BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1939
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          Date of Hearing:   May 9, 2012

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                     AB 1939 (Pan) - As Amended:  April 16, 2012 

          Policy Committee:                              Local 

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program: 
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No


          This bill creates a pilot project in specified counties that 
          would require pet dealers, and others as specified, to submit a 
          report once a month to the city or county entity 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 a pilot program be set up in the counties of Los 
            Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego and Santa Clara and 
            allows any other county to enact a local ordinance 
            implementing a program, as specified.

          2)For the jurisdictions participating in the pilot program, 
            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.

          3)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.

          4)Provides that a violation of the reporting requirements is 
            punishable by a civil fine, as determined by the local 
            jurisdiction, not exceeding fifty dollars ($50) for the first 
            offense and one hundred dollars ($100) for each subsequent 


                                                                  AB 1939
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          5)Sunsets the pilot program and related provisions as of January 
            1, 2018.

          6)Authorizes a licensing entity to issue a puppy license for any 
            dog under 12 months of age, as specified.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Negligible fiscal impact.


           1)Purpose.   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)Background.   Since the mid-1950s, California has required that 
            dogs be licensed by the time they are four months of age. 
            Owners are also required 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 it results in lost dogs staying 
            longer in shelters or being euthanized because they cannot be 
            readily identified and returned promptly to their owners.

           3)Opposition.   The State Humane Association of California (SHAC) 
            opposes the requirement that humane societies and SPCAs submit 
            a monthly report to animal control.  These lists are valuable 
            to the organizations as they contain donor information and as 
            such are considered a trade secret.  They argue if SCPCAs and 
            humane societies are forced to surrender adopter lists to 
            local government, the information may be misappropriated.  


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            SHAC provides one example in which an SPCA that recently 
            provided its adopter list to its local animal control agency.  
            The animal control agency then used the list to solicit 
            donations on its own behalf.  SHAC acknowledge there is a 
            prohibition in the bill against this behavior, but no penalty 
            is provided for violations.  SHAC also oppose the fine for 
            failure to report, contending that  burdening nonprofit rescue 
            groups with a penalty for doing rescue work that would 
            otherwise fall on the local governments is counterproductive

           4)Previous legislation.   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."

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Roger Dunstan / APPR. / (916) 319-2081