BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1145|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 1145
          Author:   Emmerson (R), et al.
          Amended:  03/29/12
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 04/10/12
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Calderon, Harman, Liu, Price, 
            Steinberg


           SUBJECT  :    Animal fighting

           SOURCE  :     San Bernardino District Attorney
                      The Human Society of the United States


           DIGEST  :    This bill increases the fines for various 
          misdemeanors relating to animal fighting.

          ANALYSIS  :    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 
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               premises under his or her charge or control, or aids, 
               or abets that act.  (Penal Code Section 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 Section 597.5 (b).)

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

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          Section 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 Section 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 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. 

          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 Section 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 Section 597j.)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  4/11/12)

          San Bernardino District Attorney (co-source) 
          The Human Society of the United States (co-source) 
          California District Attorneys Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California Narcotic Officers Association

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           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  4/11/12)

          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    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. 
                

               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 

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               financial benefit for engaging in this brutal 
               enterprise.

           ARGUMENTS IN 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 
               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.
           
           
          RJG:nl  4/11/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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