BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 1939
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          Date of Hearing:  April 25, 2012

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                                Cameron Smyth, Chair
                     AB 1939 (Pan) - As Amended:  April 16, 2012
           
          SUBJECT  :  Dog licensing: issuance: puppy licenses.

           SUMMARY  :  Creates a pilot project in specified counties which 
          would require pet dealers, and others as specified, to submit a 
          report once a month to the city or county responsible for 
          licensing dogs with information regarding dog sales and 
          adoptions; sunsets the pilot project provisions as of January 1, 
          2018; and, allows licensing agencies to issue puppy licenses, as 
          defined.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires for the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, 
            San Diego, and Santa Clara, the following to apply, and allows 
            any other county to enact a local ordinance implementing a 
            program consistent with the following:

             a)   Requires a pet dealer, humane society, rescue group, 
               society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or pet 
               dealer, as defined, 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.

             b)   Requires that the report include the name, address, and 
               telephone number of the person who receives the dog, and 
               include descriptions about the dog, and requires that the 
               report not be used, distributed, or released for any 
               purpose, unless as specified.  

             c)   Requires the reporting entity to retain copies of the 
               report for 12 months, and specifies that a report is not 
               required in any month that a dog was not adopted or sold.

             d)   Prohibits the information in the report from being used, 
               distributed or released for any purpose except as specified 
               and to ensure compliance with existing state and local law, 
               including applicable licensing requirements and 
               regulations.

             e)   Provides that a violation of the reporting requirements 








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               is punishable by a civil fine, as determined by the local 
               jurisdiction, and shall not exceed fifty dollars ($50) for 
               the first offense and one hundred dollars ($100) for each 
               subsequent offense.

             f)   Allows a local governmental entity to provide notice to 
               a person who receives a dog that was adopted or sold 
               regarding the laws requiring the person to obtain a license 
               for the dog.

             g)   Allows a local governmental entity to notify a different 
               local governmental entity that is responsible for licensing 
               dogs in the jurisdiction in which the 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.


             h)   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 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.

          2)Sunsets the provisions of 1) above as of January 1, 2018.

          3)Authorizes a licensing entity to issue a "puppy license" for 
            any dog under 12 months of age, as follows:

             a)   Requires the license to expire when the puppy reaches 
               one year of age;

             b)   Requires a license to be issued for a puppy regardless 
               of whether the puppy has had an antirabies vaccination;

             c)   Provides that a puppy license shall expire 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, and specifies the following:

               i)     If the puppy license expires because of lack of 








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                 acceptable proof, that the owner is not eligible to 
                 obtain a second puppy license; or,

               ii)    If the owner has provided the issuing agency with 
                 satisfactory evidence of the antirabies vaccination, the 
                 puppy license shall expire when the puppy reaches one 
                 year of age.

             d)   Provides, upon expiration of a puppy license, the owner 
               of the puppy shall obtain a dog license tag for a dog that 
               has been spayed or neutered and the fee shall be the same 
               as is contained in existing law, which provides for a fee 
               of fifty cents ($0.50) unless the fee is increased by the 
               board of supervisors;

             e)   Provides, upon expiration of a puppy license, if the 
               puppy has not been spayed or neutered, the owner of the 
               puppy shall obtain a dog license tag subject to the regular 
               fee for a dog that has not been spayed or neutered;

             f)   Provides that the fee for a puppy license is the same 
               fee for a dog that has been spayed or neutered (as is 
               specified in (d) above).
             
          4)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/her dog has been spayed or neutered, 
            including, but not limited to, electronic transmission or 
            facsimile.

          5)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.

          6)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 GOV Section 17556.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides for dog licensing requirements for cities and 








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            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 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.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  This bill is keyed fiscal and contains a 
          state-mandated local program.
           
          COMMENTS  :









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          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 
            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-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 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)Recent amendments adopted on April 16, 2012, require pet 
            stores, non-profit animal shelters and rescue organizations, 
            and high-volume dog breeders in the Counties of Los Angeles, 
            Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Clara to provide to 
            their local licensing agency a monthly list of licensing 
            information regarding dogs they have placed.  The local 
            licensing agency may use the data to follow up with new dog 
            owners to complete the licensing process.  This reporting 
            pilot program in the five counties will remain in effect until 
            January 1st, 2018.  Provisions in the bill allow any other 
            county to enact a local ordinance implementing a similar 
            reporting program. 

            The Committee may wish to ask the author whether these 
            counties have agreed to participate in the pilot project.

          4)Additionally, this bill would permit cities and counties to 
            offer puppy licenses for dogs under one year of age.  If the 
            local agency opts to offer puppy licensing, then that city or 
            county would be required to follow the provisions of the bill, 








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            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).

          5)This bill is similar to AB 1121 (Pan) which was heard by this 
            Committee in 2011.  AB 1121 was vetoed by Governor Brown with 
            the following veto message:

            "I am returning Assembly Bill 1121 without my signature.  
            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."

          6)The State Humane Association of California (SHAC) has raised 
            concerns about several of the bill's provisions.  First, SHAC 
            is opposed to the requirement that humane societies and SPCAs 
            submit a monthly report to animal control because for humane 
            societies and SPCAs, their adopter lists are a trade secret, 
            conferring independent economic value on the organizations.  
            SHAC writes that "if SCPCAs and humane societies are forced to 
            surrender adopter lists to local government, they face the 
            risk that the information will be misappropriated."  SHAC 
            provides one example in which an SPCA that recently provided 
            its adopter list to its local animal control agency, was then 
            turned into an opportunity for the animal control agency to 
            solicit donations on its own behalf.


            Second, SHAC is opposed to the fine for failure to report and 
            writes that "the reporting requirement amounts to a mandate 
            for SPCAs and humane societies for which they would receive no 
            reimbursement from local government?however, if they fail to 
            report, they would be subject to a fine."

           7)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 








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            puppies pursuant to the bill's provisions, which will allow 
            local governments to get dogs into their systems much earlier 
            in the process.  Additionally, this gives those 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, even in the 
            format of a pilot project affecting only five counties.  
            Opponents are concerned about the use of the information by 
            the local agency and would rather see the reporting provisions 
            in the bill be voluntary.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Concerned Dog Owners of California ›SPONSOR]
          California Animal Control Directors Association
          County of Sacramento
          The Humane Society of the United States

           Neutral

           California Retailers Association
          Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

           Opposition 
           
          California Federation of Dog Clubs
          State Humane Association of California (unless amended)
          The Animal Council
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Debbie Michel / L. GOV. / (916) 
          319-3958