BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 1939 (Pan)
          As Amended  April 16, 2012
          Majority vote 

           LOCAL GOVERNMENT    6-2         APPROPRIATIONS      9-6         
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Smyth, Alejo, Bradford,   |Ayes:|Fuentes, Bradford,        |
          |     |Campos, Davis, Hueso      |     |Charles Calderon, Campos, |
          |     |                          |     |Davis, Hall, Hill, Lara,  |
          |     |                          |     |Mitchell                  |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Knight, Norby             |Nays:|Harkey, Donnelly, Gatto,  |
          |     |                          |     |Nielsen, Norby, Wagner    |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 

           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;









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             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 
               is punishable by a civil fine, as determined by the local 
               jurisdiction, and shall not exceed $50 for the first 
               offense and $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; and, 

             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;









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             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 
                 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 $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; and,

             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 or 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 








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            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 Government Code Section 17556.

           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 








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            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  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee, there is negligible fiscal impact.
           
          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 
          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 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.

          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 1, 2018.  
          Provisions in the bill allow any other county to enact a local 








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          ordinance implementing a similar reporting program. 

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

          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, 
          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).

          This bill is similar to AB 1121 (Pan) which was heard by the 
          Assembly Local Government 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."

          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 








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          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."

          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 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.

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


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