BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







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        |Hearing Date:July 6, 2011          |Bill No:AB                         |
        |                                   |1121                               |
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                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS 
                               AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                          Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., Chair
                                           

                           Bill No:        AB 1121Author:Pan
                        As Amended:June 27, 2011 Fiscal:   Yes

        
        SUBJECT:  Dog licensing:  issuance:  puppy licenses.
        

        SUMMARY:  Requires pet dealers, and others as specified, to submit a 
        report once a month to the local governmental entity and other 
        information regarding dog sales and adoptions.  By imposing new duties 
        on local officials who would receive and process the monthly reports, 
        the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.  Would also 
        allow licensing agencies to issue puppy licenses, as defined, and 
        allows the responsible entity to specify the means by which the dog 
        owner is required to provide proof that his or her dog has been spayed 
        or neutered. 


        Existing law:
        
        1) Authorizes cities and counties to issue dog licenses (Food and 
           Agriculture Code (FAC)  30501 et seq.).

        2) Declares it unlawful for any person to own, harbor, or keep any dog 
           over the age of four months, or to permit such a dog which is 
           owned, harbored, or controlled by him to run at large, unless the 
           dog has attached to its neck or leg a substantial collar as 
           specified. 
        (FAC  30951)

        3) Requires that in a designated rabies areas every dog owner, after 
           his or her dog attains the age of four months, shall no less than 
           once every two years secure a license for the dog as provided by 
           ordinance of the responsible city, city and county, or county.  





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           (Health and Safety Code (HSC)  121690)

        4) Prohibits a public animal control agency, animal or humane shelter, 
           or a rescue group, as defined, from selling or giving away to a new 
           owner any dog that has not been spayed or neutered, except as 
           specified. (FAC  30503)

        5) Provides that whenever a dog license is issued, if a certificate is 
           presented from a licensed veterinarian that the dog has been spayed 
           or neutered, the tag shall be issued for one-half or less of the 
           fee required for a dog. (FAC  30525,  30804.5; Government Code 
           (GC) 
         38792)

        6) Authorizes a board of supervisors to provide for the issuance of 
           serially numbered metallic dog licenses.  (FAC  30801)

        7) Authorizes the board of supervisors or animal control department to 
           authorize veterinarians to issue the licenses to owners of dogs who 
           applies for one. (FAC  30801)

        8) Specifies that licenses shall not exceed a period of two years, 
           unless the person to whom the license is to be issued possesses a 
           dog that has attained the age of 12 months or older, and that has 
           been vaccinated against rabies, chooses a license period as 
           established by the board of supervisors of up to one, two, or three 
           years. (FAC  30801; GC  38792)

        9) Authorizes the legislative body of a city to impose and collect a 
           license fee for a period not to exceed two years and not exceeding 
           the cost of services relating to dogs.  (GC  38792)

        10)Defines "dog breeder" or "breeder" as a person, firm, partnership, 
           corporation, or other association that has sold, transferred, or 
           given away all or part of three or more litters of 20 or more dogs 
           during the preceding 12 months that were bred and reared on the 
           premises of the person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other 
           association. (HSC  122045)

        11)Defines "pet dealer" as a person engaging in the business of 
           selling dogs or cats, or both, at retail, and by virtue of the 
           sales of dogs and cats is required to possess a permit pursuant to 
           Section 6019 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.  This definition 
           does not apply to breeders of dogs regulated, nor to any person, 
           firm, partnership, corporation, or other association, that breeds 
           or rears dogs on the premises of the person, firm, partnership, 





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           corporation, or other association, that has sold, transferred, or 
           given away fewer than 50 dogs in the preceding year.  (HSC  122125 
           et seq.,  or the "Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act")

        12)Defines "purchaser" as a person who purchases a dog or cat from a 
           pet dealer without the intent to resell the animal. (Id.)

        13)Provides that whenever the Legislature of any state agency mandates 
           a new program or higher level of service on any local government, 
           the State shall provide a subvention of funds to reimburse that 
           local government for the costs of the program or increased level of 
           service unless legislation defines a new crime or changing an 
           existing definition of a crime. (California Constitution, Article 
           XIIIB  6)

        14)Provides that the Commission on State Mandates shall not find costs 
           mandated by the state in any claim submitted by a local agency or 
           school district if the commission finds that the statute created a 
           new crime or infraction, eliminated a crime or infraction, or 
           changed the penalty for a crime or infraction, but only for that 
           portion of the statute relating directly to the enforcement of the 
           crime or infraction. (GC  17556) 

        This bill:

        1) Declares that it is 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 to encourage all veterinarians to advise their clients to 
           license their dogs that are  four   months  of age or older.

