BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2743
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          Date of Hearing:  May 4, 2010

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
                                  Mike Feuer, Chair
                     AB 2743 (Nava) - As Amended:  April 28, 2010

                              As Proposed to Be Amended
           
          SUBJECT  :  REAL PROPERTY: RENTALS: ANIMALS.

           KEY ISSUE  :  SHOULD LANDLORDS BE PROHIBITED FROM IMPOSING  
          CONDITIONS ON OCCUPANCY OF REAL PROPERTY THAT MIGHT CAUSE ANY  
          ANIMAL ALLOWED ON THE PREMISES TO BE DEVOCALIZED OR DECLAWED?

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  As currently in print this bill is keyed  
          non-fiscal.

                                      SYNOPSIS
          
          This bill, sponsored by the Paw Project, seeks to prohibit  
          landlords and other persons who own or manage real property from  
          imposing conditions on occupancy of the property that might  
          cause an animal that is allowed on the premises to be  
          devocalized or declawed.  Under this comprehensively conceived  
          bill, landlords and property owners are broadly prohibited from  
          taking any actions that might put people in the untenable  
          position of having to choose between their housing  
          accommodations or paying a veterinarian to perform declawing or  
          devocalizing surgery on their pet cat or dog.  The bill also  
          seeks to protect prospective tenants and occupants by broadly  
          prohibiting discrimination, preferential treatment, and  
          advertising of property available for occupancy based on certain  
          debarking or declawing considerations.  These provisions only  
          apply when an animal in question is already allowed on the  
          premises; thus this bill does not apply if the landlord has a  
          no-pets policy, nor does it compel landlords to accept pets in  
          any case.  This bill provides for a civil penalty of up to $2500  
          per animal for each violation that causes a pet to actually be  
          declawed or devocalized, and a civil penalty of not more than  
          $1000 for other lesser offenses that do not cause the actual  
          declawing or devocalization of an animal.  This bill authorizes  
          an I.R.C section 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the  
          protection of animals with standing to enforce this act, and as  
          an additional incentive for enforcement, to collect civil  
          penalties for violations that it successfully enforces.  This  








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          bill is supported by numerous animal advocacy groups, in  
          addition to the California Apartment Association, and the  
          Western Center on Law and Poverty.  It is opposed by the  
          nonprofit Animal Council, who oppose efforts to de-legitimize  
          elective veterinary procedures  that are otherwise lawful  
          veterinary practice in California, and who also contend this  
          bill would cause more landlords to adopt no-pet policies, thus  
          reducing housing available to pet owners.

           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits landlords from imposing conditions on  
          occupancy of real property that might cause an animal that is  
          allowed on the premises to be devocalized or declawed.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Defines "devocalizing" to mean performing, procuring, or  
            arranging for any non-therapeutic surgical procedure such as a  
            vocal cordectomy, to remove an animal's vocal chords or to  
            prevent the normal function of an animal's vocal chords. 

          2)Defines "declawing" to mean performing, procuring, or  
            arranging for any non-therapeutic surgical procedure, such as  
            an onychectomy, tendonectomy, or phalangectomy, to remove or  
            to prevent the normal function of an animal's claw or claws. 

          3)Prohibits a person or corporation that occupies, owns,  
            manages, or provides services in connection with any real  
            property, and that allows an animal on the premises, from  
            doing any of the following:

             a)   Advertise, through any means, the availability of real  
               property for occupancy in a manner designed to discourage  
               application for occupancy of that real property because the  
               applicant's animal has not been devocalized or dec1awed. 

             b)   Refuse to allow the occupancy of any real property,  
               refuse to negotiate the occupancy of any real property, or  
               to otherwise make unavailable or deny to any other person  
               the occupancy of any real property because of that person's  
               refusal to devocalize or declaw any animal. 

             c)   Require any tenant or occupant of real property to  
               devocalize or declaw any animal allowed on the premises.

             d)   Give preferential treatment in the terms of the right of  
               occupancy or the provision of services to another person  








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               because that person owns an animal that has been  
               devocalized or declawed. 

             e)   Discriminate in the terms of occupancy or the provision  
               of services against another person because that person owns  
               an animal that has not been devocalized or declawed. 

