BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                            Senator Loni Hancock, Chair              S
                             2011-2012 Regular Session               B

                                                                     1
                                                                     1
                                                                     4
          SB 1145 (Emmerson)                                         5
          As Amended March 29, 2012 
          Hearing date:  April 10, 2012
          Penal Code
          MK:mc

                                    ANIMAL FIGHTING  

                                       HISTORY

          Source:  San Bernardino District Attorney; The Humane Society of 
                   the United States

          Prior Legislation: SB 425 (Calderon) - Chapter 562, Stats. 2011
                       SB 917 (Lieu) - Chapter 131, Stats. 2011
                       SB 318 (Calderon) - Chapter 302, Stats. 2009
                       SB 1775 (Calderon) - Failed in Senate Public Safety 
          2008
                       SB 1349 (Soto) - Chapter 430,  Stats. 2006
                       SB 156 (Soto) - Moved to Assembly Inactive File, 
                        then amended to different subject 2005-2006
                       SB 732 (Soto) - Chapter 256, Stats. 2003
                       SB 196 (Knight) - Chapter 422, Stats. 1997
                                  SB 1587 (Roberti) - 1989, not chaptered

          Support: California District Attorneys Association; California 
                   Police Chiefs Association; California Narcotic Officers 
                   Association

          Opposition:California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
           






                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageB

                                         KEY ISSUE
           
          SHOULD THE PENALTIES FOR VARIOUS MISDEMEANORS RELATING TO ANIMAL 
          FIGHTING BE INCREASED TO $10,000?



                                       PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to increase the fines for various 
          misdemeanors relating to animal fighting.

           Existing law  provides that any person who does any of the 
          following is guilty of a felony and is punishable by 
          imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years 
          or by a fine not exceeding $50,000:

                 Owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any dog, 
               with the intent that the dog shall be engaged in 
               an exhibition of fighting with another dog.
                 For amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight 
               with another dog, or causes any dogs to injure 
               each other.
                 Permits either of the above to be done on any 
               premises under his or her charge or control, or 
               aids, or abets that act.  (Penal Code  597.5 
               (a).)
           
          Existing law  provides that any person who is knowingly 
          present, as a spectator, at any place, building, or tenement 
          where preparations are being made for an exhibition of the 
          fighting of dogs, with the intent to be present at those 
          preparations, or is knowingly present at the exhibitions or at 
          any other fighting or injuring with the intent to be present 
          at that exhibition, fighting or injuring, is guilty of a 
          misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or 
          a fine not to exceed $5,000.  (Penal Code  597.5 (b).)

           Existing law  provides that any person, who for amusement or 
          gain, causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including 




                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageC

          any dog, to fight with the like kind of animal or creature, or 
          causes any animal, including any dog, to fight with a 
          different kind of animal or creature, or with any human being; 
          or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any bull, 
          bear, dog, or other animal, or causes any bull, bear or other 
          animal, not including any dog, to worry or injure each other; 
          and any person who permits the same to be done on any premises 
          under his or her charge or control; and any person who aids, 
          abets, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year 
          in jail and/or a fine of $5,000.  (Penal Code  597b(a).)

           This bill  makes the fine for the above violation $10,000.
           
          Existing law  makes it a misdemeanor to cause, for amusement or 
          gain, an animal to fight a like or different animal.  The 
          penalty for a first offense is up to one year in county jail 
          and/or a fine of $5,000.  (Penal Code  597b(b).)

           This bill  makes the fine for the above violation $10,000.
           
          Existing law  provides that any person who is knowingly 
          present as a spectator at any place, building, or tenement 
          for an exhibition of animal fighting, or who is knowingly 
          present where preparations are being made for animal 
          fighting is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 
          months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.  (Penal Code  
          597c.)

           This bill  makes the fine for the above violation $5,000.

           Existing law  provides that it is a misdemeanor punishable by 
          up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500 for any 
          person to tie or attach or fasten any live animal to any 
          machine or device propelled by any power for the purpose of 
          causing such animal to be pursued by a dog or dogs.  (Penal 
          Code  597h)

           Existing law  provides that it is a misdemeanor punishable by up 
          to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $5,000 for any 
          person to manufacture, buy, sell, barter, exchange or to have in 




                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageD

          his or her possession any of the implements commonly known as 
          gaffs or slashers, or any other sharp implement designed to be 
          attached in place of the natural spur of a gamecock or other 
          fighting bird.  (Penal Code  587i.s)

           This bill  makes the fine for the above violation $10,000.