        2) Requires a pet dealer, as defined, humane society, rescue group, 
           society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other 
           entity described under Section 122045 of the Health and Safety 
           Code, to submit once a month, 30 days after the close of business 
           for the previous month, a report to the local governmental entity.  
           Requires that the report include the name, address, and telephone 
           number of the person who receives the dog, and include descriptions 
           about the dog.  Requires that the report not be used, distributed, 
           or released for any purpose, unless as specified.  

        3) Violation of this reporting requirement may result in a civil fine 
           as determined by the local jurisdiction not to exceed $50 for the 
           first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense.

        4) Restricts a local governmental entity to exercise this authority 





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           only for the purpose or providing notice to a person who receives a 
           dog, or notifying a different local governmental entity that the 
           person has adopted or purchased a dog, if that person does not 
           reside within the jurisdiction of the local governmental entity 
           that is providing the notice.

        5) Defines a "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, as specified.

        6) Authorizes a licensing entity to issue a "puppy license" or a dog 
           license tag issued for a microchipped puppy.  This license expires 
           when the puppy reaches one year of age.  Upon expiration, the owner 
           of the puppy shall obtain a dog license tag.

        7) Provides that if a certificate is presented from a licensed 
           veterinarian that the dog has been spayed or neutered, the license 
           shall be issued for one-half or less of the fee required for a dog.

        8) Defines a "puppy" as any microchipped dog less than 12 months of 
           age.

        9) Permits issuance of a puppy license for a microchipped puppy 
           regardless of whether the puppy has had an anti-rabies vaccination.

        10)Provides for 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.

        11)Declares that no reimbursement is required because the act creates 
           a new crime or infraction to local agencies or school districts 
           under Section 6 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution and 
           Section 17556 of the Government Code.

        
        FISCAL EFFECT:  According to Assembly Appropriations analysis dated 
        May 17, 2011, "Local governments will incur costs for processing the 
        reports filed by entities that sell or transfer a dog.  These costs 
        are estimated to be approximately $300,000.  The possibility of 
        revenues could more than offset costs if local governments are able to 
        successfully use the data that is reported.

        If California were to achieve a 25% licensing rate compliance from its 
        current rate of 16.5%, that could mean an additional $12.75 million in 
        revenues statewide and $50.25 million at 50% compliance.






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        COMMENTS:
        
        1. Purpose.  According to the Author, the purpose of the bill is to 
           increase dog licensing compliance and revenues in California by 
           removing barriers to obtaining a dog license and by educating the 
           dog owning public about the existing licensing requirement in state 
           law. 

           The Author seeks to address several issues.  When people retrieve 
           puppies from pet stores, private parties, or even rescue puppies 
           from shelters, they are unable to license the dogs when they are 
           first acquired.  When animal control agencies can visually confirm 
           a dog has been altered, they cannot sell an altered license until 
           the owner can provide a certificate of sterilization.  Animal 
           control agencies have limited tools to locate owners of dogs in 
           their communities and educate them about dog ownership 
           requirements.

        2. Background.  California state law requires that all dogs over the 
           age of four months be vaccinated against rabies and possess a 
           license.  Licensing is a means of identification in the event that 
           a dog becomes lost.  Licensing revenues aid licensing entities in 
           promoting and protecting human and animal safety.  Failure to 
           license one's dog may result in fines, penalties and/or citations.

           According to data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, 
           California itself has approximately 9.3 million dogs.  
           Approximately 715,000 dogs die each year in California. In 2008, 
           about 1,900,000 dogs were licensed with the possibility of 
           underreporting.

           According to information provided by the Author, 80% of dogs in 
           shelters have an owner, but only 16-20% are returned to their 
           owners because of licensing.  Low rates of licensing compliance 
           also results in lower revenue for local governments.  

           As early as birth, puppies can be microchipped.  A microchip is 
           about the size of a grain of rice, and consists of a tiny computer 
           chip housed in a type of glass made to be compatible with living 
           tissue.  This microchip is implanted between the dog's shoulder 
           blades under the skin with a needle and special syringe.  Little to 
           no pain is experienced.  The microchip can be detected immediately 
           with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip which 





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           displays a unique alphanumeric code.  They are designed to last the 
           life of a dog and can be easily identified if found by a shelter in 
           possession of a scanner.  (Once microchipped, this bill will 
           qualify the puppy for a puppy license.)

           According to the American Humane Association Website, it is 
           generally safe to spay or neuter most puppies at 8 weeks of age.  
           Once a dog is spayed or neutered, it may qualify for the fee 
           discount pursuant to FAC  30525, 30804.5 and GC  38792 of 
           one-half, or less of the fee required for a dog.  