          4)Establishes that, in addition to those harmed by violation of  
            this section, an I.R.C section 501(c)(3) organization  
            dedicated to the protection of animals has standing to enforce  
            this act. 

          5)Provides for a civil penalty of not more than $2500 per animal  
            for a violation of this act that causes the declawing or  
            devocalization of the animal, to be paid to the person whose  
            animal was declawed or devocalized or to a plaintiff IRC  
            section 501(c)(3) organization entitled to bring an action  
            under this act.

          6)Provides that violation of this section that has not caused  
            the declawing or devocalizing of an animal shall result in a  
            civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000)  
            to be paid to the plaintiff.

          7)Clarifies that nothing in this act shall prevent the inclusion  
            in an occupancy agreement of a provision that a present or  
            potential occupant may not declaw or devocalize an animal that  
            will be allowed on the premises.

          8)Makes legislative findings and declarations.

           EXISTING LAW :  

          1)Prohibits any person from performing, or otherwise procuring  
            or arranging for the performance of, surgical claw removal,  
            declawing, onychectomy, or tendonectomy on any cat that is a  
            member of an exotic or native wild cat species, and from  
            otherwise altering such a cat's toes, claws, or paws to  
            prevent the normal function of the cat's toes, claws, or paws,  
            unless the procedure is performed solely for a therapeutic  
            purpose.  Further provides that any person who violates this  
            prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by  
            imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one  
            year, by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.   
            (Penal Code Section 597.6.)








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          2)Prohibits, generally, discrimination and related conduct with  
            respect to the rental or sale of housing accommodations on the  
            basis of a person's race, color, religion, sex, sexual  
            orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry,  
            familial status, and other factors.  (Gov. Code 12955.)

          3)Authorizes corporations for the prevention of cruelty to  
            children or animals, or both, to be formed under the Nonprofit  
            Public Benefit Corporation Law, and allows any such  
            corporation, or any member or officer thereof, to prefer a  
            complaint against any person, before any court or magistrate  
            having jurisdiction, for the violation of any law relating to  
            or affecting children or animals, and may aid in the  
            prosecution of any such offender before such court or  
            magistrate.  (Corporations Code Section 10401 and 10404.)  

           COMMENTS  :  This bill, sponsored by the Paw Project, seeks to  
          prohibit landlords and other persons who own or manage real  
          property from imposing conditions on occupancy of the property  
          that might cause an animal that is allowed on the premises to be  
          devocalized or declawed.  Under this comprehensively conceived  
          bill, landlords and property owners are broadly prohibited from  
          taking any actions that might put people in the untenable  
          position of having to choose between their housing  
          accommodations or paying a veterinarian to perform declawing or  
          devocalizing surgery on their pet cat or dog.  The bill also  
          seeks to protect prospective tenants and occupants by broadly  
          prohibiting discrimination, preferential treatment, and  
          advertising of property available for occupancy based on certain  
          debarking or declawing considerations.

           Terminology; Reported Complications of Surgery.   As used in this  
          bill, the terms "devocalized" and "declawed" refer to two  
          specific veterinary surgical procedures, the former primarily  
          performed on dogs, and the latter on cats.  The author has  
          provided the following descriptions of the procedures and some  
          of the reported complications sometimes associated with them:

               "Devocalization" (also known as debarking, bark  
               softening, ventriculo-cordectomy and vocal cordectomy)  
               is a surgical procedure applied to dogs and cats,  
               where tissue is removed from the animal's vocal cords  
               in order to permanently reduce the volume of their  
               vocalizations. Complications can include the airway  








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               becoming obstructed by scar tissue, breathing  
               difficulties, chronic coughing or gagging, an  
               increased risk of threats to physical safety and  
               stress because of an inability to ward of threats by  
               vocalizing.
                 
