          become registered and approved as a search and rescue dog,  
          or that is currently registered and approved for tasks,  
          including, but not limited to, locating missing persons,  
          discovering controlled substances, explosives, or cadavers,  
          or locating victims in collapsed structures, and assisting  
          with peace officer on-command searches for suspects and  
          victims at crime scenes.

          This bill defines "search and rescue dog" to mean a dog  
          that has been trained and approved as a search and rescue  
          dog, or that is currently registered and approved for  
          search and rescue work with a search and rescue team  
          affiliated with the California Emergency Management Agency  
          (Cal EMA).  The term also includes a dog that is in  
          training to become registered and approved for that work.

          The bill specifies that the provisions of the bill is not  
          intended to prevent the removal of the search and rescue  
          dog in the event the search and rescue dog creates an  
          excessive disturbance to the quiet enjoyment of the  
          property.  In the event of an excessive disturbance, the  
          peace officer, firefighter, or handler of the search and  
          rescue dog shall be given a minimum of one warning notice  
          of the excessive disturbance and an opportunity to correct  
          the disturbance.  The mere presence of the dog within the  
          hotel, lodging establishment, food establishment, or public  
          transportation shall not be considered an excessive  
          disturbance.

           Background
           
          Fire and law enforcement agencies deploy dogs and their  
          human handlers outside of their jurisdictions to assist  
          with the search and rescue of people who are buried under  
          debris, trapped in mines, lost in the wilderness, drowned  
          in waterways, or otherwise missing.  When these canines and  
          their handlers are deployed, they often travel long  
          distances and must stay in hotels and other lodging.  Often  
          these highly trained canines cannot be left alone or in  
          vehicles because of high temperatures or other conditions,  
          and must accompany their handlers into restaurants or other  
          public buildings.  Currently, existing law only provides  
          special privileges for these dogs when there is a declared  







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          disaster and the dogs are in the presence of peace officers  
          and firefighters.  In many circumstances, a disaster has  
          not been declared but the dogs are requested through the  
          state's mutual aid system, which is managed by Cal EMA. 

          A majority of these canines are handled by volunteers and  
          not actual employees of the fire or law enforcement  
          agencies they serve.  Members of these volunteer search and  
          rescue (SAR) groups are registered as Disaster Service  
          Workers under state law and must meet strict standards  
          established by Cal EMA.  When requested by local  
          jurisdictions, these SAR volunteers are dispatched by Cal  
          EMA to support mutual aid operations in a city or county.   
          Teams are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to  
          respond to local, state, and federal agencies.  

          In 2008, the Legislature acted to protect a peace officer  
          or firefighter with a trained service dog from  
          discrimination by lodging and eating establishments, and  
          public transportation, during a declared emergency, (AB  
          2131 (Niello), Chapter 226, Statutes of 2008).  This bill  
          extends this protection to handlers of search and rescue  
          dogs and provide that peace officers, firefighters, and  
          handlers with search and rescue dogs shall not be denied  
          service by lodging and eating establishments or public  
          transportation on the basis of the presence of the search  
          and rescue dog. 

           Prior Legislation
           
          AB 2131 (Niello), Chapter 226, Statutes of 2008, passed on  
          consent with a vote of 40-0 on September 2, 2008.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  6/22/10)

          California Emergency Management Agency (source)
          Antelope Valley Kennel Club Inc.
          California Federation of Dog Clubs
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          Concerned Dog Owners of California
          Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc.







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          The Humane Society of the United States
          Peace Officers Research Association of California
          PetPAC; Save Our Dogs


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author's office writes,  
          "Existing law (Civil Code [Sec.] 54.25) provides  
          protections for canines under the control of a firefighter  
          or peace officer, exclusively.  These canines are permitted  
          to work off leash in the course of their duties and their  
          handlers cannot be discriminated against in hotels, lodging  
          establishments, eating establishments, or public  
          transportation by being required to pay an extra charge or  
          security deposit.  These protections only apply during  
          declared disasters and only to official firefighters and  
          peace officers. 

          "Without the protections currently provided to search and  
          rescue (SAR) dogs under the control of a firefighter or  
          peace officer, the volunteer dog handlers are often forced  
          to pay extra charges and security deposits, while peace  
          officer and firefighter units are not.  AB 2243 would  
          remedy this problem by expanding these protections to SAR  
          dog teams registered by the California Emergency Management  
          Agency (Cal EMA).  It would also clarify that the  
          protections also apply during "official mutual aid"  
          deployments and not only during declared disasters."

          The author's office reported many instances of SAR dog  
          handlers being charged additional fees by lodging  
          establishments because of the presence of the SAR dogs.   
          Further, Save Our Dogs, a supporter of this bill,  
          demonstrates the critical need for this bill as follows,  
          "Many hotels/motels do not allow dogs, and many others have  
          limits on the size of dogs such 20 or 30 pounds.  Almost  
          all SAR dogs are 30 to 90 pounds. . . . When a person is  
          traveling with their dog on vacation this is not a  
          significant problem - they have plenty of time in advance  
          to find a hotel/motel that will accommodate their dog.    
          SAR responders don't have time to do that . . . . We are  
          often paged out late in the day to arrive at a distant  
          location by early the next morning.   SAR is an emergency.   
          When the pager goes off, we load up our truck with our gear  
          and dog, and drive."







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           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Ammiano, Anderson, Arambula, Bass, Beall,  
            Bill Berryhill, Tom Berryhill, Block, Blumenfield,  
            Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan, Caballero, Charles  
            Calderon, Carter, Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De  
            La Torre, De Leon, DeVore, Emmerson, Eng, Evans, Feuer,  
            Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Fuller, Furutani, Gaines,  
            Galgiani, Garrick, Gilmore, Hagman, Hall, Harkey,  
            Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber, Huffman, Jeffries,  
            Jones, Knight, Lieu, Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma,  
            Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Nava, Nestande, Niello,  
            Nielsen, V. Manuel Perez, Ruskin, Salas, Saldana, Silva,  
            Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Audra Strickland, Swanson,  
            Torlakson, Torres, Torrico, Tran, Villines, Yamada, John  
            A. Perez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Blakeslee, Norby, Portantino, Vacancy


          RJG:do  6/23/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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