BILL NUMBER: SB 1500	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Senator Lieu

                        FEBRUARY 24, 2012

   An act to amend Sections 597.1 and 597.9 of the Penal Code,
relating to animal protection.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   SB 1500, as introduced, Lieu. Seized and abandoned animals: full
costs: forfeiture.
   Existing law provides that the cost of seizing, caring for, and
treating any stray, abandoned, or endangered animal seized pursuant
to specified provisions regarding the failure to care for animals, or
pursuant to a search warrant, shall constitute a lien on the animal
and that the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the
charges are paid. Existing law provides that, if these charges are
not paid within 14 days of the seizure, or if an owner fails to pay
charges permitted, as specified, and take possession of the animal
within 14 days of notice of availability of the animal to be
returned, the animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned and may
be disposed of by the impounding officer.
   Existing law also provides that no animal properly seized pursuant
to these provisions shall be returned to its owner until, in the
determination of the seizing agency or the hearing officer, the
animal is physically fit, or the owner can demonstrate that he or she
can and will provide the necessary care. Existing law requires, when
an officer seizes or impounds an animal based on a reasonable belief
that prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of
the animal or the safety of others, that prior to the commencement of
any criminal proceedings, the officer provide the owner or keeper of
the animal, if known or ascertainable after reasonable
investigation, with the opportunity for a postseizure hearing to
determine the validity of the seizure or impoundment, or both.
   The bill would require that a statement of charges be presented to
the owner or keeper at the time of the postseizure hearing or, if a
postseizure hearing is either not requested or none is required by
law, that the statement be delivered by certified mail or personal
delivery. If an owner fails to pay the charges, and take possession
of the animal within 14 days of notice of availability of the animal
to be returned, the animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned,
and would become the property of the seizing agency, deleting the
provision specifically authorizing the agency to dispose of the
animal. The bill would provide that if the owner satisfies payment of
the charges during the first 14 days after seizure and the animal
remains impounded, the seizing agency must continue to deliver
statements of charges, including all new charges that have accrued,
not more than 30 days after the previous statement. The bill would
specify the delivery method for the statement, and would require the
statement to inform the owner that if he or she fails to pay the new
accrued charges within 14 days of the sending of the statement, the
animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned and shall become the
property of the seizing agency.
   The bill would provide that, if an animal is seized pursuant to a
search warrant, the owner or keeper is not entitled to an
administrative postseizure hearing with the seizing agency. With
respect to the existing provision that no animal properly seized
pursuant to these provisions shall be returned to its owner until, in
the determination of the seizing agency or the hearing officer, the
animal is physically fit, or the owner can demonstrate that he or she
can and will provide the necessary care, the bill would additionally
require that the seizing agency or hearing officer determine that
the owner does not present a danger to the animal.
   The bill would also authorize a seizing agency or prosecuting
attorney, prior to final disposition of any criminal charges against
the owner of an animal, to file a petition in the criminal proceeding
requesting the court to issue an order forfeiting the animal to the
city, county, or seizing agency prior to the final disposition of the
criminal charge. The bill would require notice and a hearing, as
specified, and would impose upon the petitioner the burden of
establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that even if the
owner is acquitted of the charges he or she cannot or will not
provide the necessary care for the animal or will not be legally
permitted to retain the animal. If the petitioner meets his or her
burden, the bill would require the court to order the immediate
forfeiture of the animal as sought by the petition.
   Existing law provides that any person who has been convicted of
certain crimes regarding cruelty to animals and the failure to care
for animals, and who within a specified period after conviction,
owns, possesses, maintains, has custody of, resides with, or cares
for any animal, is guilty of a public offense punishable by a $1,000
fine. Existing law authorizes the court to reduce the duration of the
mandatory ownership prohibition if the defendant files a petition
seeking that order and, at the subsequent hearing, establishes
probable cause to believe specified facts, including that he or she
does not present a danger to animals and has the ability to properly
care for all the animals in his or her care. Existing law also
authorizes the court to exempt owners of livestock from these
restrictions if the defendant files a petition to establish that the
imposition of these restrictions would result in substantial or undue
economic hardship to the defendant's livelihood and that the
defendant has the ability to properly care for all livestock in his
or her care.
   This bill would require a defendant who files a petition seeking
to reduce the duration of the mandatory ownership prohibition or an
exemption, as described above, to establish the basis for granting
the relief by a preponderance of the evidence.