               "Declawing" or onychectomy, is an operation to  
               surgically remove an animal's claws by means of  
               amputating of all or part of the distal phalanx, or  
               end bones, of the animal's toes.  Complications can  
               include anesthetic complications including death,  
               hemorrhage, and infection; chronic pain; lameness;  
               aggression; litter box avoidance; and an increased  
               tendency to bite after declawing. 

          Although surgical complications can be expected to vary from one  
          case to another, the author notes very simply in Section 1 of  
          the bill that "declawing and devocalizing have irreversible  
          effects on the animals that undergo these procedures." 
           
          Need for the bill.   According to the author, this bill  
          essentially seeks to put an end to the problematic practice of  
          some landlords in California of imposing conditions on occupancy  
          of their property that may cause some prospective tenants or  
          occupants in turn to have their animals declawed or devocalized.  
           The author explains:

               A search of rental listings throughout California  
               produces a number of properties with landlords and  
               managers requiring that potential owners will be  
               considered only with declawed cats or devocalized  
               dogs.  Both of these practices can have unintended  
               consequences for property managers, physical  
               complications for animals, and emotional and financial  
               consequences for pet owners. It is unconscionable that  
               some prospective tenants are promised housing in  
               California conditioned upon the completion of surgical  
               procedures on their pets with potential complications  
               that are increasingly being viewed as inhumane and  
               outdated. AB 2743 will rectify this situation by  
               prohibiting this condition of tenancy.

          As the author indicates in Section 1 of the bill, another reason  
          this legislation is needed is that declawing and devocalizing  
          "may have the unintended consequence of creating potential  








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          public health and safety concerns."  For example, a devocalized  
          attack dog present on property that law enforcement officers may  
          legally enter to investigate a crime poses a special threat to  
          the safety of those officers because of its incapability to bark  
          or make its presence known.  

          Furthermore, the author contends that addressing this problem in  
          the area of landlord-tenant law is appropriate because "the  
          permanence of these surgical procedures contrasts with the  
          temporary nature of occupancy of real property owned by  
          another."  Another way of conceptualizing this is that a cat's  
          claws, once removed, are gone forever-- potentially long after  
          that animal's owner has completed the fixed term of an occupancy  
          agreement that was the catalyst for the surgery in the first  
          place.  As a policy matter, it appears the author wishes to  
          minimize instances of debarking and declawing procedures that  
          would not otherwise have occurred but for the pet owner acting  
          to meet actual or perceived conditions placed by a landlord or  
          property owner on property available for occupancy.

           Scope of the bill, generally.   On other occasions, the Committee  
          has encountered bills that appeared to apply in greater or  
          lesser scope than intended by the author because of a lack of  
          precise wording at necessary locations in the bill.  That,  
          however, is not the case with this bill.  The Committee has had  
          the opportunity to review the language of this bill while  
          working closely with the author to determine the scope of its  
          application, and concludes the author has carefully drafted this  
          bill with the intent that its provisions shall apply very  
          broadly to cover all manner of situations that may arise when  
          property is made available for occupancy.  

           The bill does not apply unless an animal is allowed on the  
          premises.   This bill only applies when the landlord, manager, or  
          property owner, as defined, already allows an animal to be on  
          the premises before imposing any condition or taking any action  
          to have that animal declawed or devocalized.  In other words,  
          this bill does not apply to any situation where the party making  
          the property available for occupancy specifically forbids an  
          animal on the premises.  This bill does not infringe upon any  
          landlord's ability to implement a "no-pets" policy or forbid a  
          tenant or occupant from having an animal on the premises.

           Once effective, the bill will apply to lease and occupancy  
          agreements already in existence, in addition to prospective  








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          occupancies.   There is no language in this bill limiting its  
          application prospectively to occupancy of property commencing  
          after the date the bill becomes effective.  Instead, once this  
          bill becomes effective it would seem to immediately apply to  
          prohibit landlords and property owners from imposing conditions  
          on existing tenants or occupants of property that might cause an  
          animal allowed on the premises to be declawed or devocalized.  