           Existing law  makes it a misdemeanor for any person to own, 
          possess, keep or train any bird or animal with the intent that 
          it be used in an exhibition of fighting.  The penalty for a 
          first offense is up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of 
          $5,000.  (Penal Code  597j(a).)

           This bill  makes the fine for the above violation $10,000.

           Existing law  provides that a second or subsequent violation of 
          Penal Code Section 597j is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 
          one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $25,000.  (Penal 
          Code  597j.)

                                          
                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION
                                      ("ROCA")
          
          In response to the unresolved prison capacity crisis, since 
          early 2007 it has been the policy of the chair of the Senate 
          Committee on Public Safety and the Senate President pro Tem to 
          hold legislative proposals which could further aggravate prison 
          overcrowding through new or expanded felony prosecutions.  Under 
          the resulting policy known as "ROCA" (which stands for 
          "Receivership/Overcrowding Crisis Aggravation"), the Committee 
          has held measures which create a new felony, expand the scope or 
          penalty of an existing felony, or otherwise increase the 
          application of a felony in a manner which could exacerbate the 
          prison overcrowding crisis by expanding the availability or 
          length of prison terms (such as extending the statute of 
          limitations for felonies or constricting statutory parole 
          standards).  In addition, proposed expansions to the 
          classification of felonies enacted last year by AB 109 (the 2011 
          Public Safety Realignment) which may be punishable in jail and 




                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageE

          not prison (Penal Code section 1170(h)) would be subject to ROCA 
          because an offender's criminal record could make the offender 
          ineligible for jail and therefore subject to state prison.  
          Under these principles, ROCA has been applied as a 
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that 
          the Legislature does not erode progress towards reducing prison 
          overcrowding by passing legislation which could increase the 
          prison population.  ROCA will continue until prison overcrowding 
          is resolved.

          For the last several years, severe overcrowding in California's 
          prisons has been the focus of evolving and expensive litigation. 
           On June 30, 2005, in a class action lawsuit filed four years 
          earlier, the United States District Court for the Northern 
          District of California established a Receivership to take 
          control of the delivery of medical services to all California 
          state prisoners confined by the California Department of 
          Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR").  In December of 2006, 
          plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against CDCR sought a 
          court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the 
          federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.  On January 12, 2010, a 
          three-judge federal panel issued an order requiring California 
          to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design 
          capacity -- a reduction at that time of roughly 40,000 inmates 
          -- within two years.  The court stayed implementation of its 
          ruling pending the state's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

          On May 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld the 
          decision of the three-judge panel in its entirety, giving 
          California two years from the date of its ruling to reduce its 
          prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity, subject 
          to the right of the state to seek modifications in appropriate 
          circumstances.  Design capacity is the number of inmates a 
          prison can house based on one inmate per cell, single-level 
          bunks in dormitories, and no beds in places not designed for 
          housing.  Current design capacity in CDCR's 33 institutions is 
          79,650.

          On January 6, 2012, CDCR announced that California had cut 
          prison overcrowding by more than 11,000 inmates over the last 




                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageF

          six months, a reduction largely accomplished by the passage of 
          Assembly Bill 109.  Under the prisoner-reduction order, the 
          inmate population in California's 33 prisons must be no more 
          than the following:

                 167 percent of design capacity by December 27, 2011 
               (133,016 inmates);
                 155 percent by June 27, 2012;
                 147 percent by December 27, 2012; and
                 137.5 percent by June 27, 2013.
               
           This bill  does not aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis 
          described above under ROCA.


