BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

        |Hearing Date:June 13, 2011         |Bill No:AB                         |
        |                                   |1279                               |

                               AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                          Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., Chair

                        Bill No:        AB 1279Author:Fletcher
                     As Introduced:  February 18, 2011  Fiscal: No

        SUBJECT:  Animal shelters.
        SUMMARY:  Changes and deletes obsolete terminology in provisions of 
        the Business and Professions Code, the Civil Code, the Food and 
        Agriculture Code, the Health and Safety Code and the Penal Code 
        dealing with the seizure, impounding, rescue, adoption, and euthanasia 
        of abandoned and surrendered animals by animal shelters and rescue 

        Existing law:

        1)Allows for employees of animal shelters to euthanize sick, injured, 
          homeless or "  unwanted  "
        pets or animals without the presence of a veterinarian if they have 
          received proper training.
        (Business and Professions Code (BPC)  4827)

        2)Provides for requirements for the use of animals for scientific or 
          any other type of experimentation of abandoned animals turned over 
          to a "  pound  " or other animal regulation department of a public 
          agency.  (Civil Code (CC)  1834.6, 1834.7)

        3)Provides for requirements for the deposit and storage of a living 
          animal at a depository designate as a "  pound  " or shelter operated by 
          a humane society.  (CC  1846, 1847)

        4)Provides for requirements for the impounding of stray animals which 
          includes a bovine animal, horse, mule, sheep, swine or burrow, and 
          responsibilities of the "  poundkeeper  " and "  pound officer  ."  (Food 
          and Agriculture Code (F&A Code)  17003)


                                                                        AB 1279
                                                                         Page 2

        5)Defines "impounded" as the means taken into custody of the public 
          "  pound  " or animal control department or provider of animal control 
          services to the city or county where the potentially dangerous or 
          vicious dog is found.  (F&A Code  31607)

        6)Specifies the procedures for the chief officer of the public "  pound  " 
          to have a dog declared as potentially dangerous or vicious.  (F&A 
          Code  31621,31622)

        7)Requires all public "  pounds " to provide owners of lost animals and 
          those who find lost animals with specified information.  (F&A Code  

        8)Requires all public "  pounds  " to keep accurate records on each animal 
          taken up, medically treated, or impounded, and specifies what 
          information the records should include.
        (F&A Code  32003)
        9)Provides that any owner of an attack, guard or sentry dog business 
          shall obtain a permit from the local public agency or private 
          society or "  pound  ."  (Health and Safety Code (H&S Code) 

        10)Prohibits the seizure of an unweaned bird by a peace officer, 
          officer of a humane society, or officer of a "  pound  " or animal 
          regulation department of a public agency.  (H&S Code 

        11)Provides that all animals lawfully seized or impounded with respect 
          to an act of animal cruelty by a peace officer, officer of humane 
          society, or officer of a "  pound  " or animal regulation department of 
          a public agency shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and 
          be awarded to the impounding officer for disposition.  (Penal Code 
          (PC)  597)

        12)Provides that every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled animal, 
          except a dog or cat, that is abandoned may be "  killed  " by the peace 
          officer, humane society officer, or animal control officer if, after 
          a reasonable search, no owner of the animal can be found, and 
          provides for other circumstances under which a dog or cat may be 
          "  killed,  " or "  destroyed  " or "  disposed of  ."  (PC  597.1, 597f)

        13)Specifies the care and treatment actions which should be taken by a 
          " pound  ," humane society, or an animal regulation as it pertains to 
          the abandonment or voluntary relinquishment of an equine.  (PC  


                                                                        AB 1279
                                                                         Page 3

        14)Provides that any person who impounds, or causes to be impounded in 
          any "  pound  ," any domestic animal, shall supply it with sufficient 
          quantity of good and wholesome food or water, and in default thereof 
          is guilty of a misdemeanor.  (PC  597e)

        15)Provides that no person, peace officer, officer of a humane 
          society, or officer of a "  pound  " shall kill any animal using such 
          methods as carbon monoxide gas, decompression chamber or nitrogen 
          gas.  (PC  597u, 597v)

        16)Permits an animal to be killed upon order of a veterinarian who is 
          an employee of a "  pound  " or animal regulation department or upon 
          order of the court and if the owner does not comply is guilty of a 
          misdemeanor.  (PC  599e) 

        This bill:

        1) Replaces the term "unwanted" with "surrendered."