           Despite characterizations as a "landlord-tenant" bill, this bill  
          is intended to cover a broader range of situations.   First, the  
          bill refers throughout only to "real property" because the  
          author intends the bill to apply to all real property--  
          commercial, residential, and mixed-use.  Second, the bill does  
          not specifically use the term "landlord" because it is intended  
          to proscribe conduct not only by landlords, as that term is  
          generally defined, but by any "person or corporation that  
          occupies, owns, manages, or provides services in connection with  
          any real property."  Nor does the bill refer only to "tenants"  
          because it is intended to protect owners of animals who are not  
          necessarily tenants in a legal landlord-tenant relationship.  In  
          structuring the bill around "occupancy of real property," the  
          author intends to cover situations where one person essentially  
          leverages the right of occupancy or potential occupancy against  
          another person to have that person devocalize or declaw an  
          animal that is allowed on the premises.  This could be within an  
          ordinary landlord-tenant relationship, but also is intended to  
          apply to landlords and occupants, tenants and subtenants, and  
          between roommates or co-occupants of real property.  The author  
          has specifically contemplated all of these permutations and  
          drafted the bill to apply in all of these scenarios.

          There is also no requirement that the tenant or occupant of the  
          real property be the true owner of an animal that is declawed or  
          devocalized in violation of this bill.  The author has  
          contemplated situations where, for example, an occupant of the  
          property has agreed to temporarily take care of another person's  
          pet cat or dog where that animal is otherwise allowed to be on  
          the premises, but then is faced with a choice of having the  
          animal declawed or devocalized at the risk of losing the right  
          to occupancy.  This scenario would still be covered by the  
          prohibition and liability provisions of the bill.
           
          As proposed to be amended, this bill prohibits a slightly  
          broader range of conduct by landlords or property owners,  
          including situations where no express conditions on occupancy  








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          are made.   The author has proposed to amend the bill to clarify  
          the scope of conduct that is prohibited by this bill by  
          replacing the narrower language of Section 1942.7(b)(3) of the  
          bill (page 3, lines 1 to 3) with slightly more general language  
          already contained in Sec. 1942.7(a) of the bill (page 2, lines  
          16 to 18.)  The effect is that a narrower prohibition is  
          eliminated in favor of a broader, more general prohibition  
          having a similar objective, and two subdivisions of the bill are  
          now combined into one.  Specifically, the proposed amendment  
          clarifies that no person or corporation that occupies, owns,  
          manages, or provides services in connection with real property  
          may require any tenant or occupant of real property to  
          devocalize or declaw any animal allowed on the premises.  The  
          deleted language was somewhat narrower in scope because it  
          prohibited requiring another person to devocalize or declaw an  
          animal "as a condition of applying for occupancy, the right of  
          occupancy, or continued occupancy of any real property."   
          (italics added.)  The proposed amendment is intended to cover a  
          broader range of situations where, for example, a landlord  
          intimidates an occupant but does not go so far as to expressly  
          condition the right of occupancy on completion of the declawing  
          procedure.  It is thought that the new language might reduce  
          some questions that would potentially result in litigation, for  
          example: what was the intent of the landlord when he or she made  
          the demand for declawing?  Did the landlord establish declawing  
          as a "condition" of occupancy?)

           Violations subject to a $2500 civil penalty.   As will be  
          discussed below, a violation of this particular prohibition is  
          considered a "major" offense because it necessarily results in  
          an animal undergoing a declawing or devocalizing procedure, and  
          is subject to the maximum civil penalty allowed by this bill-an  
          amount of up to $2500.

