BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 250
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 30, 2009

                                 Mary Hayashi, Chair
                     SB 250 (Florez) - As Amended:  May 28, 2009

           SENATE VOTE  :   21-16
          SUBJECT  :   Dogs and cats.  Spaying and neutering.

           SUMMARY  :   Restricts the ownership of unsterilized dogs and cats  
          and requires surgical sterilization of the animal in specified  
          circumstances.  Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Requires a dog owner to obtain a license for their dog  
            pursuant to current law or as required by the local licensing  

          2)Prohibits a person from owning, keeping, or harboring an  
            unsterilized dog in violation of this bill.

          3)Requires an owner or custodian of an unsterilized dog to have  
            the dog sterilized by the age of six months, obtain a  
            certificate of sterility, or, if provided by an ordinance of  
            the responsible city, county, or city and county, obtain an  
            unaltered dog license in accordance with this bill.

          4)Exempts from the requirements of this bill any dog with a high  
            likelihood, due to age or infirmity, of suffering serious  
            bodily harm or death if surgically sterilized and the owner or  
            custodian shall obtain written confirmation of this fact from  
            a veterinarian licensed in this state.  Additionally, if the  
            dog is able to be sterilized at a later date, that date shall  
            be stated in the written confirmation; however, if the date is  
            more than 30 days after the date that the owner or custodian  
            receives that confirmation, the owner or custodian shall apply  
            for an unaltered dog license pursuant to any applicable city,  
            city and county, or county ordinance.

          5)Authorizes the licensing agency to utilize its existing  
            procedures or establish procedures for the denial or  
            revocation of an unaltered dog license and may deny or revoke  
            a license for one or more of the following reasons:

             a)   The owner, custodian, applicant or licensee is not in  


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               compliance with all of the requirements of this bill;

             b)   The owner, custodian, applicant, or licensee has  
               violated a state law, or city, county, or other local  
               governmental provisions relating to the care and control of  

             c)   Any unaltered dog license held by the applicant has been  
               revoked for violating a state law, or a city, county, or  
               other local government provisions relating to the care or  
               control of animals; and,

             d)   The license application is discovered to contain a  
               material misrepresentation or omission of fact.

          6)Authorizes the licensing agency to utilize its existing  
            procedures or establish procedures for any appeal of a denial  
            or revocation of an unaltered dog license, which appeal  
            procedure may include written notice of the denial or  
            revocation and a reasonable opportunity for the owner or  
            custodian to respond.

          7)Authorizes the licensing agency to assess a fee for the  
            procedures related to the issuance, denial, or revocation of  
            an unaltered dog license consistent with this bill.

          8)Requires an owner or custodian who offers any unsterilized dog  
            for sale, trade, or adoption at four months of age or older or  
            the age required by the licensing agency to include a valid  
            unaltered dog license number with the offer of sale, trade, or  
            adoption, or shall otherwise state and establish compliance  
            with this bill, as specified.

          9)Specifies that any authorized penalty may be imposed upon an  
            owner or custodian of an unlicensed, unaltered dog for a  
            violation of this bill only if the owner or custodian is  
            concurrently cited for one or more of the following:

             a)   Permitting the subject dog to roam at large;

             b)   Failure to provide adequate care for the subject dog in  
               violation of animal cruelty provisions;

             c)   Rabies quarantine violations of the subject dog;


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             d)   Fighting dog activity in violation of the Penal Code, as  

             e)   Failure to comply with the local jurisdiction's  
               requirements for the keeping of a dog that has been  
               adjudicated by a court or an agency of appropriate  
               jurisdiction to be potentially dangerous, dangerous, or  
               vicious; and,

             f)   Failure to possess an unaltered dog license.

          10)Requires any owner or custodian of an unaltered dog who is  
            found to be subject to one of the penalties above to  
            surgically sterilize the unaltered animal in accordance with  
            this bill; however, authorizes the licensing agency to utilize  
            existing procedures on the effective date of this bill for any  
            appeal of this requirement.

          11)Exempts the owner or custodian of an unaltered hunting dog as  
            specified, and has purchased a hunting license, from being  
            subject to any authorized penalty for permitting the subject  
            dog to roam at large.

