BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1965
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          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2014

                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
                                 Richard Pan, Chair
                 AB 1965 (Yamada) - As Introduced:  February 19, 2014
           
          SUBJECT  :  Outdoor dining facilities: pet dogs.

           SUMMARY  :  Allows food facilities to permit a person to bring a  
          pet dog to outdoor dining areas, but allows cities and counties  
          to pass a local ordinance to prohibit pet dogs in food  
          facilities' outdoor dining areas.

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Prohibits live animals in food facilities, except provides  
            that live animals may be allowed, if  contamination cannot  
            result, in the following circumstances:

             a)   Fish in aquariums and shellfish on ice, under  
               refrigeration, or in display tank systems;

             b)   Animals intended for consumption, provided that specific  
               storage, handling, and slaughter requirements are met;

             c)   Dogs under the control of a law enforcement officer or  
               private patrol employees, as specified;

             d)   Service animals that are controlled by a disabled  
               employee or person in areas that are not used for food  
               preparation, if a health or safety hazard will not result;

             e)   Pets in the common dining areas of restricted food  
               service facilities (bed and breakfast inns or agricultural  
               homestays) at times other than during meals, provided  
               specified conditions are met;

             f)   In non-food areas, as specified, of a facility that  
               contains caged animals, such as in a variety store that  
               sells pets or a tourist park that displays animals;

             g)   If the animal is kept at least 20 feet away from any  
               mobile food facility, temporary food facility, or certified  
               farmers' market.









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          2)Makes law enforcement officers, private patrol operators, and  
            disabled people who bring dogs into a food facility liable for  
            any damage done to the premises by the dog.

          3)Defines "food facility" to mean an operation that stores,  
            prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food  
            for human consumption at the retail level.  Includes, within  
            the definition of food facility, any place used in conjunction  
            with a facility's operations, including, but not limited to,  
            storage facilities for food-related utensils, equipment, and  
            materials.

          4)Under the California Retail Food Code (CRFC), states the  
            intent of the Legislature to occupy the whole field of health  
            and sanitation standards for retail food facilities, and makes  
            standards set forth in CRFC exclusive of all local health and  
            sanitation standards relating to retail food facilities, with  
            exceptions in 5) below.  Finds and declares that the public  
            health interest requires that there be uniform statewide  
            health and sanitation standards for retail food facilities to  
            assure the people of this state that the food will be pure,  
            safe, and unadulterated.

          5)Provides an exception to 4) above for local governing bodies  
            that:  a) adopt food facility evaluation or grading systems;  
            b) prohibit any type of food facility; c) adopt an employee  
            health certification program; d) regulate the provision of  
            consumer toilet and handwashing facilities; or e) adopt  
            specified requirements related to food trucks.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :

           1)PURPOSE OF THIS BILL  .  According to the author of this bill, a  
            number of counties, including Los Angeles and Santa Barbara,  
            have policies and guidelines for restaurants that allow dogs  
            in outdoor dining areas.  However, the author notes that state  
            law currently prohibits the presence of dogs in food  
            facilities, thus preempting any county policy on pet dogs on  
            patios.  The author writes that, while local health officials  
            can choose to selectively enforce this prohibition, business  
            owners and local health departments may be subject to  
            litigation for failure to comply with or enforce state law.   
            Moreover, the author states there is currently confusion over  








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            current law on pet dogs on patios, with a number of counties  
            erroneously indicating that the law does not apply to outdoor  
            dining areas as they believe these areas do not qualify as  
            part of the legal definition of a food facility.  

          The author writes that many dog owners have an interest in  
            dining with their dogs, many restaurant owners want to  
            accommodate these potential customers, and many local  
            governments want to assist these groups by creating carefully  
            considered guidelines to accommodate them.  This bill is  
            intended to give restaurants the choice to serve these  
            customers while preserving the authority of local governments  
            to determine what policy best serves their community.

           2)BACKGROUND  .

             a)   Local environmental health enforcement.  In 2012, in  
               response to the advocacy of dog and restaurant owners, the  
               Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH)  
               implemented a new policy permitting pet dogs in outdoor  
               dining areas, provided certain conditions are met,  
               including the following:  i) a separate entrance to the  
               patio; ii) no food preparation or utensil storage on the  
               patio; iii) no employee-pet contact; and iv) immediate  
               cleaning and sanitization of areas where excrement or  
               bodily fluids are deposited.  In an advisory bulletin, Los  
               Angeles DPH acknowledges that the CRFC continues to  
               prohibit live animals inside food facilities, but also  
               notes that local jurisdictions have varying interpretations  
               of the law.  Indeed, a Ventura County Fact Sheet on animals  
               in food facilities writes that the prohibition on animals  
               "does not apply to outdoor dining areas such as patio  
               dining," and a number of other county environmental health  
               departments, including Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa  
               Barbara, provide guidance indicating dogs may be allowed in  
               outdoor dining areas or that such areas are not considered  
               part of the food facility.