           Violations subject to a $1000 civil penalty.   The proposed  
          amendments do not change other types of conduct prohibited under  
          this bill that are considered "lesser" violations because they  
          do not result in the actual declawing or devocalizing of an  
          animal allowed on the premises. These lesser violations are  
          subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1000 and include the  
          following:

          1. "Advertising the availability of real property for occupancy  
          in a manner designed to discourage application for occupancy  
          because the applicant's animal has not been devocalized or  








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          declawed":  The objective of this prohibition is to address the  
          problem of landlords running ads for their rental properties  
          that state a discriminatory preference for an occupant whose  
          animal is declawed or devocalized.  The author and sponsor have  
          supplied the Committee with a number of examples of classified  
          ads for rental housing that state a preference for tenants  
          having a declawed cat.  (For example, "Will consider declawed  
          cat only.")  According to the author, this provision is modeled  
          on, but not identical to, language from the CA Fair Housing Act  
          that makes it unlawful for any person "to publish. . . an  
          advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a housing  
          accommodation that indicates any preference, limitation, or  
          discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, etc? or an  
          intention to make that preference, limitation, or  
          discrimination."  (Gov. Code Section 12955(c).)  

          2. "Refuse to allow the occupancy of any real property, refuse  
          to negotiate the occupancy of any real property, or to otherwise  
          make unavailable or deny to any other person the occupancy of  
          any real property because of that person's refusal to devocalize  
          or declaw any animal."  According to the author, this provision  
          is modeled on Section 804(a) of the federal Fair Housing Act  
          which makes it unlawful in federal housing "to refuse to sell or  
          rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to  
          negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make  
          unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race,  
          color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin." (42  
          U.S.C. 3604.)  This bill would prohibit those similar  
          discriminatory practices on the basis of whether a prospective  
          occupant would devocalize or declaw an animal.  This type of  
          prohibition is intended to prohibit discrimination against a  
          person seeking housing, before any occupancy agreement or  
          tenancy is established in the real property, lest landlords or  
          property owners be able to evade the spirit of the law by simply  
          refusing to rent to persons on the same basis by which they  
          would be prohibited from discrimination if there was a lease.

          3. "Discriminate in the terms of occupancy or the provision of  
          services against another person because that person owns an  
          animal that has not been devocalized or declawed."  According to  
          the author, this provision is modeled on Section 804(b) of the  
          federal Fair Housing Act which makes it unlawful in federal  
          housing "to discriminate against any person in the terms,  
          conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in  
          the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith,  








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          because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or  
          national origin." (42 U.S.C. 3604.)  

          4. "Give preferential treatment in the terms of the right of  
          occupancy or the provision of services to another person because  
          that person owns an animal that has been devocalized or  
          declawed."  While this provision complements the previous  
          prohibition of discrimination, there is no analogous provision  
          in either the federal or California Fair Housing Acts to giving  
          preferential treatment to someone who has declawed or  
          devocalized an animal.  When considered together with the  
          previous anti-discrimination language on which it is based,  
          these two provisions operate to prohibit favorable treatment of  
          a person who has declawed or devocalized an animal, while  
          prohibiting discrimination against a person who has not declawed  
          or devocalized an animal-an equitable concept.

           As proposed to be amended, this bill clarifies the civil penalty  
          structure for violations of this act, including who is  
          authorized to enforce these provisions and who may collect a  
          penalty.  The author has proposed to amend the bill to  
          reorganize and recast the civil penalty provisions to clarify  
          who may enforce this act and who may collect the penalties in  
          those cases.  

          1. Standing to enforce the statute.  First, the proposed  
          amendments provide that any person harmed by a violation has  
          standing to enforce the statute.  According to the author, this  
          includes not only tenants and occupants, but also a third party  
          owner of an animal that was devocalized or declawed in violation  
          of this act-for example, in the aforementioned situation where a  
          tenant or occupant was temporarily taking care of the third  
          party's animal that was later devocalized or declawed.

          In addition, an I.R.C Section 501(c)(3) organization dedicated  
          to the protection of animals is given standing to enforce this  
          act.  According to the author, this will provide a mechanism for  
          potential enforcement in cases where a tenant or occupant cannot  
          or will not enforce the statute out of fear of retaliation by  
          the landlord.   

