BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          SB 702 (Lieu)
          As Amended  April 27, 2011
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :32-6  
           BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS      8-0 APPROPRIATIONS      11-3        
          |Ayes:|Hayashi, Allen, Butler,   |Ayes:|Fuentes, Blumenfield,     |
          |     |Eng, Hagman, Hill, Ma,    |     |Bradford, Charles         |
          |     |Smyth                     |     |Calderon, Campos, Gatto,  |
          |     |                          |     |Hall, Hill, Lara,         |
          |     |                          |     |Mitchell, Solorio         |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |     |                          |Nays:|Donnelly, Nielsen, Norby  |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits public animal control agencies, shelters, 
          society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelters, 
          humane society shelters, or rescue groups (animal shelters) from 
          releasing a dog or cat that has not been microchipped, as 
          specified.  Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Prohibits animal shelters from releasing to an owner seeking 
            to reclaim his or her dog or cat, or to a new owner, a dog or 
            cat that has not been microchipped.

          2)Authorizes animal shelters that do not have microchipping 
            available on the premises, to release a dog or cat only upon 
            the condition that the owner, adopter, or purchaser presents 
            proof within 30 days that the dog or cat has been 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires that dogs be licensed at four months of age and wear 
            a collar with an identification or license attached, as 



          2)Requires the owner of a dog that has been impounded to pay a 
            fee to reclaim the dog.

          3)Prohibits animal shelters from selling or giving away to a new 
            owner any dog or cat that has not been spayed or neutered.

          4)Authorizes animal shelters to enter into cooperative 
            agreements with each other and with veterinarians in lieu of 
            requiring spaying and neutering deposits, as specified.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee, potential nonreimbursable costs to local government 
          for additional enforcement, offset to some extent by additional 
          fine revenues. 

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "Every year municipal animal 
          shelters in California continue to impound 1 million dogs and 
          cats and kill nearly half of these animals because the shelters 
          are over-crowded.  A significant source of the problem includes 
          the lack of identification and ability to reunite these animals 
          with their owners without delay.  This process costs over $300 
          million per year according to the Cities and Counties Annual 
          Reports submitted to the State Controller's office. 

          "Since 1989, microchip technology has enabled shelters to 
          identify the animal's owners, leading to successful 
          reunification of pets with their families.  According to The 
          Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the 
          return-to-owner rate for cats was 20 times higher and two and a 
          half times for dogs if the animals had microchips.

          "Microchips are small, about the size of a grain of rice.  They 
          contain an identifying number which when scanned provides the 
          contact information about the pet's owner.  The owner can update 
          this information at any time and by January 2012, there will be 
          a website where owners can update their information directly.  
          The material is inert and biocompatible, thereby there is no 
          health risk to the animal from the insertion of the microchip.  
          Also, implanting the device is similar to that of a vaccination, 
          resulting in minimal pain for the animal - and can be implanted 
          by veterinary techs and other personnel.  The cost of 
          microchipping ranges from $5 to $75.  However in some 



          localities, free microchipping services are available to pet 

          "Since 1973, California has required every local jurisdiction to 
          enforce the mandatory dog  licensing laws.  Commencing in 1998, 
          municipal and private shelters can impose fines and civil 
          penalties against the owner of the dog or cat that is impounded 
          by the shelter.  In addition, public and private shelters are 
          required to scan the dog or cat for a microchip and shall make 
          reasonable efforts to contact the owner in an effort to reunite 
          the pets with their owners.  However, many animals have not been 
          micro-chipped, which can prevent the dog or cat from reuniting 
          with its owner - and possibly face euthanasia because its owners 
          have not been located.

          "SB 702 requires owners of all animals adopted or impounded and 
          claimed by the owner from a local animal shelter to implant an 
          identifying microchip in the animal upon release of the animal 
          from the shelter, or within 30 days of release from the 

          According to the American Animal Welfare Society, a microchip is 
          a computer chip that is programmed with a unique identification 
          number.  The whole device is small enough to fit into a 
          hypodermic needle and is injected under the skin of the animal, 
          where it will stay for the lifetime of the pet.  According to 
          the author, implementing the microchip is essentially the same 
          as administering a vaccine.  A pet may feel a little pinch, and 
          any pain should be over very quickly.  Due to the simple nature 
          of implanting a microchip, a veterinarian is not required; 
          rather a veterinarian technician or a registered veterinarian 
          technician may perform the procedure. 

          When a pet is found by an animal shelter or a veterinarian, a 
          scanner is used to detect the pet's microchip.  The scanner will 
          read the unique number associated with the chip which is linked 
          to the owner's contact information in a database.  Opponents 
          have stated that the varying types of scanners make it difficult 
          to ensure that the microchip can be read when the pet is found.  
          The American Veterinary Medical Association states that there 
          are three different types of frequencies that are emitted by 
          microchips.  However, international standards for microchips 



          have recently been implemented and universal scanners have been 
          developed which read all types of frequencies.  The microchip is 
          not an active pet tracking device and therefore it is essential 
          for the owner to keep their contact information current with the 
          microchip's manufacturer. 

          Analysis Prepared by :    Rebecca May / B.,P. & C.P. / (916) 
                                                                FN: 0001520