           This bill does not require vaccination as a pre-requisite to 
           licensing; however, owners must still vaccinate the puppy when it 
           reaches 4 months of age.  If the owner has not provided acceptable 
           proof when the puppy reaches five months of age that the puppy has 
           received an anti-rabies vaccination, the puppy license shall expire 
           until the issuing agency receives satisfactory evidence indicating 
           the puppy has received vaccination.

           After one year, puppies are considered adults.  This bill provides 
           that the puppy license shall expire when the puppy reaches one year 
           of age and upon expiration of this license, the owner must obtain a 
           dog license.

        3. Current Declines in Dog Licensing and Licensing Compliance.  
           According to the California Department of Public Health, the past 
           three decades have seen a sharp decline in the number of California 
           dogs licensed per 1000 people.  In 1996-97 Los Angeles Animal 
           Services saw 137,000 animals licensed which shrank to 125,000 in 
           2006-2007.  Additional information reveals that in 2009, only 16% 
           of California's dogs were licensed.  Supporters contend that by 
           permitting licensing and education when a dog is still a puppy, 
           licensing compliance will go up.   

           The Los Angeles Animal Services had a different method of improving 
           compliance by implementing their License Canvassing program, which 
           utilized employees in a canvassing effort, following up on breeding 
           permits.  They saw positive results in increasing compliance, 
           bringing in 6,500 licenses and $282,000 in revenue. 

          4.   Current Reporting Requirements for Pet Dealers.  Much of the 
             existing reporting for pet dealers requirements are established 
             in the Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act (Act).  Apart from 
             setting forth definitions for pet dealers and purchasers, the Act 
             sets forth guidelines for the health and safety of dogs and cats. 
              The Act also sets forth information pet dealers shall provide to 





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             purchasers, including information on disease, illness, and any 
             congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the 
             health of the dog at the time of sale.  It also provides for a 
             civil penalty of $1,000 per violation of the Act.  

           Pet dealers are also required to provide a basic standard of living 
           for dogs and sets forth provisions addressing dog illness after 
           purchase regarding refunds and veterinary costs.  Pet dealers are 
           also required to provide the purchaser at the time of sale, a 
           written notice of rights upon request setting forth rights provided 
           for in the Act.  

          5.   Measure May Decrease Euthanasia for Shelter Dogs.  A key 
             concern of some animal groups is the number of dogs that are 
             euthanized when they are not reclaimed by owners, transferred, 
             adopted, or die of natural causes in shelters.  They believe that 
             euthanasia of dogs would decrease if more owners are reunited 
             with dogs in shelters through increased licensing efforts.  

           According to information from the California Department of Public 
           Health, 35% of shelter dogs are euthanized, 16% are reclaimed by 
           owners and 27% are adopted.  Increasing licensing tools for local 
           governmental entities may improve the percentage of dogs reclaimed 
           by owners from shelters.  This particular bill would provide 
           microchips to puppies, so that in the event that they are lost and 
           returned to a shelter, a shelter would be able to scan the dog and 
           contact the owner through the national registry.

           According to the California Department of Public Health, if there 
           is a 10% increase in the rate at which lost dogs are returned to 
           owners, the chance that they are euthanized goes down by roughly 
           5-20%.

          6.   Related Legislation.   AB 258  (Hagman) of 2011, exempts from the 
             rabies vaccination requirement a dog that a licensed veterinarian 
             determines, on an annual basis, would be endangered from the 
             vaccine due to disease or other conditions.  This bill is pending 
             before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

            SCR 51  (Lieu) of 2011, declares July 7, 2011 to be Microchip Your 
           Animal Day 2011 in California and would request that Californians 
           observe this day by having their dogs and cats microchipped and by 
           supporting organizations that provide no-cost and affordable 
           microchipping services.  This resolution is pending before the 
           Senate Rules Committee.






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            SB 702  (Lieu) of 2011, prohibits any public animal control agency 
           or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals 
           shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group from releasing to 
           an owner seeking to reclaim his or her dog or cat, or selling or 
           giving away to a new owner, a dog or cat that has not been 
           microchipped, except under a specified circumstance.  Because a 
           violation of these provisions would be a crime, the bill would 
           impose a state-mandated local program.  This bill is pending before 
           the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

            AB 2716  (Mendoza) of 2010, provided for a reduced fee for a dog 
           license tag if a certificate was presented from a licensed 
           veterinarian stating that the dog is a puppy under the age of 8 
           months.  By expanding the population of dogs eligible for a reduced 
           license fee, the bill would have imposed a state-mandated local 
           program on a local government which would administer the expanded 
           program.  This measure was referred to the Assembly Committee on 
           Local Government but was never heard.  
           
            SB 250  (Florez) of 2010, restricted the ownership of unsterilized 
           dogs and cats and required surgical sterilization of the animal in 
           specified circumstances.  This bill died on the Assembly Floor.