             b)   Transmission of disease from dogs to humans.  According  
               to a 2011 report by the National Association of State  
               Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) and endorsed by the  
               federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals  
               in public settings pose various risks for humans, the  
               greatest of which is infection with enteric (gut) bacteria  
               and parasites.  The report, which covers a broad array of  








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               public settings and types of animals, notes that enteric  
               disease outbreaks among visitors to fairs, farms, petting  
               zoos, and other public settings are well documented.   
               Outbreaks are caused by various Escherichia coli strains,  
               Salmonella enterica, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and  
               other pathogens.  The primary mode of transmission for  
               enteric pathogens is fecal-oral.  Because animal fur, hair,  
               skin, and saliva harbor fecal organisms, transmission can  
               occur when persons pet, touch, feed, or are licked by  
               animals.  Transmission also has been associated with  
               contaminated animal bedding, flooring, barriers, other  
               environmental surfaces, and contaminated clothing and  
               shoes.  The report notes that cattle, sheep, or goats are  
               often the sources for infection, but other animals,  
               including live poultry, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and  
               other domestic and wild animals also are potential sources.  
                Dogs in particular can carry and transmit Salmonella,  
               Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter, pathogens which, in  
               humans, usually result in a mild to severe infection of the  
               gastrointestinal system, including diarrhea, fever,  
               abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting, but sometimes lead  
               to more serious complications.

             The NASPHV report recommends that venues should be divided  
               into three types of areas: nonanimal areas (where animals  
               are not permitted, with the exception of service animals),  
               transition areas (located at entrances and exits to animal  
               areas), and animal areas (where animal contact is possible  
               or encouraged).  The report recommends that no animals,  
               except service animals, be permitted in nonanimal areas,  
               and that food and beverages be prepared, served, and  
               consumed only in nonanimal areas.

             c)   Australian risk assessment.  Food Standards Australia  
               New Zealand, an Australian governmental entity that  
               develops standards that regulate food in Australia and New  
               Zealand, conducted an assessment of the risk posed by  
               allowing pet dogs in outdoor dining areas.  The study  
               concluded that the potential risk of foodborne transmission  
               of disease agents from dogs in outdoor dining settings to  
               humans is very low to negligible.  The reasons given for  
               this conclusion are:  i) the likelihood of direct contact  
               of food or food preparation areas with infected dogs or  
               feces is negligible; ii) acquiring diseases through  
               indirect foodborne transmission routes requires the  








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               involvement of an intermediate vector; iii) potential  
               contamination of food directly from dogs, or indirectly  
               through contaminated intermediate vectors, in outdoor  
               dining settings is managed through compliance with general  
               food safety standards; iv) studies on human-dog  
               interactions indicate that, in general, contact between  
               people and dogs that are not their own pets is limited,  
               minimizing the potential for contact and consequently the  
               transmission of pathogens from dogs in outdoor dining  
               settings to humans.  

           3)SUPPORT  .  The sponsor of this bill, Social Compassion in  
            Legislation, writes that this bill will support business  
            owners that choose to allow dogs on their patios and will  
            encourage more businesses to do the same.  The sponsor writes  
            this bill will allow local jurisdictions to set their own  
            policy on this issue.  In support, the California Restaurant  
            Association writes that rules established by local  
            environmental health departments like Los Angeles are  
            technically in conflict with California law, which prohibits  
            non-service animals in eating establishments, and that this  
            bill will allow a restaurant owner to determine what best  
            suits their business model as well as their customers without  
            the threat of a citation.

           4)PREVIOUS LEGISLATION .

             a)   AB 1252 (Committee on Health), Chapter 556, Statutes of  
               2013, made numerous changes to the CRFC, including  
               clarifying that a service animal in training qualifies as a  
               service animal for purposes of the CRFC and deleting a  
               requirement that the work or tasks performed by a service  
               animal be directly related to an individual's disability.

             b)   SB 144 (George Runner), Chapter 23, Statutes of 2006,  
               repeals and reenacts the California Uniform Retail Food  
               Facilities Law as the CRFC.

           5)DOUBLE REFERRAL  .  This bill is double referred and upon  
            passage of this Committee, it will be referred to the Assembly  
            Local Government Committee.

           6)POLICY COMMENT  .  Los Angeles County, in its policy allowing  
            pet dogs on food facility patios, implemented a number of  
            conditions to protect health and safety of consumers in those  








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            facilities.  In contrast, this bill allows food facilities  
            statewide to allow pet dogs on patios but does not create any  
            health and safety protections for consumers in these  
            facilities.  Therefore, the Committee may wish to amend this  
            bill to create a set of baseline health and safety  
            requirements for restaurants that choose to allow pet dogs on  
            their patios.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :  

           Support 
           
          Social Compassion in Legislation (sponsor)
          California Restaurant Association

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ben Russell / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097