BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”

                                                                  AB 1121
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  May 4, 2011

                                Cameron Smyth, Chair
                     AB 1121 (Pan) - As Amended:  April 26, 2011
          SUBJECT  :  Dog licensing: issuance: puppy licenses.

           SUMMARY  :  Allows cities and counties to issue puppy licenses, as 
          defined, specifies provisions by which cities and counties can 
          issue puppy licenses, and creates new reporting requirements for 
          pet dealers, rescue groups and other specified entities to 
          submit monthly reports to local governments with information 
          about recently sold or adopted dogs.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires each pet dealer, humane society, rescue group, 
            society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other 
            specified entity, to submit, once a month, 30 days after the 
            close of business for the previous month, a report to the 
            public entity that is responsible for licensing dogs in the 
            city or county.

          2)Requires the report to include the name, address, and 
            telephone number of the person who receives the dog that was 
            adopted or sold in the previous month by that entity 
            submitting the report.

          3)Requires the report to include the breed, age, microchip 
            number and reproductive status of the dog.

          4)States that a report is not required in any month in which a 
            dog was not adopted or sold.

          5)Requires the reporting entity to retain copies of the report 
            for 12 months and specifies that the information contained in 
            the report shall not be used, distributed, or released for any 
            purpose except to ensure compliance with existing state and 
            local law, including applicable licensing requirements and 

          6)Allows a violation of the requirement to report monthly to the 
            local jurisdiction to be subject to a civil fine as determined 
            by the local jurisdiction, and provides that the fine shall 
            not exceed $50 for the first offense and $100 for each 
            subsequent offense.


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          7)Defines "rescue group" as a for-profit or not-for-profit 
            entity, or a collaboration of individuals with at least one of 
            its purposes being the sale or placement of dogs that have 
            been removed from a public animal control agency or shelter, 
            society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, or 
            humane shelter or that have been previously owned by any 
            person other than the original breeder of that dog.

          8)Requires the responsible city, county or city and county to 
            specify the means by which the dog owner is required to 
            provide proof that his or her dog has been spayed or neutered, 
            including, but not limited to, by electronic transmission or 

          9)Defines "puppy license" to mean a dog license tag issued for a 
            microchipped puppy.

          10)Allows a licensing entity to issue a puppy license pursuant 
            to the provisions of this bill, as follows:

             a)   Provides that a puppy license shall expire when the 
               puppy reaches one year of age.

             b)   Provides that upon expiration of a puppy license, the 
               owner shall obtain a dog license tag and provides that the 
               fee of the tag shall be the same fee that is authorized 
               pursuant to existing law for a dog that has been spayed or 

             c)   States, notwithstanding any other law or local 
               ordinance, that a puppy license for a microchipped puppy 
               shall, upon application of the owner, be issued regardless 
               of whether the puppy has had an antirabies vaccination.

             d)   Requires the expiration of a puppy license when the 
               puppy reaches five months of age if the owner has not 
               provided acceptable proof, on or before that date, to the 
               entity that issued the license that the puppy has received 
               an antirabies vaccination

             e)   Provides that if the puppy license expires pursuant to 
               d) above, the owner shall not be eligible to obtain a 
               second puppy license.


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             f)   Provides that the fee for a puppy license shall be the 
               same fee that is authorized pursuant to existing law for a 
               dog that has been spayed or neutered.

          11)Defines "puppy" to mean any dog under 12 months of age.

          12)Declares the intent of the Legislature to encourage anyone 
            transferring ownership of a dog to advise the new owner that 
            all dogs four months of age or older must be licensed under 
            state law, and declares the intent of the Legislature to 
            encourage all veterinarians to advise all dog owners to 
            license all dogs that are four months of age or older.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides for dog licensing requirements for cities and 

          2)Requires that all dogs over the age of four months be 
            vaccinated against rabies.

          3)Prohibits any public pound, society for the prevention of 
            cruelty to animals' shelter, or humane shelter from selling or 
            giving away any dog that has not been spayed or neutered, 
            unless a deposit for spaying or neutering the dog has been 
            tendered to the pound or shelter.

          4)Specifies provisions relating to requirements for spaying and 
            neutering applicable to a county that has a population of less 
            than 100,000 persons as of January 1, 2000, and to cities 
            within that county.

          5)Requires, for counties of less than 100,000 persons and cities 
            within those counties, to issue a dog license tag for one-half 
            or less of the fee required for a dog, if a certificate is 
            presented from a licensed veterinarian that the dog has been 
            spayed or neutered.

          6)Allows a board of supervisors to provide for the issuance of 
            serially numbered metallic dog licenses, and specifies that 
            these licenses shall be issued for a period of not to exceed 
            two years, or for three years for dogs that are 12 months, or 
            older, and who have been vaccinated against rabies.

          7)Allows the board of supervisors to increase the fee for the 


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            issuance of dog licenses.