            AB 1634  (Levine) of 2008, 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. It also increased existing fines for nonspayed or 
           unneutered dogs and cats.  This bill required microchipping of the 
           animal for a second occurrence for which the owner would have to 
           pay the cost of the microchip procedure, as specified.  This bill 
           died on the Senate Floor.

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

            SB 934  (Vincent) of 2005, provided that the entity selling or 
           giving away of an unspayed or unneutered dog or cat shall require 
           the adopter or purchaser to execute a written agreement 
           acknowledging that the dog or cat is not spayed or neutered and 
           agreeing that the adopter or purchaser shall be responsible for 





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           ensuring that the dog or cat will be spayed or neutered, as 
           specified.  The bill would have subject a purchaser or adopter who 
           violates the agreement to spay or neuter to specified civil fines 
           and penalties.  Because the bill increased the duties of local 
           humane officers, this bill would have imposed a state-mandated 
           local program upon local governments.  This measure was referred to 
           the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee 
           but was never heard.
            SB 1301  (Vincent, Chapter 253, Statutes of 2004) repeals the sunset 
           date of January 1, 2006, for statutory provisions effective January 
           1, 2000, relating to the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats. 

            SB 1785  (Hayden, Chapter 752, Statutes of 1998) provides that 
           public and private animal shelters are subject to the same 
           anti-cruelty statues as private citizens who take possession of a 
           stray dog or cat and requires animal shelters to keep animals for a 
           minimum of three business days before they are put up for adoption 
           and a minimum of six business days before they are euthanized among 
           other provisions.   

        7. Arguments in Support.  Supporters argue that this bill moves us 
           into the 21st century where electronic information is now available 
           and means that male dogs attending a low-cost rabies clinic would 
           be able to be licensed at the clinic because it is easy to make a 
           determination.

           Also, this will allow local animal control to follow up on dogs in 
           their area to ensure owners are advised of rabies vaccination 
           requirements and licensing requirements.  Supporters also tout the 
           potential licensing revenue that may result.

          8.   Arguments in Opposition.  Opponents believe that this would 
             impose an additional burden on pet dealers, requiring an 
             additional business expense.  They argue that this would increase 
             the cost of selling animals.  They claim that under current 
             economic conditions, local governments are unlikely to expend 
             funds and employ the human resources necessary to compile reports 
             submitted by multiple sources and that localities will be 
             receiving useless information.  Opponents firmly believe that 
             this will create a new level of bureaucracy that imposes costs on 
             small businesses.

          Opponents to this bill also argue that increasing reporting 
             requirements on humane societies, rescue groups, and other 
             entities is burdensome and unnecessary.  






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         9. Policy Issue  :  Assembly Appropriations Committee Amendments 
           Changed.  
        The Author and Sponsor submitted amendments that modify changes made 
           by the Assembly Appropriations Committee as the bill was moved off 
           of the suspense file.  Assembly Appropriations amendments dated May 
           27, 2011, contained language which would have authorized local 
           governments to pass an ordinance requiring reporting of sales and 
           transfers.  These amendments were taken to reduce potential costs 
           from a possible reimbursable state mandate and to reduce the 
           reporting burden in instances where local governments were not 
                               going to use the information.  This bill contains amendments dated 
           June 27, 2011, that restore the bill's provisions to uniformly 
           require pet stores, non-profit animal shelters and rescue 
           organizations, and high-volume dog breeders to submit to their 
           local animal control agency a monthly list of contact information 
           for the new owners of the dogs they have sold or placed, even if 
           the dog and new owner reside in a different jurisdiction.

        This bill also restores language that allows for penalties to 
           aforementioned organizations in the amount of a civil fine of $50 
           for the first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense for the 
           violation of provisions, providing a stronger incentive for 
           compliance with the law.

        Legislative counsel has opined that this version of the bill is not a 
           reimbursable mandate.  However, an earlier version of the bill with 
           an identical requirement was considered by Legislative Counsel to 
           be a reimbursable mandate.  These conflicting opinions will be 
           resolved if this bill is enacted, by the Commission on State 
           Mandates.

        10.Proposed Author's Amendments.  The Author has agreed to restore 
           those amendments made by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 
           May 27, 2011. 

           
        SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
        
         Support:  

        Concerned Dog Owners of California (Sponsor)
        American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
        California Animal Control Directors Association
        Humane Society of the United States
        Laborers' International Union of North America Locals 777 and 792
        Sacramento County





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        Standard Schnauzer Club of Southern California Inc.

         Opposition:  

        Animal Council
        California Federation of Dog Clubs
        California Responsible Pet Owners' Coalition
        National Federation of Independent Business
        Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council



        Consultant:Jonathan Ma and Bill Gage