          2. Civil penalties of up to $2500 per animal for violations that  
          cause an animal to be declawed or devocalized.  As proposed to  
          be amended, this bill clarifies that the maximum civil penalty  
          of up to $2500 per animal, assessed for each violation that  








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          causes the declawing or devocalizing of an animal, shall be paid  
          (unless the plaintiff is the 501(c)(3) organization) to the  
          person whose animal was declawed or devocalized-whether that  
          person is the tenant, occupant, or third party owner of the  
          animal.  According to the author, this policy is intended to  
          compensate the owner of the animal for his damages (the declawed  
          animal) as well as the expense of the surgical procedure itself.  
           If, however, the plaintiff is the 501(c)(3) organization, then  
          the penalty amount will be paid to the organizational plaintiff  
          to provide an incentive to enforce the statute.

          3. Civil penalties of up to $1000 for other violations.   As  
          proposed to be amended, this bill provides that violation of  
          this section that has not caused the declawing or devocalizing  
          of an animal shall result in a civil penalty of not more than  
          one thousand dollars ($1,000) to be paid to the plaintiff.   
          According to the author, this amendment is intended to cap the  
          total civil penalty for "lesser" violations at $1000 total-the  
          penalty is not assessed for each violation in the case, just for  
          the first violation as long as it did not cause the declawing or  
          devocalization of any animal.  This is sensible policy because  
          it prevents a plaintiff from alleging multiple $1000 violations  
          for each cat that was  not  declawed-which is a counting task more  
          open to argument than simple enumeration of cats that have been  
          declawed.  In addition, the author's amendment corrects an  
          oversight to the penalty structure by clarifying that the $1000  
          penalty is to be paid to the plaintiff in all cases, whether the  
          plaintiff is an individual or an organization authorized to  
          enforce the statute.

           As proposed to be amended, the bill makes new findings related  
          to the policy of the bill.   The author has proposed to amend the  
          findings and declarations of the bill to focus attention on the  
          landlord-tenant relationship affected by the core policy of the  
          bill-the matter of principal importance to the Judiciary  
          Committee's analysis.  Although the amended findings are very  
          brief and modest, they do establish the stark contrast between  
          the permanence of declawing and debarking procedures and the  
          temporary nature of most residential tenancy and occupancy  
          (which generally lasts only for a fixed term and may be  
          terminated upon notice by one of the parties.)  

          The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) had  
          previously indicated it would support the bill if certain intent  
          language it found controversial was stricken from the bill.  It  








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          is unknown whether the author's proposed amendments to the  
          findings section has caused CVMA to adopt a support position.

           Pending Related Legislation  :  Existing law authorizes  
          corporations for the prevention of cruelty to animals to be  
          formed under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law  
          (commencing with Section 10400 of the Corporations Code), and  
          allows the corporation to apply for appointment of humane  
          officers by a judge of the superior court after a specified  
          appointment and evaluation process.  (Corp. Code 14502.)  SB  
          1417 (Cox) of 2010 would implement new procedures and  
          requirements for the appointment, and subsequent training, of  
          humane officers by non-profit organizations formed for the  
          purpose of preventing cruelty to animals.  SB 1417 was recently  
          passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 4-0 vote and is  
          currently resides in Senate Appropriations.

          Because this bill authorizes an I.R.C Section 501(c)(3)  
          organization dedicated to the protection of animals to enforce  
          violations of this act, it may go beyond existing law that  
          restricts authority to enforce animal laws to those  
          organizations that have appointed humane officers pursuant to  
          Corps.  Code Section 14502.  Consequently, the author may wish  
          to reconcile these provisions with Section 14502, especially if  
          significantly amended as proposed by SB 1417.

           Prior Related Legislation.   AB 1857 (Koretz), Ch. 876 of Stats.  
          2004, created a misdemeanor offense for any person to perform,  
          procure, or arrange for surgical claw removal, declawing,  
          onychectomy, or tendonectomy on an exotic or native wild cat  
          species, as defined, or from altering such a cat's toes, claws,  
          or paws in order to prevent their normal functioning.
           
