BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2689
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 28, 2010

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                                Cameron Smyth, Chair
                    AB 2689 (Smyth) - As Amended:  April 22, 2010
           
          SUBJECT  :  Rabies vaccinations.

           SUMMARY  :  Authorizes the responsible city, county, or city and  
          county in a designated rabies area to specify the means by which  
          a dog owner is required to provide proof of his or her dog's  
          rabies vaccination, including, but not limited to, by electronic  
          means or facsimile, and contains an urgency clause.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires the state Public Health Officer to designate rabies  
            areas.

          2)Requires, in rabies areas, every dog owner after his or her  
            dog attains the age of four months to not more often than once  
            a year have his or her dog vaccinated against rabies by a  
            licensed veterinarian.

          3)Makes a violation of these requirements an infraction.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :

          1)In 1957, California passed the original Rabies Control Act [SB  
            1231, Chapter 1781, Statutes of 1957] with the purpose of  
            controlling and eliminating rabies with animal control  
            measures and animal vaccination programs as an important  
            element of the law.

          Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous  
            system that infects wild and domestic animals, as well as  
            humans.  The virus is usually passed through the bite of a  
            rabid animal, but may be transmitted via saliva.  In  
            California, domestic animals account for three percent of  
            animal rabies, with the rest occurring in wild animals.   
            Provisional data from the Department of Public Health reports  
            one case of rabies in a dog in the past 15 months.









                                                                  AB 2689
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          The California Code of Regulations requires a current valid  
            official vaccination certificate in order for a dog owner to  
            receive a dog license.  Vaccination certificates are required  
            to include, among other things, the signature of the  
            veterinarian administering the vaccine or a signature  
            authorized by him or her.

          2)According to the author, AB 2689 seeks to remove the  
            antiquated administrative requirement for presentation of  
            written rabies certificates by allowing licensing agencies to  
            establish methods of verifying rabies vaccination using modern  
            communication and technology.  The  author says the written  
            documents forwarded by veterinarians and dog owners take a  
            variety of forms and can readily be falsified with modern  
            printers and computers.  Because the legal 


          requirement is for written proof, the limited available  
            resources for follow-up and enforcement are focused on  
            obtaining written proof so that a dog license is valid, rather  
            than random auditing of information to confirm its validity.

          The sponsor, City of Los Angeles, estimates there are well over  
            300,000 dogs in its jurisdiction, with only about 30%  
            licensed.  The requirement that proof of rabies vaccination  
            can be only through a defined written certificate prevents use  
            of the Internet or other electronic means to improve licensing  
            rates.  Even though the City of Los Angeles has created an  
            online application for licensing, the process is not helpful  
            to dog owners because they cannot obtain a new license or  
            renew an existing license if the rabies paperwork is expired,  
            which requires mailing a separate written form.  Tracking  
            separately mailed forms leads to delays and inefficiencies.   
            The sponsor says that, for dog owners, it burdens the process,  
            making noncompliance an attractive choice.  According to the  
            sponsor, a portion of licensing revenue is used to fund spay  
            and neuter subsidy programs, which help to reduce pet  
            overpopulation and thereby bring down the cost of animal  
            control programs in the long term.

           3)Support Arguments  :  Supporters, The English Shepherd Club and  
            The Humane Society of the United States, say measures that  
            facilitate easier dog licensing increase the number of  
            licensed dogs.  Save Our Dogs says AB 2689 also will increase  
            return-to-owner rate for dogs picked up as strays and decrease  








                                                                  AB 2689
                                                                  Page  3

            the number of dogs euthanized in animal shelters.  Actors and  
            Others for Animals write that, today one can do almost any  
            business over the Internet, so allowing municipalities to  
            provide an easy and convenient way to provide dog vaccination  
            certificates makes sense and will increase fee revenue.

           Opposition Arguments  :  The opposition might say the system of  
            submitting a rabies vaccination certificate with an original  
            signature prevents fraud and ensures dogs are getting the  
            proper vaccination.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support
           
          City of Los Angeles [SPONSOR]
          Actors and Others for Animals
          Animal Issues Movement
          Antelope Valley Kennel Club Inc.
          CA Federation of Dog Clubs
          Concerned Dog Owners of CA
          The English Shepherd Club
          The Humane Society of the United States
          Save Our Dogs

           Opposition
           
          None on file
          
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Jennifer R. Klein / L. GOV. / (916)  
          319-3958