BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1810
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   March 25, 2014

              ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS AND CONSUMER  
                                     PROTECTION
                               Susan A. Bonilla, Chair
              AB 1810 (Maienschein) - As Introduced:  February 18, 2014
           
          SUBJECT  :   Deposits for keeping: abandoned animals. 

           SUMMARY  :   Permits a veterinarian or animal care facility to  
          turn over an abandoned animal to a public animal control agency  
          or shelter rather than euthanize it, as long as the shelter has  
          not refused to take the animal, and deletes the requirement that  
          an abandoned animal be euthanized 10 days after abandonment.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Makes permissive, rather than mandatory, that an abandoned  
            animal be euthanized after the person into whose custody the  
            animal was placed looks for a new owner for 10 days, as  
            specified.  

          2)Makes permissive, rather than mandatory, that a veterinarian  
            euthanize an animal abandoned with a veterinarian, or a  
            facility that has a veterinarian, and a new owner cannot be  
            found, as specified.

          3)Permits an abandoned animal to be turned over to a public  
            animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention  
            of cruelty to animals shelter, or humane society shelter,  
            provided that the shelter has been contacted and has not  
            refused to take the animal.

          4)Makes other technical and clarifying amendments. 

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Requires a depositary of living animals to provide the animals  
            with necessary and prompt veterinary care, nutrition, shelter  
            and to treat them kindly, under penalty of civil damages, as  
            specified.  (Civil Code (CC) Section 1834)

          2)States the policy of California that no adoptable animal  
            should be euthanized if it can be adopted into a suitable home  
            and no treatable animal should be euthanized.  (CC 1834.4)









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          3)Deems an animal "abandoned" if an animal is delivered to any  
            veterinarian, dog kennel, cat kennel, pet-grooming parlor,  
            animal hospital, or any other animal care facility pursuant to  
            a written or oral agreement and the owner does not pick up the  
            animal within 14 calendar days after the day the animal was  
            due to be picked up.  (CC 1834.5)

          4)Requires the person into whose care the animal was placed to  
            first try for a period of not less than 10 days to find a new  
            owner for the animal, and, if unable to place the animal with  
            a new owner, humanely destroy the animal.  (CC 1834.5) 

          5)Requires a veterinarian to humanely destroy an abandoned  
            animal, if the abandoned animal was left with a veterinarian  
            or with a facility which has a veterinarian, and a new owner  
            cannot be found.  (CC 1834.5)


          6)Specifies that an abandoned animal, as specified, cannot be  
            used for scientific or any other kind of experimentation and  
            may not be turned over to a pound or animal or regulation  
            department of a public agency. (CC 1834.6)

          7)Provides that every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled  
            animal, except a dog or cat, that is abandoned may be "killed"  
            by the peace officer, humane society officer, or animal  
            control officer if, after a reasonable search, no owner of the  
            animal can be found, and provides for other circumstances  
            under which a dog or cat may be "killed," or "destroyed" or  
            "disposed of."  (Penal Code (PC) Section 597.1, 597(f))

           FISCAL EFFECT :   None.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of the bill  .  This bill modifies current law to give  
            veterinarians and specified animal care facilities such as  
            kennels, pet groomers or animal hospitals the discretion to  
            decide whether or not to euthanize an abandoned animal after  
            it has been abandoned for at least 10 days, or to turn over  
            the abandoned animal to a public animal control agency,  
            shelter or designated humane association.  Current law appears  
            to require that veterinarians and animal care facilities  
            destroy abandoned animals after 10 days, and this bill is  








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            intended to relax that requirement.  This bill is sponsored by  
            the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
            (ASCPA).
           
          2)Author's statement  .  According to the author, "Existing law  
            declares an animal abandoned if it has been left at an animal  
            care facility 14 days after it was supposed to be picked up by  
            its owner.  Following those 14 days, the animal care facility  
            is obligated to spend 10 days looking for a new home for that  
            animal and if a new home cannot be found the animal must be  
            euthanized.  Existing law also prohibits the animal from being  
            given to animal control.  

          [This bill] authorizes animal care facilities to turn over an  
            abandoned animal to animal control, humane society or society  
            for the prevention of cruelty to animals, provided that the  
            shelter has been contacted and has not refused to take the  
            animal; and [this bill] repeals the requirement that an animal  
            care facility "shall" euthanize an abandoned animal after 24  
            days, granting facilities more flexibility to find a new home  
            beyond those initial 24 days while retaining their current  
            authority.  [This bill] does not change the timeline of 24  
            days before the facility can decide how to proceed with the  
            animal.  California has made great strides enacting laws aimed  
            at attaining more positive outcomes for abandoned animals [and  
            this bill] revises an outdated portion of the law to better  
            reflect our modern view of animal welfare."  

           3)Deposited animals  .  Under current law, if an animal is not  
            retrieved within 14 days after it was due to be picked up, the  
            animal is considered to be abandoned.  Once the animal is  
            determined to be abandoned, the service provider must keep the  
            animal for an additional 10 days while attempting to find the  
            original owner or a new owner.  If after the initial 14 days  
            and the additional 10 days (for a total of 24 days), the legal  
            owner has not retrieved the animal or the service provider has  
            been unable to locate a new home for the animal, current law  
            requires the service provider to "humanely destroy" the  
            abandoned animal.  

          Because veterinary clinics, pet groomers, boarding centers and  
            other animal care facilities are not required to report or  
            maintain data about abandoned animals it is unknown exactly  
            how many animals are abandoned and euthanized  annually.   
            Because each animal care facility may have its own procedures  








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            and protocols for treating abandoned animals, this bill will  
            clarify that animal care facilities need not euthanize  
            abandoned animals if they would prefer to wait or turn them  
            over to a shelter, if permitted.   

            According to the Humane Society of the United States, animal  
            shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the  
            United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are  
            euthanized.  At this time, there is no central data reporting  
            agency for animal shelters, so these numbers are estimates.   
            Further, because there is no central data or data reporting  
            requirements for shelters or animal care facilities, and  
            because shelters or other rescue facilities are not required  
            to maintain data about the number of surrendered, reclaimed or  
            euthanized animals it is difficult to know the total number of  
            animals that may have been turned over to an animal care  
            facility if they were abandoned at places such as  
            veterinarians, pet groomers or other animal care service  
            facilities.
             
          4)Arguments in support  .  The ASPCA writes in support, "[This  
            bill] will simply modernize existing law relating to animals  
            abandoned at animal care facilities - veterinary offices,  
            spay/neuter clinics, grooming facilities and so forth. Under  
            existing law, an animal is declared abandoned at an animal  
            care facility 14 days after when the owner was supposed to  
            pick up the animal. Current law obligates the facility to  
            spend 10 days trying to place the animal with a new owner.  
            After those 10 days, for a total of 24 days, existing law  
            mandates that the animal be euthanized. Additionally, current  
            law explicitly prohibits the animal care facility from turning  
            the animal over to a shelter."
             
          5)Previous legislation  .  AB 1279 (Fletcher) of 2011, would have  
            changed and deleted obsolete terminology dealing with the  
            seizure, impounding, rescue, adoption, and euthanasia of  
            abandoned and surrendered animals by animal shelters and  
            rescue organizations.  This bill was held at the Senate Desk.   
             
                 
            REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  








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          (sponsor)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Elissa Silva / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)  
          319-3301