        2) Replaces the term "pound" with "animal shelter."

        3) Replaces the term "poundkeeper" with "shelter director."

        4) Replaces the term "pound officer" with "animal control officer."

        5) Replaces the term "kill," "destroy," and "dispose of" or "disposed" 
           with "humanely euthanize."

        6) Makes other technical and non-substantive changes. 

        FISCAL EFFECT:  None.  This bill is keyed "non-fiscal" by Legislative 

        1. Purpose.  According to the Author, California state law currently 
           contains old-fashioned and offensive terminology to describe the 
           work done by the state's animal shelter workers.  The words "pound" 
           and "destroy" reflect the poor conditions and unpleasant tasks 
           shelters were faced with in the earlier part of the twentieth 
           century, as well as their emphasis on animal control.  Modern 
           animal shelters are tasked with caring for homeless, injured, and 
           sick animals, with an emphasis on healing and finding homes for 


                                                                        AB 1279
                                                                         Page 4

        The Author argues that this bill is a common sense measure which will 
           help California law reflect the commitment and compassion with 
           which our state's animal shelter staff care for our homeless pets.  
           It would remove the word "destroy" or "kill" in reference to 
           euthanizing a sick or injured animal, as well as replacing the word 
           "pound" with "animal shelter."  

        The Author further explains that California's animal shelter personnel 
           provide essential life-saving services to the animals most in-need. 
            Removing the antiquated and unsettling  terms from statute is the 
           least we can do to show our support to these courageous employees 
           and volunteers 

        2. Arguments in Support.  According to the  San Diego Humane Society  
           (SDHS), the Sponsors of this measure, this bill is critically 
           important in bringing respect to the life of animals and in 
           recognizing and appropriately placing value on the work done every 
           day by animal shelter employees and volunteers throughout the state 
           of California.  The SDHS believes that words like "pound" and 
           "destroy" are simply outdated and do not reflect the many advances 
           made in animal welfare.  In particular, the work "destroy" is 
           typically used when referring to inanimate objects, not precious 
           life.  "The bottom line is the better the image we as animal 
           welfare advocates can create, the greater the support we can 
           generate for our work."

        This measure is also supported by the  Humane Society of the United 
           States  ,  Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA  , the  Santa Cruz SPCA  , 
           the  Solano County Animal Care Service  and various members of humane 
           societies such as the  Haven Human Society  and the  Inland Valley 
           Humane Society  .  They all indicated that California law uses the 
           term "pound" in twenty five different places when referring to 
           animal shelters and their operations.  This outdated term does not 
           reflect the balance that communities and organizations strive for 
           between animal control and animal care efforts.  They argue that 
           California animal shelters provide essential life-saving services 
           that the word "pound" does not adequately encompass.  Similarly, 
           California laws referring to euthanasia in cases of dire animal 
           suffering as "destroying" an animal are also outmoded.  The 
           proponents further argue that by correcting these terms it 
           reinforces the state's commitment to the humane handling and 
           treatment of animals in distress.  "While there is no fiscal impact 
           associated with this legislation, the suggested changes will have a 
           lasting impact for the future of animals and animal welfare."    



                                                                        AB 1279
                                                                         Page 5


        San Diego Humane Society (Sponsor)
        Humane Society of the United States
        Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA
        Paw PAC
        Santa Cruz SPCA
        Solano County Animal Care Service 
        Various members of Haven Human Society and the Inland Valley Humane 

         Opposition: None on file as of June 8, 2011.

        Consultant:Bill Gage