BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    





                                                                AB 1121

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        GOVERNOR'S VETO
        AB 1121 (Pan)
        As Amended  August 24, 2011
        2/3 vote


         

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        |           |53-23|(June 2, 2011)  |SENATE: |27-10|(September 8,  |
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        |ASSEMBLY:  |     |                |        |     |               |
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        |ASSEMBLY:  |49-27|(September 8,   |        |     |               |
        |           |     |2011)           |        |     |               |
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         Original Committee Reference:    L. GOV.  

         SUMMARY :  Allows cities and counties to issue puppy licenses, as 
        defined, specifies provisions by which cities and counties can issue 
        puppy licenses, and requires pet dealers, rescue groups and other 
        specified entities to submit monthly reports containing information 
        about recently sold or adopted dogs to local jurisdictions.

         The Senate amendments  :

        1)Strike the language authorizing local governments to require 
          monthly reports and instead require each pet dealer, humane 
          society, rescue group, or other specified group to submit monthly 
          reports to the local government entity responsible for dog 
          licensing with specified information on adopted or sold dogs.

        2)Provide that a violation of the monthly reporting requirement is 
          punishable by a civil fine, as determined by the local 
          jurisdiction, not to exceed $50 for the first offense and $100 for 










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          each subsequent offense.

        3)Provide that no reimbursement is required by the bill's 
          provisions.

        4)Make other technical, clarifying changes.

         EXISTING LAW  :

        1)Provides for dog licensing requirements for cities and counties.

        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 
          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 










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          licensed veterinarian that the dog has been spayed or neutered.

        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.

         AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:  

        1)Authorized a local governmental entity to require a 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 local governmental entity that is responsible for 
          licensing dogs in the city or county.

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

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

        5)Required the reporting entity to retain copies of the report for 
          12 months.

        6)Specified 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 regulations.

        7)Allowed a local governmental entity to exercise the authority to 
          require monthly reports only for the following purposes:

           a)   Providing notice regarding law requiring the person to 
             obtain a license for the dog to a person who receives a dog 
             that was adopted or sold as described in 2) above; or,

           b)   Notifying a different local governmental entity, which is 
             responsible for licensing dogs in the jurisdiction in which the 










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             person resides, 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.

        8)Defined "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.

        9)Required 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 facsimile.

        10)Defined "puppy license" to mean a dog license tag issued for a 
          microchipped puppy.

        11)Allowed 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 neutered;

           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;











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

           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.

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

        13)Declared 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.

         FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, 
        this bill contains a state mandate for local governments and likely 
        minor costs for local licensing entities to receive monthly reports 
        on dog sales and adoptions.  Local governments may see a potential 
        increase in dog and puppy license revenues to the extent local 
        governments use the reported information to enhance dog license 
        enforcement efforts.

         COMMENTS  :  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.

        Since the mid-1950s, 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 










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        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.

        This bill would require pet stores, non-profit animal shelters, 
        rescue organizations, and high-volume dog breeders to compile and 
        send to their local licensing agency a monthly list of licensing 
        information regarding dogs they have placed, adopted, or sold.  If 
        the local government has the resources to process the reports, this 
        information will provide a way for local governments to contact new 
        dog owners and ensure better compliance with existing dog licensing 
        laws.  This bill also states that a violation of the requirement to 
        file monthly reports by specified entities is punishable by a civil 
        fine, as determined by the local jurisdiction, and specifies that 
        the fine cannot exceed $50 for the first offense and $100 for each 
        subsequent offense.

        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).

        Support arguments:  Supporters 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 allow 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 ability to track dogs throughout their lifetime and 
        send license renewals with efficiency.

        Opposition arguments:  Opponents argue that increasing reporting 
        requirements on humane societies, rescue groups, and other entities 
        is burdensome and unnecessary.  Additionally, local governments, due 










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        to economic conditions, may not have the resources to use this 
        information effectively.
         
        GOVERNOR'S VETO MESSAGE  :  "Nothing in existing law prevents local 
        governments from issuing puppy licenses or imposing requirements on 
        dog sellers.  In fact, some cities and counties have already adopted 
        excellent programs of the kind envisioned by this bill.  

        "Licensing and tracking of dogs is quintessentially a local 
        function."



         Analysis Prepared by  :    Debbie Michel / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958    
                                        FN: 0002932