   The bill would impose new duties on local officials responsible
for seizing and impounding animals, thereby imposing a state-mandated
local program.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 597.1 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
   597.1.  (a) Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who
permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street,
square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial
district without proper care and attention is guilty of a
misdemeanor. Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal
control officer shall take possession of the stray or abandoned
animal and shall provide care and treatment for the animal until the
animal is deemed to be in suitable condition to be returned to the
owner. When the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that very
prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of the
animal or the health or safety of others, the officer shall
immediately seize the animal and comply with subdivision (f). In all
other cases, the officer shall comply with the provisions of
subdivision (g). The  full  cost of caring for and treating
any animal properly seized under this subdivision or pursuant to a
search warrant shall constitute a lien on the animal and the animal
shall not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid, if the
seizure is upheld pursuant to this section.
   (b) Every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled animal, except a dog
or cat, that is abandoned in any city, county, city and county, or
judicial district may be killed by the officer if, after a reasonable
search, no owner of the animal can be found. It shall be the duty of
all peace officers, humane society officers, and animal control
officers to cause the animal to be killed or rehabilitated and placed
in a suitable home on information that the animal is stray or
abandoned. The officer may likewise take charge of any animal,
including a dog or cat, that by reason of lameness, sickness,
feebleness, or neglect, is unfit for the labor it is performing, or
that in any other manner is being cruelly treated, and provide care
and treatment for the animal until it is deemed to be in a suitable
condition to be returned to the owner. When the officer has
reasonable grounds to believe that very prompt action is required to
protect the health or safety of an animal or the health or safety of
others, the officer shall immediately seize the animal and comply
with subdivision (f). In all other cases, the officer shall comply
with subdivision (g). The  full  cost of caring for and
treating any animal properly seized under this subdivision or
pursuant to a search warrant shall constitute a lien on the animal
and the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the charges
are paid.
   (c) (1) Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal
control officer shall convey all injured cats and dogs found without
their owners in a public place directly to a veterinarian known by
the officer to be a veterinarian who ordinarily treats dogs and cats
for a determination of whether the animal shall be immediately and
humanely destroyed or shall be hospitalized under proper care and
given emergency treatment.
   (2) If the owner does not redeem the animal within the locally
prescribed waiting period, the veterinarian may personally perform
euthanasia on the animal. If the animal is treated and recovers from
its injuries, the veterinarian may keep the animal for purposes of
adoption, provided the responsible animal control agency has first
been contacted and has refused to take possession of the animal.
   (3) Whenever any animal is transferred to a veterinarian in a
clinic, such as an emergency clinic that is not in continuous
operation, the veterinarian may, in turn, transfer the animal to an
appropriate facility.
   (4) If the veterinarian determines that the animal shall be
hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment, the
costs of any services that are provided pending the owner's inquiry
to the responsible agency, department, or society shall be paid from
the dog license fees, fines, and fees for impounding dogs in the
city, county, or city and county in which the animal was licensed or,
if the animal is unlicensed, shall be paid by the jurisdiction in
which the animal was found, subject to the provision that this cost
be repaid by the animal's owner. The  full  cost of caring
for and treating any animal seized under this subdivision shall
constitute a lien on the animal and the animal shall not be returned
to the owner until the charges are paid. No veterinarian shall be
criminally or civilly liable for any decision that he or she makes or
for services that he or she provides pursuant to this subdivision.
   (d) An animal control agency that takes possession of an animal
pursuant to subdivision (c) shall keep records of the whereabouts of
the animal from the time of possession to the end of the animal's
impoundment, and those records shall be available for inspection by
the public upon request for three years after the date the animal's
impoundment ended.
   (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any peace
officer, humane society officer, or any animal control officer may,
with the approval of his or her immediate superior, humanely destroy
any stray or abandoned animal in the field in any case where the
animal is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not
available and it would be more humane to  dispose of
 euthanize  the animal.
   (f) Whenever an officer authorized under this section seizes or
impounds an animal based on a reasonable belief that prompt action is
required to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health
or safety of others, the officer shall, prior to the commencement of
any criminal proceedings authorized by this section, provide the
owner or keeper of the animal, if known or ascertainable after
reasonable investigation, with the opportunity for a postseizure
hearing to determine the validity of the seizure or impoundment, or
both.  If an animal is seized pursuant to a search warrant, the
owner or keeper is not entitled to a postseizure hearing with the
seizing agency. 
