BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 917
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   July 6, 2011

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                      SB 917 (Lieu) - As Amended:  May 16, 2011 

          Policy Committee:                              Public 
          SafetyVote:  5-2 

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


          This bill:

          1)Increases the misdemeanor penalty from up to six months in the 
            county jail to up to one year in county jail for specified 
            animal cruelty or neglect in order to conform to other 
            provisions of law relating to animal abuse.

          2)Prohibits the sale of animals on roadsides or in other outdoor 
            venues, excluding cattle. Specifically, this bill: 

             a)   Prohibits the sale of animals on any street, highway, 
               public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, or at any 
               outdoor special sale, parking lot sale, carnival, or 

             b)   Makes a violation an infraction punishable by a fine not 
               to exceed $250 for a first offense.

             c)   Makes a first offense that results in animal injury or 
               endangerment a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to 

             d)   Makes subsequent offenses misdemeanors punishable by a 
               fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

             e)   Creates a series of exemptions for events held by 4-H 
               Clubs, Junior Farmers Clubs or Future Farmers Clubs, state 
               or county fairs, animal shows, livestock consignment sales, 
               public animal control agencies or shelters, rescue groups, 
               federally regulated stockyards, or regulated live animal 


                                                                  SB 917
                                                                  Page  2


           FISCAL EFFECT

           1)Unknown, likely minor, non-reimbursable local incarceration to 
            the extent this bill results in longer county jail terms.

          2)Unknown, likely minor, non-reimbursable costs for prosecution 
            offset by fine revenue for misdemeanor violations of 
            provisions associated with the second and subsequent 
            violations of prohibitions against selling animals on 
            roadsides or other outdoor venues.


          1)Rationale  . The author contends this bill addresses an anomaly 
            in current law whereby animal cruelty is punishable by up to 
            one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000, 
            whereas arguably equally egregious instances of animal neglect 
            are limited to a penalty of up to six months in county jail, 
            and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

            Regarding outdoor sales of animals, the author contends there 
            is a growing concern with the sale of pets along streets. 
            Several counties, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San 
            Jose have responded to this concern by passing local 
            ordinances to restrict their sale. The author is concerned 
            that many of the animals sold at these venues are mistreated, 
            ill, and/or diseased.  The author contends the considerable 
            cost of veterinary care for these animals often leads to them 
            being abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters. 

           2)Current law  requires pet stores that sell pets to abide by 
            certain animal welfare standards that promote the proper care 
            and treatment of the animals, thus reducing the risk of 
            disease. This law, however, does not apply to the sale of 
            animals along the roadside. 

           3)Proponents  , primarily animal welfare organizations, contend 
            the absence of effective regulations results in pet animals 
            being sold in terrible conditions, including unsanitary 
            crowded cages and without food and/or water.  They believe 
            this bill would alleviate the suffering of these animals while 
            they are awaiting sale. In addition, this bill makes the 


                                                                  SB 917
                                                                  Page  3

            misdemeanor penalty for animal neglect the same as the 
            misdemeanor penalty for animal cruelty. According to 
            proponents, it matters not whether an animal is tortured to 
            death or instead dies a slow and agonizing death from 
            starvation, dehydration, and/or disease.   

           4)Opponents  , including the California Federation of Dog Clubs, 
            contend the bill's assumption that the sale of animals in 
            outdoor venues is cruel or leads to cruelty is off base.   
           5)Prior Legislation  . 

             a)   AB 2012 (Lieu), 2010, increased the maximum punishment 
               for misdemeanor animal
               neglect from six months to one year in county jail. Gov. 
               Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 2010, stating, "The misdemeanor 
               provisions of the animal neglect statutes are intended to 
               address less serious offenses.  While there is no question 
               that an animal suffers when criminally neglected, an 
               individual who intentionally maims, tortures, or mutilates 
               an animal should be treated more harshly by the justice 

             b)   AB 1122 (Lieu), 2009, criminalized the roadside sale of 
               animals. Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1122, stating, "I am 
               concerned with the scope and unintended consequences of 
               this bill and that it does not assure the humane and 
               ethical treatment and welfare of animals. This bill has 
               unknown costs associated with the enforcement and 
               implementation of prohibiting the sale of live animals in 
               specified venues and could drive the selling of animals 
               underground or to private sites."


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081