                                      COMMENTS

          1.    Stated Need for This Bill
           
          According to the author:

               SB 1145 seeks to increase fines on individuals who are 
               involved in animal fighting.  The fine under current 
               law for being a participant in an animal fight, 
               excluding dogs, or holding an animal fighting event is 
               $5,000.  Likewise, for the owner/trainer of a bird or 
               other animal intended to be used in a fight the fine is 
               also $5,000.  SB 1145 would double these fines to 
               $10,000.  Additionally, for individuals who possess the 
               implements known as gaffs or slashers that are attached 
               to a bird in a cockfight, this bill seeks to increase 
               the fine from $5,000 to $10,000.  Furthermore, 
               cockfighting occurs and continues to be a problem 
               because people are willing to pay money to attend these 
               events.  Therefore, SB 1145 would also increase the 
               fine on spectators from $1,000 to $5,000.  








                                                                     (More)











               In California, cockfighting is a misdemeanor for the 
               first offense, rising to a felony the second time 
               around; however, it is an automatic felony in our 
               neighboring states of Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico.  
               Furthermore, cockfighting is not limited to any one 
               area in California, taking place throughout the state.  
               With that being said, the top five counties with the 
               highest number of cockfighting incidents involving law 
               enforcement are Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, 
               San Diego and Fresno.  Since January 2008, there have 
               been more than 100 major cockfighting busts in 35 
               counties involving more than 20,000 live or dead birds. 
                In addition, as of January 2012 there have been at 
               least six cockfighting busts around the state.

               Illegal animal fighting results in animal cruelty and 
               is often times associated with a number of other 
               illegal activities including the infiltration of gangs, 
               illegal drug activity, gambling and other serious 
               crimes.  SB 1145 is a necessary measure that increases 
               the fines for cockfighting, eliminating the financial 
               benefit for engaging in this brutal enterprise.

          2.    Fines and Penalty Assessments in General  

          Added to every fine imposed are approximately 280% in penalty 
          assessments.<1>  Thus, a $100 fine is really about $380; a $500 
          fine is $1,900; a $1,000 fine is $3,800; a $2,500 fine is 
          $9,500; a $5,000 fine is $19,000; a $10,000 fine is $38,000; 
          $25,000 fine is $95,000; and, a $50,000 fine is $190,000.  In 
          addition to fines, a defendant also pays court ordered 
          ---------------------------
          <1> Until the budget year 2002-2003, there was 170% in penalty 
          assessments applied to every fine, the current penalty 
          assessments are approximately 280% plus an additional $4 per 
          fine.  (See Penal Code  1464; Penal Code  1465.7; Penal Code  
          1465.8; Government Code  70372; Government Code  7600.5; 
          Government Code  76000 et seq; Government Code  76000.10; 
          Government Code  76104.6.)  




                                                                     (More)







                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageH

          restitution to the victim.

          3.    Increased Fines for Misdemeanors Relating to Animal 
          Fighting  

          This bill increases from $5,000 to $10,000 fines for causing an 
          animal fight.  The $5,000 fines were put in existing law with SB 
          1349 (Soto) in 2006, thus took effect in 2007.

          This bill also increases the fine for being a spectator at an 
          animal fight from $1,000 to $5,000. This section was added to 
          the law by SB 1349 in 2006, when the law was revised to separate 
          being a spectator into its own section.

          This bill changes the fine for possessing implements to be used 
          in cockfighting from $5,000 to $10,000.  The current fine was 
          added by SB 732 (Soto) in 2003.

          Finally, this bill changes the fine for training a bird to fight 
          from $5,000 to $10,000.  The current fine was also added by SB 
          1349 (Soto) in 2006.

          Since $5,000 is ordinarily a high fine for a misdemeanor, it 
          would be interesting to determine since January 2007 how many 
          cases have been charged and in how many of those cases has the 
          maximum fine been sought.  If they are not currently seeking or 
          getting the maximum fine, what is the rationale behind 
          increasing the fine?  Also, what impact does a higher fine have 
          on the ability to impose and collect restitution especially in 
          cases where the animals have been taken care of by a humane 
          agency or the restitution money could be used to rehabilitate an 
          animal?

          4.    Opposition  

          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) opposes 
          increases in fines for "mere presences or participation in 
          animal fighting events" stating:

                CACJ believes that existing fines and criminal 












                                                         SB 1145 (Emmerson)
                                                                      PageI

                sanctions for such matters amply reflects society's 
                disapproval for such things and serves as a real 
                deterrent.  Such fines as the author seeks to 
                authorize are disproportionate to any harms occasioned 
                by these crimes, and are subject to discriminatory 
                misuse and abuse.


                                   ***************