   (1) The agency shall cause a notice to be affixed to a conspicuous
place where the animal was situated or personally deliver a notice
of the seizure or impoundment, or both, to the owner or keeper within
48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. The notice shall include
all of the following:
   (A) The name, business address, and telephone number of the
officer providing the notice.
   (B) A description of the animal seized, including any
identification upon the animal.
   (C) The authority and purpose for the seizure, or impoundment,
including the time, place, and circumstances under which the animal
was seized.
   (D) A statement that, in order to receive a postseizure hearing,
the owner or person authorized to keep the animal, or his or her
agent, shall request the hearing by signing and returning an enclosed
declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the agency
providing the notice within 10 days, including weekends and holidays,
of the date of the notice. The declaration may be returned by
personal delivery or mail.
   (E) A statement that the  full  cost of caring for and
treating any animal properly seized under this section is a lien on
the animal and that the animal shall not be returned to the owner
until the charges are paid, and that failure to request or to attend
a scheduled hearing shall result in liability for this cost.
   (2) The postseizure hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours of
the request, excluding weekends and holidays. The seizing agency may
authorize its own officer or employee to conduct the hearing if the
hearing officer is not the same person who directed the seizure or
impoundment of the animal and is not junior in rank to that person.
The agency may utilize the services of a hearing officer from outside
the agency for the purposes of complying with this section.
   (3) Failure of the owner or keeper, or of his or her agent, to
request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture
of any right to a postseizure hearing or right to challenge his or
her liability for costs incurred.
   (4) The agency, department, or society employing the person who
directed the seizure shall be responsible for the costs incurred for
caring and treating the animal, if it is determined in the
postseizure hearing that the seizing officer did not have reasonable
grounds to believe very prompt action, including seizure of the
animal, was required to protect the health or safety of the animal or
the health or safety of others. If it is determined the seizure was
justified, the owner or keeper shall be personally liable to the
seizing agency for the  full  cost of the seizure and care
of the animal  , the  .   The 
charges for the seizure and care of the animal shall be a lien on the
animal  , and the   . The  animal shall
not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid  and
  ,  the seizing agency or hearing officer has
determined that the animal is physically fit  or 
 , and  the owner demonstrates to  the satisfaction of
 the seizing  agency's   agency  or
the hearing  officer's satisfaction   officer
 that the owner can and will provide the necessary care  and
  does not present a danger to the animal  .
   (g) Where the need for immediate seizure is not present and prior
to the commencement of any criminal proceedings authorized by this
section, the agency shall provide the owner or keeper of the animal,
if known or ascertainable after reasonable investigation, with the
opportunity for a hearing prior to any seizure or impoundment of the
animal. The owner shall produce the animal at the time of the hearing
unless, prior to the hearing, the owner has made arrangements with
the agency to view the animal upon request of the agency, or unless
the owner can provide verification that the animal was humanely
destroyed. Any person who willfully fails to produce the animal or
provide the verification is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a
fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than
one thousand dollars ($1,000).
   (1) The agency shall cause a notice to be affixed to a conspicuous
place where the animal was situated or personally deliver a notice
stating the grounds for believing the animal should be seized under
subdivision (a) or (b). The notice shall include all of the
following:
   (A) The name, business address, and telephone number of the
officer providing the notice.
   (B) A description of the animal to be seized, including any
identification upon the animal.
   (C) The authority and purpose for the possible seizure or
impoundment.
   (D) A statement that, in order to receive a hearing prior to any
seizure, the owner or person authorized to keep the animal, or his or
her agent, shall request the hearing by signing and returning the
enclosed declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the
officer providing the notice within two days, excluding weekends and
holidays, of the date of the notice.
   (E) A statement that the cost of caring for and treating any
animal properly seized under this section is a lien on the animal,
that any animal seized shall not be returned to the owner until the
charges are paid, and that failure to request or to attend a
scheduled hearing shall result in a conclusive determination that the
animal may properly be seized and that the owner shall be liable for
the charges.
   (2) The preseizure hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours,
excluding weekends and holidays, after receipt of the request. The
seizing agency may authorize its own officer or employee to conduct
the hearing if the hearing officer is not the same person who
requests the seizure or impoundment of the animal and is not junior
in rank to that person. The agency may utilize the services of a
hearing officer from outside the agency for the purposes of complying
with this section.
