BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 1229
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 1229 (Pavley)
          As Amended  August 24, 2012
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :37-0  
          
           JUDICIARY           7-1                                         
           
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          |Ayes:|Feuer, Atkins, Dickinson, |     |                          |
          |     |Huber, Monning,           |     |                          |
          |     |Wieckowski, Chesbro       |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Jones                     |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits landlords from imposing conditions on 
          occupancy of real property that might cause an animal that is 
          allowed on the premises to be devocalized or declawed.  
          Specifically,  this bill :    

          1)Defines "devocalizing" to mean performing, procuring, or 
            arranging for any surgical procedure, such as a vocal 
            cordectomy, to remove an animal's vocal chords or to prevent 
            the normal function of an animal's vocal chords. 

          2)Defines "declawing" to mean performing, procuring, or 
            arranging for any procedure, such as an onychectomy, 
            tendonectomy, or phalangectomy, to remove or to prevent the 
            normal function of an animal's claw or claws. 

          3)Prohibits a person or corporation that occupies, owns, 
            manages, or provides services in connection with any real 
            property, and that allows an animal on the premises, from 
            doing any of the following:

             a)   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 devocalized or declawed;

             b)   Refuse to allow the occupancy of any real property, 








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

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

          4)Permits a city or district attorney or other law enforcement 
            prosecutorial entity to enforce these provisions and sue for 
            declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or imposition of 
            specified civil penalties, to be paid to the entity that is 
            entitled to bring an action under this act.

          5)Makes legislative findings and declarations.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None
           
          COMMENTS  :  This bill seeks to prohibit landlords and other 
          persons who own or manage real property from imposing conditions 
          on occupancy of the property that might cause an animal that is 
          allowed on the premises to be devocalized or declawed.  Under 
          this bill, landlords and property owners are broadly prohibited 
          from taking certain actions that might put people in the 
          untenable position of having to choose between their housing 
          accommodations or having their pet cat or dog undergo a 
          declawing or devocalization procedure.

          Onychectomy ("declawing") is an operation to remove an animal's 
          claws by amputating the end bones of the animal's toes.  The 
          operation is most commonly done to household cats, but on 
          occasion is done to other animals.  Except where medically 
          necessary, the practice of declawing has been prohibited in 
          other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, 
          Switzerland, Austria, and the United Kingdom.  

          While declawing generally applies to cats, devocalizing (also 
          known as "debarking") most commonly applies to dogs and is an 
          operation to remove tissue from the animal's vocal cords so as 
          to permanently reduce the volume of its vocalizations.  The 
          practice is illegal in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

          According to the author, this practice should be prohibited 
          because debarking and declawing "are permanent procedures and 
          such procedures run counter to the temporary nature of rental 








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          occupancy."  In addition, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical 
          Association (HSVMA), a co-sponsor of this bill, contends that 
          this bill is needed to "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."

          This bill only applies when the landlord or owner already allows 
          an animal to be on the premises, thereafter restricting 
          specified conduct in those cases that could condition occupancy 
          on whether an animal is declawed or devocalized.  In other 
          words, this bill does not apply to any situation where the party 
          making the property available for occupancy specifically forbids 
          an animal on the premises.  This bill does not infringe upon any 
          landlord's ability to implement a "no-pets" policy or forbid a 
          tenant or occupant from having an animal on the premises.

          First, the bill specifically prohibits "advertising the 
          availability of real property for occupancy in a manner designed 
          to discourage application for occupancy because the applicant's 
          animal has not been devocalized or declawed."  The objective of 
          this prohibition is to address the problem of landlords running 
          ads for their rental properties that state a discriminatory 
          preference for an occupant whose animal is declawed or 
          devocalized.  The author has supplied the Assembly Judiciary 
          Committee with a number of examples of classified ads for rental 
          housing that state a preference for tenants having a declawed 
          cat (e.g., "Will consider declawed cat only.")  According to the 
          author, this provision is modeled on, but not identical to, 
          language from the California Fair Housing Act that makes it 
          unlawful for any person "to publish. . . an advertisement, with 
          respect to the sale or rental of a housing accommodation that 
          indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on 
          race, color, religion, sex, etc? or an intention to make that 
          preference, limitation, or discrimination."  (Government Code 
          Section 12955(c).)  

          In addition, this bill specifically prohibits a person from 
          "refusing to allow the occupancy of any real property, refusing 
          to negotiate the occupancy of any real property, or otherwise 
          make unavailable or deny to any other person the occupancy of 
          any real property because of that person's refusal to devocalize 
          or declaw any animal."  According to the author, this provision 
          is modeled on Section 804(a) of the federal Fair Housing Act 
          which makes it unlawful in federal housing "to refuse to sell or 








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          rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to 
          negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make 
          unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, 
          color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin."  (42 
          U.S.C. 3604.)  This bill would prohibit those similar 
          discriminatory practices on the basis of whether a prospective 
          occupant would devocalize or declaw an animal.  This type of 
          prohibition is intended to prohibit discrimination against a 
          person seeking housing, before any occupancy agreement or 
          tenancy is established in the real property, lest landlords or 
          property owners be able to evade the spirit of the law by simply 
          refusing to rent to persons on the same basis by which they 
          would be prohibited from discrimination if there was a lease.

          As recently amended, only a city or district attorney or other 
          law enforcement prosecutorial entity has authority to enforce 
          violations of this bill.  Violations of the advertising 
          prohibition are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per 
          advertisement, while violations of the other prohibitions are 
          punishable by a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per animal.  In 
          both cases, the bill provides that the penalty is to be paid to 
          the entity authorized to bring an action for enforcement.

          This bill is substantially similar to the enrolled version of AB 
          2743 (Nava) of 2010 which was vetoed by then-Governor 
          Schwarzenegger because it contained legislative findings and 
          declarations "that are unsupported by science."  This bill does 
          not contain the same legislative findings and declarations and 
          does not include a prohibition for non-therapeutic reasons as 
          contained in AB 2743.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Anthony Lew / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 


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