          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :  The United Animal Nations (UAN), an  
          animal advocacy organization that states it has over 9000  
          members in California, expresses its strong support of this bill  
          because it will protect landlords, tenants, and animals.    
          According to the UAN:

               Some landlords have required declawing of cats in an  
               uninformed attempt to protect furnishings from being  
               scratched . . .  The unintended consequence of  
               declawing can be that declawed cats are less likely to  
               use the litter box, probably because scratching in the  
               rough litter hurts their paws.  These cats may instead  








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               urinate and defecate on floors, furniture, and in  
               other areas of the house.  Besides creating a health  
               and public safety problem, the landlords may  
               inadvertently be causing more damage to their  
               property.

               Debarking a dog requires that a veterinarian  
               surgically sever the animal's vocal cords.  The animal  
               can have difficulty breathing for the rest of its life  
               because of scar tissue formation.  Locating a silenced  
               dog in an emergency can also be difficult.  Debarking  
               was made illegal in New Jersey because law enforcement  
               officers reported that the surgical technique was used  
               for criminal purposes to silence attack dogs so they  
               would not bark and warn their intended victims.   
               Federal law already prohibits Public Housing  
               Authorities from requiring tenants to devocalize their  
               animals.

          The California Apartment Association (CAA), the largest  
          statewide rental housing trade association in the country, also  
          supports this bill because it enacts what is already the  
          Association's current practice.  CAA explains:

               CAA's leadership concluded years ago that it would not  
               include in its industry form and leases any  
               requirements that would require cats to be declawed or  
               dogs debarked.  Instead the Association recommends  
               that property owners rely upon pet deposits to cover  
               any damage to the unit.  CAA has taken a Support  
               position on AB 2743.

          The Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP) and the California  
          Rural Legal Assistance Foundation also write in support of the  
          bill, stating:

               On behalf of our low-income clients, we are pleased to  
               support AB 2743, which would prohibit landlords from  
               requiring that tenants' pets be declawed or debarked.   
               We are concerned that such requirements, though not  
               common now, may increase in the future.  Low-income  
               families lack the funds to pay for these operations,  
               which can run into the hundreds of dollars.  

               We are also concerned that a debarking policy must  








                                                                  AB 2743
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               infringe upon the meaningful exercise of the rights of  
               disabled tenants to keep a service animal, as required  
               by fair housing laws.  A dog, able to bark, likely  
               would be a reasonable accommodation under current  
               laws, but disabled tenants would have to assert these  
               rights against a landlord who may be ignorant of the  
               law.  For many, it isn't worth the time and effort.
           
          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :  The Animal Council, which identifies  
          itself as a nonprofit, public benefit corporation in California,  
          opposes this bill for a variety of reasons.  The Council's  
          President relates that in over 25 years of experience counseling  
          landlords and tenants on residential pet tenancies, she has  
          never encountered a situation where either declawing or  
          debarking were a condition of tenancy.  The Council also states:

               We oppose using Civil Code provisions for residential  
               rentals to de-legitimize elective veterinary  
               procedures (i.e. declawing or debarking) that are  
               otherwise lawful veterinary practice in California as  
               determined through the veterinarian-client  
               relationship. . . .  Debarking is not the same as  
               silence and would usually be ineffective (to resolve a  
               nuisance problem).  Landlords simply reject a pet  
               completely, evict tenants whose pets cause problems  
               and hold tenants liable for physical damage caused by  
               the pet.  For practical purposes, no landlord would be  
               willing to accept a tenant's offer to address an  
               actual problem pet in these ways for fear of late  
               retaliation.  AB 2473 would reduce housing available  
               to pet owners and increase risks of shelter surrender  
               for problem pets.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          The Paw Project (sponsor)
          Animal Advocates
          California Apartment Association
          Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
          Nolan-Taft Management
          Paw PAC
          United Animal Nations (UAN)
          Western Center on Law and Poverty








                                                                  AB 2743
                                                                  Page  15


           Opposition 
           
          The Animal Council
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Anthony Lew / JUD. / (916) 319-2334