          12)Authorizes the licensing agency to provide the owner or  
            custodian information as to the availability of sterilization  
            services for free or at a reduced cost, at the time a citation  
            is issued.

          13)Specifies that if an unlicensed unaltered dog or cat is  
            impounded pursuant to state or local law, in addition to  
            satisfying applicable requirements of the release of the  
            animal, including, but not limited to, payment of impound  
            fees, the owner or custodian shall:

             a)   Provide written proof of the dog or cat's prior  
               sterilization, if conditions cannot or do not make this  
               assessment obvious to the licensing agency personnel;

             b)   Have the dog or cat surgically sterilized by a  
               veterinarian associated with the licensing agency at the  
               expense of the owner or custodian, which may include  
               additional fees due to any extraordinary care required;

             c)   Arrange to have the dog or cat surgically sterilized by  
               another veterinarian licensed in this state; or,


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             d)   Pay a refundable deposit, or sign a statement under  
               penalty of perjury that the dog or cat will be surgically  
               sterilized within 10 days of the dog's or cat's release, at  
               the discretion of the licensing agency, as specified.

          14)Specifies that the owner or custodian of the unaltered dog or  
            cat shall be responsible for the established costs of  
            impoundment, which shall include daily board costs,  
            vaccination, medication, and any other diagnostic or  
            therapeutic applications as required by this bill.

          15)Specifies that all costs and fines collected pursuant to this  
            bill shall be paid to the licensing agency for the purpose of  
            defraying the cost of the implementation and enforcement of  
            this bill.

          16)Specifies that this bill shall not prohibit a local  
            jurisdiction from enforcing or enacting local measures that  
            require the spaying or neutering of all dogs and cats, and  
            does not prohibit a local jurisdiction from enacting or  
            enforcing other local measures pertaining to the obligations  
            of a person owning or possessing a dog or cat.

          17)Prohibits any person who owns, keeps, or harbors any  
            unsterilized cat six months of age or older to allow or permit  
            that unsterilized cat to roam at large.

          18)Requires an owner or custodian of an unsterilized cat who  
            permits that cat to roam at large to have the animal  
            sterilized, or obtain a certificate of sterility.

          19)Exempts these requirements from a cat with a high likelihood,  
            due to age or infirmity, of suffering serious bodily harm or  
            death if sterilized, if the owner or custodian obtains written  
            confirmation of this fact from a veterinarian licensed in this  
            state, as specified.

          20)Requires an owner or custodian who offers any unsterilized  
            cat for sale, trade, or adoption to notify the licensing  
            agency, if the jurisdiction requires the licensing of cats, of  
            the name and address of the transferee within 10 days of the  
            transfer, including microchip information, as specified.

          21)Defines the following terms:


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             a)   "Licensing agency" means the municipal city or county  
               animal control agency or other entity responsible for  
               enforcing laws relating to animals.

             b)   "Custodian" means any person who undertakes the personal  
               care and control of a dog or cat, or any person who  
               intentionally provides care, security, or sustenance for a  
               dog or cat on the person's property for any period  
               exceeding 30 days, not including a licensing agency.

             c)   "Sterilize" means to permanently eliminate the ability  
               of a dog or cat to reproduce by removing the sex organs or  
               preventing them from functioning.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Prohibits public pounds and private shelters from selling or  
            giving away any dog or cat that has not been spayed or  
            neutered, as specified.

          2)Provides, under certain circumstances, for the sale or giving  
            away of a dog or cat that has not been spayed or neutered upon  
            the payment of a refundable deposit, as specified.

          3)Provides for the imposition of fines or civil penalties  
            against the owner of a nonspayed or unneutered dog or cat that  
            is impounded by a public pound or private shelter.

          4)Immunizes cities and counties, societies for the prevention of  
            cruelty to animals, and humane societies from an action by the  
            owner of a dog or cat for spaying or neutering the dog or cat  
            in accordance with the law. 