          8)Requires dog license tags to be issued for one-half or less of 
            the fee required for a dog, if a certificate is presented from 
            a licensed veterinarian that the dog has been spayed or 

          9)Requires local governments to fine owners of a nonspayed or 
            unneutered dog that is impounded by a city or county animal 
            control agency or shelter.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)According to the sponsor, the Concerned Dog Owners of 
            California, the purpose of this bill is to remove barriers 
            that reduce compliance with the state laws that require dog 
            licensing.  The sponsor believes that removing these barriers 
            and increasing licensing would have a number of beneficial 
            effects.  First, it would make it easier to get lost dogs back 
            home to their owners which will result in lower kill rates in 
            shelters.  Second, increasing licensing would provide local 
            government with access to additional revenues.  And third, the 
            bill will provide local governments with ways to recover costs 
            more quickly.

          2)Since the mid-1950's, California has required that dogs be 
            licensed by the time they are four months of age and owners 
            are obligated to provide proof of anti-rabies vaccination.  
            Dog tag licenses are issued by local jurisdictions pursuant to 
            provisions contained in the Food and Agriculture Code.    

            According to the Humane Society, only one in five dogs in 
            California is licensed.  This low rate means that the state 
            does not know how many dogs are actually protected against 
            rabies, and may result in lost dogs staying longer in shelters 
            because they cannot be readily identified and returned 
            promptly to their owners.

          3)This bill would require that pet stores, non-profit animal 
            shelters, rescue organizations, and high-volume dog breeders 
            compile and send to their local licensing agency a monthly 
            list of licensing information regarding dogs they have placed, 
            adopted, or sold.  The author's intent with this monthly 


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            reporting requirement is to provide this information to local 
            governments which would then allow, if the local government 
            wants to and has the resources, the local government to 
            contact new owners in order to get the dogs licensed.  

            Additionally, this bill would permit cities and counties to 
            offer a puppy license to microchipped puppies under the age of 
            four months.  If the local agency opts to offer puppy 
            licensing, then that city or county would be required to 
            follow the provisions of the bill, which contain the process 
            for the licensing.  For cities and counties that choose to 
            offer a puppy license, the bill requires the local government 
            to offer it for the same fee charged to 

            owners of altered dogs.  A puppy license would be temporary 
            and become permanent when the owners provide their local 
            licensing agency with proof of proper rabies documentation (no 
            later than five months of age).

          4)The opposition argues that the monthly reporting requirement 
            provisions in the bill are effectively meaningless, and 
            instead, impose a new burden of data collection on pet stores, 
            non-profit animal shelters, rescue organizations and 
            high-volume dog breeders.  There is no guarantee that this 
            information will even be used by local governments in order to 
            facilitate increased licensing of dogs, especially given the 
            lack of resources faced by animal control offices.  

            The Committee may wish to consider whether placing burdensome 
            data collection requirements on these entities makes sense 
            without some sort of guarantee that the information will be 
            put to use by local governments.  The Committee may also wish 
            to consider whether local governments have the resources to 
            increase their dog licensing efforts given the economic 

          5)Support arguments:  Supporters of the bill argue that this 
            bill will result in higher licensing rates for dogs in 
            California and allow for better compliance in getting lost 
            dogs home to their owners.  Local governments may also choose 
            to start licensing puppies pursuant to the bill's provisions, 
            which will allows local governments to get dogs into their 
            systems much earlier on in the process.  This additionally 
            gives the local governments choosing to do puppy licensing the 


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            ability to track dogs throughout their lifetime and send 
            licensing renewals with efficiency.

            Supporters argue that the monthly reporting requirement 
            contained in the bill will provide local governments with 
            another tool that they can use to get dogs properly licensed 
            and into the system.  Local governments are not mandated to 
            use the information, but can choose to do so at their 

            Opposition arguments:  According to the California Federation 
            of Dog Clubs, this bill improperly transfers reporting 
            responsibilities to the sellers of dogs, including pet stores, 
            breeders and rescue groups, and that these multiple layers of 
            mandated reporting are unnecessary and costly to administer.  

            Additionally, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) 
            notes that "under current economic conditions, 
            already-strapped local governments are unlikely to expend 
            funds and employ the resources necessary to compile reports 
            submitted by multiple sources, cross-reference the data 
            contained in such reports against dog licensing lists and then 
            ensure application of licensing requirements on pet owners."  
            Furthermore, PIJAC writes that "many pet owners obtain their 
            dogs from pet dealers located in cities or counties other than 
            where the pet owner resides, ›meaning that] localities will be 
            receiving a significant amount of data that is completely 
            useless?which will reduce the likelihood that such localities 
            will opt to use the information at all."



          Concerned Dog Owners of California ›SPONSOR]
          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles
          The Humane Society of the United States
          Individual letters (2)


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           California Federation of Dog Clubs
          California Responsible Pet Owners' Coalition
          National Federation of Independent Business
          Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
          The Animal Council
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Debbie Michel / L. GOV. / (916)