BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      



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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 1229
          Author:   Pavley (D), et al.
          Amended:  3/29/12
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 5/1/12
          AYES:  Evans, Harman, Blakeslee, Corbett, Leno


           SUBJECT  :    Real property:  rentals:  animals

            SOURCE  :     Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
                       The Paw Project


           DIGEST  :    This bill prohibits a landlord who allows 
          tenants or occupants to have animals on the premises from 
          doing any of the following:  (1) advertising the property 
          in a way that discourages individuals from applying because 
          their animal is not declawed or devocalized; (2) refusing 
          to allow, negotiate, or make the property available for 
          occupancy because of a person's refusal to declaw or 
          devocalize an animal; or (3) requiring a tenant or occupant 
          to declaw or devocalize an animal that is allowed on the 
          premises.  This bill permits a city or district attorney, 
          other law enforcement prosecutorial entity, or any person 
          harmed by a violation of these provisions to enforce these 
          provisions and sue for declaratory relief, injunctive 
          relief, or imposition of a civil penalty of $1,000 per 
          animal for every violation.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law prohibits any person from 
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          performing, or otherwise procuring or arranging for the 
          performance of, surgical claw removal, declawing, 
          onychectomy, or tendonectomy on any cat that is a member of 
          an exotic or native wild cat species, and from otherwise 
          altering such a cat's toes, claws, or paws to prevent the 
          normal function of the cat's toes, claws, or paws, unless 
          the procedure is performed solely for a therapeutic 
          purpose.  (Penal Code Section 597.6)

          Existing law generally prohibits discrimination and related 
          conduct with respect to the rental or sale of housing 
          accommodations on the basis of a person's race, color, 
          religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national 
          origin, ancestry, familial status, and other factors.  
          (Government Code Section 12955)

          Existing law generally regulates the terms and conditions 
          of residential tenancies and governs the obligations of 
          tenants and landlord under a lease or tenancy.  (Civil Code 
          Section 1940 et seq.)

          This bill prohibits any person or corporation that 
          occupies, owns, manages, or provides services in connection 
          with any real property, including the individual's or 
          corporation's agents or successors-in-interest, from doing 
          any of the following if they allow an animal on the 
          premises:

            advertise, through any means, the availability of real 
             property for occupancy in a manner designed to 
             discourage application for occupancy of that real 
             property because the applicant's animal has not been 
             declawed or devocalized;

            refuse to allow the occupancy of any real property, 
             refuse to negotiate the occupancy of any real property, 
             or to otherwise make unavailable or deny to any other 
             person the occupancy of any real property because of 
             that person's refusal to declaw or devocalize any 
             animal; or

            require any tenant or occupant of real property to 
             declaw or devocalize any animal allowed on the premises.


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          This bill confers standing to enforce this bill's 
          provisions on a city or district attorney, other law 
          enforcement prosecutorial entity, or any person harmed by a 
          violation.  This bill also provides that a person may sue 
          for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or for monetary 
          relief as provided below.

          This bill provides that, in addition to any other penalty, 
          a violation of this bill that results in the declawing or 
          devocalizing of an animal shall result in a civil penalty 
          of not more than $1,000, per animal, to be paid to the 
          person whose animal was declawed or devocalized in 
          violation, or to an entity that is authorized to bring an 
          action.

          This bill defines animal, application for occupancy, claw, 
          declawing, devocalizing, and owner.

          This bill is substantially similar to the enrolled version 
          of AB 2743 (Nava, 2010).  In vetoing AB 2743, Governor 
          Schwarzenegger stated, "This bill would prohibit a landlord 
          from requiring a tenant, as a condition of rental 
          occupancy, to have an animal 'declawed' or 'devoiced.'  I 
          support the goal of this bill, which would preclude 
          landlords from making inappropriate medical decisions as a 
          condition of occupancy.  However, I cannot sign a measure 
          that contains findings and declarations by the Legislature 
          that are unsupported by science.  In addition, this measure 
          suggests that declawing should be prohibited for any 
          'non-therapeutic' reason, which would include the 
          legitimate medical needs of a pet owner.  Regrettably, this 
          bill goes too far in attempting to deal with inappropriate 
          demands by landlords."

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

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/2/12)

          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (co-source)
          The Paw Project (co-source)
          Actors and Others for Animals
          Alley Cat Allies
          Animal Advocates

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          Best Friends Animal Society
          Born Free USA
          California Apartment Association
          California Veterinary Medical Association
          Cities of Berkeley, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood
          Contra Costa Humane Society
          Last Chance for Animals
          League of Humane Voters, California Chapter
          Marin County Human Society
          Nolan-Taft Management
          Ohlone Humane Society
          Paw PAC
          Pet Care Foundation
          Red Rover
          Social Compassion in Legislation
          Western Center on Law and Poverty

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/2/12)

          The Animal Council

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author writes, "There is an 
          ongoing practice of some landlords conditioning occupancy 
          of rental housing on the declawing of cats and/or the 
          devocalizing of dogs.  Many rental listings in California 
          show a number of properties with landlords and managers 
          that require potential tenants to declaw or devocalize 
          their pets as a condition of tenancy.  Declawing and 
          devocalizing are permanent procedures and such procedures 
          run counter to the temporary nature of rental occupancy."

          The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, a 
          co-sponsor of this bill, writes, "SB 1229 will protect 
          tenants from being forced to choose between securing 
          housing for their families and subjecting their pets to 
          unnecessary, costly and life-altering medical procedures. . 
          . . SB 1229 is a common-sense measure that will ensure that 
          important medical decisions about companion animals are not 
          made in the context of rental agreements but rather in 
          consultation with veterinary medical professionals and 
          focused on the animals' health and well-being."

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    The Animal Council argues:


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            We had opposed the 2010 version of SB 1229, AB 2743, 
            which was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, and we must 
            again oppose this bill.

            These bills pose non-existent issues to de-legitimize, 
            surreptitiously, elective veterinary procedure unrelated 
            to any tenancies.  In plain English - " declawing" cats 
            and "debarking" dogs, that are otherwise lawful 
            veterinary practice in California as determined through 
            the veterinarian-client relationship in regard to an 
            individual animal patient of the owner-client.  The 
            widely expanded wording of procedures beyond the usual 
            species by using non-specific "animal" would be comical 
            if not signaling future intent of others to seek outright 
            prohibition.  Otherwise, there is no reason to codify 
            unrealistic terminology.  As typically and selectively 
            performed only selectively with small numbers of patients 
            in limited circumstances, only de-barking of dogs would 
            be a realistic occurrence in rental occupancies.  Unlike 
            cats that would only damage the premises for which the 
            tenant would be liable for repairs, other tenants and 
            outside neighbors hear dogs' noise and may be greatly 
            disturbed.  Such barking may or may not reach the 
            threshold for legal action under local animal, noise or 
            nuisance ordinance.  Landlords have some legal 
            liabilities in nuisances on their owned premises, so the 
            prospect of legal enforcement arising from mention of 
            de-barking creates a disincentive to offer or negotiate 
            pet tenancies, particularly if tenants will not mitigate 
            barking or dispose of the animal.  We respectfully oppose 
            this disingenuous bill as harmful to both pets, and 
            tenants and as an initial step to eliminate these options 
            for any pet owners to keep their pets anywhere.  
           

          RJG:kc  5/3/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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