          5)Makes a violation of any of these provisions an infraction,  
            punishable as specified.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of this bill  .  According to the author's office, "It  
          costs California taxpayers approximately $250 million each year  
          to house and euthanize dogs and cats.  Part of the problem is  
          that there are few incentives for pet owners to license their  


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                                                                  Page  6

          animals - which would ensure fewer lost or roaming pets.  In  
          addition, local animal shelters are overwhelmed by the State's  
          pet overpopulation problem (approximately 1 million dogs & cats  
          enter our shelters each year) because there are few laws which  
          discourage over-breeding and no existing laws that encourage  
          sterilization of non-breeding animals. 

          "SB 250 would help reduce the amount of unwanted pets that roam  
          the streets and end up in our shelters and would encourage  
          responsible pet ownership by requiring owners to license,  
          sterilize their animals or purchase an unaltered license if they  
          intend to keep their pets intact."

           Background  .  Tackling the problems caused by dog and cat  
          overpopulation requires the combined efforts of animal owners,  
          pet breeders, veterinarians, private organizations, local  
          officials, and state leaders.  Many owners and breeders already  
          control the number and sizes of their animals' litters.  Many  
          veterinarians contribute their services to free and low-cost  
          spay and neuter programs.  Private organizations actively  
          educate the public about overpopulation problems and solutions.   
          Local officials have adopted tough ordinances to curb dog and  
          overpopulation.  Yet despite these efforts and some successes,  
          California still endures the problems caused by overpopulation.   
          Not all animal owners are responsible, however.  Uncontrolled  
          litters result in inappropriate cross-breeding, feral cats, and  
          unwanted dogs.  Those who fail to take personal responsibility  
          for their animals create expensive problems for all taxpayers.   
          This bill confronts the problem of dog and cat overpopulation by  
          imposing strict parameters on the owners of unaltered dogs and  
          As the lists of the bill's supporters and opponents shows,  
          owning and caring for dogs and cats is deeply emotional for many  
          people.  Although most animal owners acknowledge the public  
          health and public finance problems caused by dog and cat  
          overpopulation, many oppose government requirements for spaying  
          or neutering.  While there is support for altering abandoned  
          animals that will be released from public animal shelters, many  
          oppose the mandatory spaying and neutering of owned animals.   
          Some owners resent even the existing state and local limits on  
          how they treat their animals, believing that these decisions are  
          best left to the owners themselves.


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           Arguments in support  .  The City of Santa Rosa writes in support,  
          "One of the biggest issues that we face in animal control in  
          this county, as I am sure in others, is the number of animals  
          that we need to euthanize, particularly cats.  We have tried a  
          number of voluntary programs and educational programs to  
          encourage spay/neuter.  This bill would provide the City's  
          animal control contractor, the County of Sonoma, with additional  
          tools to address this issue."

          The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals writes,  
          "Allowing cats and dogs to breed and be born into a state  
          bursting at the seams with homeless animals - who are literally  
          dying for homes - is not only tragic but also irresponsible.   
          Overburdened government agencies are forced to respond to the  
          consequences of dog and cat overpopulation, including a steady  
          stream of calls about roaming animals, rabies, unwanted litters,  
          cruelty, neglect, and dangerous dogs.  This crisis requires  
          municipal and county agencies to house, handle, feed, provide  
          veterinary care for, and eventually euthanize and dispose of  
          hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals."

           Arguments in opposition  .  The California Outdoor Heritage  
          Alliance writes in opposition, "SB 250 was recently amended to  
          provide a limited exemption from its spay and neuter  
          requirements for unaltered dogs engaged in the lawful hunting of  
          mammals and certain game birds.  While our Alliance appreciates  
          the efforts of the author to take into consideration the  
          significant impact for the bill on owners and breeders of  
          hunting dogs, we believe that the exemption provided is still  
          far too limited in scope because it only applies to hunting dogs  
          that are found to be 'at large'; for instance, failure to  
          purchase an unaltered dog license (for which there is no  
          monetary limit provided in the bill for the associate fee) could  
          still require the owner to spay/neuter his or her hunting dog  
          while subjecting the owner to other penalties."