   (3) Failure of the owner or keeper, or his or her agent, to
request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture
of any right to a preseizure hearing or right to challenge his or
her liability for costs incurred pursuant to this section.
   (4) The hearing officer, after the hearing, may affirm or deny the
owner's or keeper's right to custody of the animal and, if
reasonable grounds are established, may order the seizure or
impoundment of the animal for care and treatment.
   (h)  (1)    If any animal is properly seized
under this section or pursuant to a search warrant, the owner or
keeper shall be personally liable to the seizing agency for the 
full  cost of the seizure and care of the animal.  A
statement of charges shall be presented to the owner or keeper at the
time of the postseizure hearing, except that if no postseizure
hearing is requested, or none is required by law, a statement of
charges shall be delivered by certified mail or personal delivery.

    (2)     Furthermore, if  
If  the charges for the seizure or impoundment and any other
charges permitted under this section are not paid within 14 days of
the seizure, or  ,  if the owner, within 14 days of
notice of availability of the animal to be returned, fails to pay
charges permitted under this section and take possession of the
animal, the animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned and
 may be disposed of by the impounding officer  
becomes the property of the seizing agency  . 
   (3) If during the first 14 days after the seizure the owner
satisfies payment of all charges that accrued under this section, and
the animal remains impounded, the seizing agency shall continue to
regularly deliver statements of charges that identify all new charges
that have accrued. The time period for sending the statement shall
be at the discretion of the seizing agency, but shall not exceed 30
days from the date the previous statement was sent. Each statement of
charges shall be delivered by certified mail or personal delivery.
Each statement of charges shall state that if the owner fails to pay
the new accrued charges within 14 days of the sending of the
statement, the animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned and
becomes the property of the seizing agency. 
   (i) If the animal requires veterinary care and the humane society
or public agency is not assured, within 14 days of the seizure of the
animal, that the owner will provide the necessary care, the animal
shall not be returned to its owner and shall be deemed to have been
abandoned and  may be disposed of by the impounding officer
  becomes the property of the seizing agency  . A
veterinarian may humanely destroy an impounded animal without regard
to the prescribed holding period when it has been determined that the
animal has incurred severe injuries or is incurably crippled. A
veterinarian also may immediately humanely destroy an impounded
animal afflicted with a serious contagious disease unless the owner
or his or her agent immediately authorizes treatment of the animal by
a veterinarian at the expense of the owner or agent.
   (j) No animal properly seized under this section or pursuant to a
search warrant shall be returned to its owner until, in the
determination of the seizing agency or hearing officer, the animal is
physically fit  or   and  the owner can
demonstrate to  the satisfaction of  the seizing 
agency's   agency  or hearing  officer's
satisfaction   officer  that the owner can and will
provide the necessary care  and   does not present a
danger to the animal  . 
   (k) (1) Prior to the final disposition of any criminal charges,
the seizing agency or prosecuting attorney may file a petition in a
criminal action requesting that, prior to that final disposition, the
court issue an order forfeiting the animal to the city, county, or
seizing agency. The petitioner shall serve a true copy of the
petition upon the defendant and the prosecuting attorney.  
   (2) Upon receipt of the petition, the court shall set a hearing on
the petition. The hearing shall be conducted within 14 days after
the filing of the petition, or as soon as practicable.  
   (3) The petitioner shall have the burden of establishing by a
preponderance of the evidence that even in the event of an acquittal
of the criminal charges either: (A) the owner cannot or will not
provide the necessary care for the animal in question or (B) the
owner will not legally be permitted to retain the animal in question.
If the court finds that the petitioner has met its burden by
establishing either of the above, the court shall order the immediate
forfeiture of the animal as sought by the petition.  
   (k) 
    (l)  (1) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a
violation of this section, or Section 597 or 597a, all animals
lawfully seized and impounded with respect to the violation shall be
adjudged by the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be
transferred to the impounding officer or appropriate public entity
for proper adoption or other disposition. A person convicted of a
violation of this section shall be personally liable to the seizing
agency for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the
time of proper disposition. Upon conviction, the court shall order
the convicted person to make payment to the appropriate public entity
for the costs incurred in the housing, care, feeding, and treatment
of the seized or impounded animals. Each person convicted in
connection with a particular animal may be held jointly and severally
liable for restitution for that particular animal. The payment shall
be in addition to any other fine or sentence ordered by the court.
