BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 250
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 250 (Florez)
          As Amended  August 18, 2010
          Majority vote

           SENATE VOTE  :21-16  
           
           BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS    6-4   APPROPRIATIONS      9-5         
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Hayashi, Eng, Hernandez,  |Ayes:|De Leon, Ammiano, Coto,   |
          |     |Nava,                     |     |Fuentes, John A. Perez,   |
          |     |John A. Perez, Ruskin     |     |Skinner, Solorio,         |
          |     |                          |     |Torlakson, Hill           |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Emmerson, Conway, Niello, |Nays:|Conway, Charles Calderon, |
          |     |Smyth                     |     |Miller, Nielsen, Audra    |
          |     |                          |     |Strickland                |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           
          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  
            agency.

          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, as provided by an ordinance of  
            the responsible city, county, or city and county, to obtain an  
            unaltered dog license in accordance with this bill, as  
            specified.

          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  








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            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  
               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  
               animals;

             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;

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

             e)   If the owner or custodian of a dog with an unaltered dog  
               license is cited for permitting the dog to roam at large,  
               the license of the dog shall not be subject to revocation  
               for a first violation, if at the time the dog roams at  
               large the dog possess a current license, as specified.

          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, consistent with  
            current law, as specified.

          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 to notify the licensing agency of  
            the name and address of the transferee within 10 days after  








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            the transfer, 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 has  
            concurrently violated 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;

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

             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 certain penalties to surgically  
            sterilize the unaltered animal in accordance with this bill,  
            and provide the licensing agency written verification from a  
            licensed veterinarian that the dog has been sterilized.   
            Authorizes the owner or custodian of an unaltered dog to  
            appeal a penalty pursuant to procedures established by the  
            city or county, as applicable, or the superior court of the  
            jurisdiction where the violation is alleged to have been  
            committed, as specified.

          11)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 and to waive fines or fees, as specified, if the  
            owner or custodian qualifies to be placed on a waiting list  
            for free or low-cost sterilization services.

          12)Specifies that if an unlicensed unaltered dog or cat is  
            impounded pursuant to state or local law, in addition to  








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            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)   Have the dog or cat surgically sterilized by another  
               veterinarian licensed in this state; or,

             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.

          13)Authorizes the licensing agency to waive any impoundment fee,  
            cost, or fine, if upon the first impoundment the owner or  
            custodian of the unlicensed unaltered dog:

             a)   Secures a license for the subject dog, as specified;  
               and,

             b)   Sterilizes the subject dog in accordance with this bill.

          14)Authorizes the licensing agency to impose any existing fine  
            or penalty, consistent with this bill, against the owner or  
            custodian of the subject dog for failure to provide any  
            required sterilization information, including denial of an  
            unaltered license.  Permits the licensing agency to utilize  
            procedures consistent with current law as they exist on the  
            effective date of this bill for any appeal of this  
            requirement.

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









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          16)Specifies that any fee imposed pursuant to this bill shall  
            still be applicable to an owner or custodian who surrenders a  
            dog subject to this bill.

          17)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.

          18)Specifies that this bill shall not be construed to prevent  
            any local governing body from adopting requirements that are  
            more stringent than those set forth in this bill. 

          19)Exempts the following from the provisions of this bill,  
            provided the subject dog is licensed as specified:

             a)   Any owner or breeder of a dog used in the business of  
               shepherding, herding, or guarding livestock;

             b)   Any owner or breeder of a dog used in the business of  
               cultivating agricultural products;

             c)   Any owner or breeder of a dog used for hunting or for  
               purposes of field trials, provided the owner or breeder has  
               lawfully purchased a hunting license;

             d)   Any owner or trainer of a guide dog, signal dog, or  
               service dog; and,

             e)   Any owner or trainer of a peace officer's or  
               firefighter's dog.

          20)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.

          21)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.

          22)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.








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          23)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 or license information, as  
            specified.

          24)Requires the owner or custodian of a subject cat requiring  
            surgical sterilization under this bill to provided written  
            verification from a licensed veterinarian that the subject cat  
            has been sterilized, and authorizes the licensing agency to  
            impose a penalty not to exceed $100 per day, in addition to  
            any other existing penalty against the owner or custodian if  
            the owner or custodian fails to provide the required  
            sterilization information.  Authorizes the licensing agency to  
            utilize procedures consistent with current law as they exist  
            on the effective date of this bill for any appeal of this  
            requirement.

          25)Specifies that any fee imposed pursuant to this bill shall  
            still be applicable to an owner or custodian who surrenders a  
            cat subject to this bill.

           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.








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          6)Establishes procedures for the appeal of a decision by the  
            court or hearing entity of original jurisdiction by dog owners  
            and keepers.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, the Animal Adoption mandate currently costs more than  
          $20 million annually to reimburse local government shelters'  
          cost to care for impounded animals.  Requiring owners of cats  
          and dogs to sterilize their animals or pay for a more expensive  
          unsterilized animal license, could result in more animals being  
          abandoned or surrendered because of the owner's inability to  
          afford sterilization or increased fees and fines.  Under the  
          current mandate, the state only reimburses shelters for the cost  
          of caring for animals that are euthanized, not for the cost of  
          caring for animals that are ultimately adopted.  While exact  
          figures are not available, studies show that at least 60% of  
          animals that enter shelters are ultimately euthanized.  A modest  
          2% increase in shelter costs could result in $400,000 in  
          additional General Fund (GF) costs.  

          To the extent conformance with the bill's requirements  
          eventually reduces the number of cats and dogs impounded to  
          animal shelters, local governments could realize savings and  
          thus may reduce the GF reimbursement for the local mandate over  
          the long term.

          The 2009-10 Budget suspended the current animal adoption mandate  
          which requires
          local animal shelters to hold their pets for four to six days  
          before euthanizing them.
          Due to the suspension, there are no potential GF costs or  
          savings associated with
          this legislation in 2009-10.  However, that suspension is for  
          one year only.

           COMMENTS  :  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 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  








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          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."

          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 cat  
          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  
          cats.
           
          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.


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


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