          California Farm Bureau Federation writes, "The specific  
          challenges created by SB 250 relate to the provision that allows  
          intact licenses to be denied for owners who have 'violated a  
          state law, or a city, county, or other local governmental  
          provisions relating to the care and control of animals.'  For  
          example, a dog guarding livestock that chases away a predator  
          from the flock may leave the property in that chase and could be  
          found to be running at large.  One violation would be grounds to  
          deny the dog owner from ever owning dogs for breeding and would  


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          force the sterilization of dogs that may possess valuable  
          working traits.  Farm Bureau is also concerned about the  
          potential for overzealous enforcement actions taken against our  
          members who may leave their dogs in the back of a pickup while  
          running errands."

           Related legislation  .  AB 241 (Nava) of 2009 makes it a  
          misdemeanor for an individual or business that buys or sells  
          dogs or cats to have more than a combined total of 50  
          unsterilized dogs and cats, as specified.  This bill is pending  
          in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

           Previous legislation  .  AB 1634 (Levine) of 2008 would have  
          enacted the California Responsible Pet Ownership Act which  
          specifies that a person who owns a dog or cat that is not  
          licensed (or is improperly licensed) and that has not been  
          spayed or neutered may be cited and, if cited, must pay civil  
          penalties.  This bill failed passage on the Senate Floor.

          SB 861 (Speier), Chapter 668, Statutes of 2005 allows cities and  
          counties to enact breed-specific ordinances for mandatory  
          spaying and neutering and breeding restrictions.  Additionally,  
          this bill provides for increased reporting to the State Public  
          Health Veterinarian of dog bite data and other information by  
          local jurisdictions that make use of the authorization provided  
          by the bill.

          SB 1785 (Hayden), Chapter 752, Statutes of 1998 provides that  
          public and private animal shelters are subject to the same  
          anti-cruelty statutes as private citizens who take possession of  
          a stray dog or cat.

          AB 1856 (Vincent), Chapter 747, Statutes of 1998 requires all  
          public animal control agencies or shelters, society for the  
          prevention of cruelty to animals shelters, humane shelters, and  
          rescue groups in counties over 100,000 (and cities within those  
          counties) to spay or neuter any dog or cat that it sells or  
          gives away.  


          Social Compassion in Legislation (sponsor)
          A Dog's Life Rescue


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                                                                  Page  9

          A New Hope Animal Foundation
          A Passion for Paws Rescue, Inc.
          All Creatures Animal Caring Society
          American Tortoise Rescue
          Angeldogs Foundation
          Animal Advocates Alliance
          Animal Alliance
          Animal Birth Control Assistance
          Animal Legal Defense Fund
          Animal Shelter Assistance Program
          Animal Shelter Relief Rescue
          Animal Welfare Services for Atwater Village
          Arf!  We Go Pet Care
          Bark Avenue Foundation
          Basset Hound Rescue
          Bay Area Bird Hospital
          Bellflower Veterinary Hospital
          Beverly Hills Police Department
          Bichon Furkids Rescue
          California Federation for Animal Legislation
          Canine Canyon Ranch
          Cat Cause Foundation
          Cats at the Studio
          Cats in Need
          Central Valley Seekers
          Chief of Police Richard J. Ehle, Jr., City of Capitola
          City Attorney Rockard J. Delgadillo, City of Los Angeles
          City of Bell Gardens
          City of Fresno
          City of Hayward Shelter Volunteers
          City of Huntington Park
          City of Lathrop, Animal Services Department
          City of Long Beach Animal Care Services
          City of Palm Desert
          City of Richmond Police Department
          City of Vallejo
          City of Santa Rosa
          City of Stockton Animal Control
          City of West Hollywood
          Community Concern for Cats in Contra Costa County
          Contra Costa Animal Services - Volunteer
          County of Lake, Department of Animal Care & Control
          Delta Paws Animal Rescue
          Dog Land Spay and Neuter
          Dogs Run Free of Nevada County