   (2) The court may also order, as a condition of probation, that
the convicted person be prohibited from owning, possessing, caring
for, or residing with, animals of any kind  ,  and require
the convicted person to immediately deliver all animals in his or her
possession to a designated public entity for adoption or other
lawful disposition or provide proof to the court that the person no
longer has possession, care, or control of any animals. In the event
of the acquittal or final discharge without conviction of the
 arrested  person  ,   charged,
if the animal is still impounded, the animal has not been previously
deemed abandoned pursuant to subdivision (h), and the court has not
ordered that the animal be forfeited pursuant to subdivision (k),
 the court shall, on demand, direct the release of seized or
impounded animals  to the defendant  upon a showing of proof
of ownership.
   (3) Any questions regarding ownership shall be determined in a
separate hearing by the court where the criminal case was finally
adjudicated and the court shall hear testimony from any persons who
may assist the court in determining ownership of the animal. If the
owner is determined to be unknown or the owner is prohibited or
unable to retain possession of the animals for any reason, the court
shall order the animals to be released to the appropriate public
entity for adoption or other lawful disposition. This section is not
intended to cause the release of any animal, bird, reptile,
amphibian, or fish seized or impounded pursuant to any other statute,
ordinance, or municipal regulation. This section shall not prohibit
the seizure or impoundment of animals as evidence as provided for
under any other provision of law. 
   (l) 
    (m)  It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane
society officers, and animal control officers to use all currently
acceptable methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise,
to determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded
animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to
notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and
any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and,
upon the owner's and caretaker's initiation of recovery procedures,
retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow
for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact
the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to
be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be
made available for public inspection.
  SEC. 2.  Section 597.9 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
   597.9.  (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) or (d), any
person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of
subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 597, or Section 597a, 597b, 597h,
597j, 597s, or 597.1, and who, within five years after the
conviction, owns, possesses, maintains, has custody of, resides with,
or cares for any animal is guilty of a public offense, punishable by
a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
   (b) Except as provided in subdivision (c) or (d), any person who
has been convicted of a felony violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of
Section 597, or Section 597b or 597.5, and who, within 10 years
after the conviction, owns, possesses, maintains, has custody of,
resides with, or cares for any animal is guilty of a public offense,
punishable by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
   (c) (1) In cases of owners of livestock, as defined in Section
14205 of the Food and Agricultural Code, a court may, in the interest
of justice, exempt a defendant from the injunction required under
subdivision (a) or (b), as it would apply to livestock, if the
defendant files a petition with the court to establish  , and
does establish by a preponderance of the evidence,  that the
imposition of the provisions of this section would result in
substantial or undue economic hardship to the defendant's livelihood
and that the defendant has the ability to properly care for all
livestock in his or her possession.
   (2) Upon receipt of a petition from the defendant, the court shall
set a hearing to be conducted within 30 days after the filing of the
petition. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition upon the
prosecuting attorney 10 calendar days prior to the requested
hearing. The court shall grant the petition for exemption from
subdivision (a) or (b) unless the prosecuting attorney shows by a
preponderance of the evidence that either or both of the criteria for
exemption under this subdivision are untrue.
   (d) (1) A defendant may petition the court to reduce the duration
of the mandatory ownership prohibition. Upon receipt of a petition
from the defendant, the court shall set a hearing to be conducted
within 30 days after the filing of the petition. The petitioner shall
serve a copy of the petition upon the prosecuting attorney 10
calendar days prior to the requested hearing. At the hearing, the
petitioner shall have the burden of establishing  probable
cause to believe   by a preponderance of the evidence
 all of the following:
   (A) He or she does not present a danger to animals.
   (B) He or she has the ability to properly care for all animals in
his or her possession.
   (C) He or she has successfully completed all classes or counseling
ordered by the court.
   (2) If the petitioner has met his or her burden, the court may
reduce the mandatory ownership prohibition and may order that the
defendant comply with reasonable and unannounced inspections by
animal control agencies or law enforcement.
  SEC. 3.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a
local agency or school district has the authority to levy service
charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or
level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section
17556 of the Government Code.