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          East Bay Animal Advocates
          Feral Cat Coalition
          Fieldhaven Feline Rescue
          Foundation for the Care of Indigent Animals
          Friends of Auburn/Tahoe Vista, Placer County Animal Shelter
          Friends of Long Beach Animals
          Friends of Madera Animal Shelter
          Furry Friends Rescue
          Genesis Digital Art Studios
          Golden State Humane Society
          Happy Critters Guinea Pig Rescue
          Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary
          Haven of Hope Animal Sanctuary
          Hayward Animal Services
          Helping out Pets Everyday
          Hits Magazine
          Home at Last Animal Rescue
          Husky Haven of LA
          IAG Coffee Franchise, LLC
          In Defense of Animals
          It's the Pits Rescue
          LA Yoga Ayurveda and Health Magazine
          Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council
          Lancaster Animal Shelter
          League of Humane Voters
          Long Beach Spay & Neuter Foundation
          Madera County Animal Services
          Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, City of Los Angeles
          Mayor Keith Bohr, City of Huntington Beach
          Mayor Maggie Houlihan, City of Encinitas
          Norcal Boxer Rescue
          North Bay Animal Advocates
          North Coast Animal Welfare Advocacy Center
          Northern California Animal Rescue Friends
          OCPoundhounds Small Breed Rescue
          Pacific Yoga and Ayurveda
          Pact, Inc.
          PAL Humane Society
          Paw Parent
          People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
          Pet Rescue Center
          Pet Sitters I.N.C.


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          Pet Welfare Proposition
          Pets Lifeline, Inc.
          Photo Research
          Poinsie Pets
          Pomeranian Rescue Group
          Pooses & Pups Rescue
          Positive Pet Parenting Saves Lives
          Producers Guild of America
          Propp Productions
          Purrfect Partners Cat Adoptions
          Re/Max Elite Team
          Resqcats, Inc.
          Resqpet Dog Rescue
          Rosedale Animal Rescue
          Safe Cat Foundation
          Samson PR
          San Diego Animal Support Foundation 
          San Diego House Rabbit Society
          Santa Cruz SPCA
          Save a Dog Today
          Save Tehachapi's Orphaned Pets
          Scooter's Pals
          Seal Beach Animal Care Center
          Seaside Realty
          Second Chance Pet Adoptions
          Self, Family and Furry Friends Rescue
          Senior Citizens for Humane Legislation and Education
          Sequoia Humane Society
          Shelter Animal Advocacy Fund, LA
          Shelter Pet Alliance
          Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority
          South County Animal Shelter Coalition
          Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue
          Southland Collie Rescue
          Southwest Homes and Land
          Stockton Police Department
          Tails of the City
          Take Me Home
          The Catherine Fund
          The Dog Squad Rescue, Inc.
          The Pet Care Foundation
          The Pet Place
          The Reva Foundation
          The Uncommon Canine, Inc.
          Tooth Fairy Pet Care


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          UCLA People Animal Connection
          United Action For Animals
          Village Cat Club of Laguna Woods
          Voice For the Animals Foundation
          Weil Public Relations
          Western University Vets for Spay and Neuter
          What Animals Tell Us
          Windansea Law
          Yogafit Inc.

          Alaskan Malamute Club of America
          American Herding Breed Association
          American Saluki Association
          American Shih Tzu Club, Inc.
          American Sighthound Field Association
          Bloodhounds West Breed Rescue, Inc., Northern Chapter
          Butte County Kennel Club, Inc.
          California Airedale Terrier Club Incorporated
          California Animal Control Directors Association
          California Cattlemen's Association
          California Chamber of Commerce
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Outdoor Heritage Alliance
          Concerned Dog Owners of California
          Dog Judges Association of America
          Gold Country English Setter Fanciers
          Golden Retriever Club
          Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles
          Miniature Schnauzer Club of Northern California
          Northern California Siberian Husky Club, Inc.
          Peninsula Australian Shepherd Association
          Poodle Club of Central California
          Saluki Club of America
          San Angeles Saluki Club, Inc.
          Social Compassion League
          Southern California Alaskan Malamute Club
          Tally Ho Dawg Walkin' Club
          The Animal Council
          The Roseville Dog Owners' Group
          The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America
          Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association


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          West Highland White Terrier Club of California
          West Los Angeles Obedience Training Club, Inc.
          Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, Inc.
          Yosemite Kennel Club

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Rebecca May / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301