BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                             SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
                          Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D., Chair

          BILL NO:       AB 1965
          AUTHOR:        Yamada
          AMENDED:       May 5, 2014
          HEARING DATE:  June 25, 2014
          CONSULTANT:    Norring

           SUBJECT  :  Outdoor dining facilities: pet dogs.
           
          SUMMARY  :  Permits pet dogs under control of a person to be in  
          outdoor dining areas at food facilities, under certain specified  
          conditions. Clarifies that local governing bodies may prohibit  
          the presence of pet dogs in outdoor dining areas. 

          Existing law:
          1.Establishes the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) to regulate  
            retail food safety, which is enforced by local environmental  
            health officers.

          2.Prohibits live animals from being allowed in a food facility. 

          3.Permits live animals to be allowed in certain specified  
            situations, where contamination of food, clean equipment,  
            utensils, linens, and unwrapped single-use articles cannot  
            result, including the following:

                  a.        Dogs under the control of a uniformed law  
                    enforcement officer;
                  b.        Service animals that are controlled by a  
                    disabled employee or person in areas not used for food  
                    preparation; and,
                  c.        If kept at least 20 feet away from any mobile  
                    food facility, temporary food facility, or certified  
                    farmers' market.

          4.Makes liable those persons and operators in 3a) and 3b) above  
            for any damages done to the premises or facilities by the dog.
          
          This bill:
          1.Clarifies that local governing bodies may prohibit the  
            presence of pet dogs in outdoor dining areas of food  
            facilities.

          2.Permits pet dogs under the control of a person to be in an  
                                                         Continued---



          AB 1965 | Page 2




            outdoor dining area, under the following conditions:

                  a.        The owner of the food facility elects to allow  
                    pet dogs in its outdoor dining area;
                  b.        There is a separate outdoor entrance where  
                    dogs enter without going through the food  
                    establishment and pet dogs are not allowed on chairs,  
                    benches, seats, or other fixtures;
                  c.        The outdoor dining area is not used for food  
                    or drink preparation, except that a food employee may  
                    refill a beverage glass in the outdoor dining area  
                    from a pitcher or other container;
                  d.        Food and water provided to the dog is only in  
                    single-use, disposable containers;
                  e.        Food employees are prohibited from direct  
                    contact with pet dogs while on duty and requires  
                    handwashing if employee does come in contact with pet  
                    dogs;
                  f.        The outdoor dining area is maintained clean  
                    and surfaces contaminated by dog excrement or other  
                    bodily fluids are cleaned and sanitized; and,
                  g.        The pet dog is on a leash or confined in a pet  
                    carrier and is under the control of the pet owner;  
                    and,
                  h.        The food facility owner ensures compliance  
                    with local ordinances, as specified.


           FISCAL EFFECT  :  This bill has been keyed non-fiscal.

           PRIOR VOTES  :  
          Assembly Health:         17- 1
          Assembly Local Government:  8- 0
          Assembly Floor:          71- 1
           
          COMMENTS  :  
           1.Author's statement.  According to the author, while the  
            outdoor areas of some restaurants are well-suited for  
            accommodating dog owners, state law still prohibits the  
            presence of most animals in food facilities and makes no  
            distinction based on their location in those facilities.   
            Under current statute, the legality of local ordinances or  
            guidelines allowing dogs in outdoor dining areas remains  
            dubious.  This bill allows willing businesses to serve  
            customers and accommodate their dogs while still ensuring  
            public health by creating basic standards for permitting these  




                                                            AB 1965 | Page  
          3


          

            pets in outdoor areas. Allowing restaurants the flexibility to  
            serve patrons with their canine companions will give dog  
            owners more dining options, allow restaurants to serve new  
            clientele, and let public health inspectors focus on more  
            dangerous public health risks.

          2.Local county guidelines.  In December 2011, in response to the  
            advocacy of dog and restaurant owners, the Los Angeles County  
            Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) implemented guidelines  
            for the allowance of pet dogs in outdoor dining areas. These  
            guidelines are similar to those outlined in this bill,  
            including the following: a separate entrance for the outdoor  
            dining area; no food/drink preparation or utensil storage on  
            the patio; no employee-pet contact; pets are not allowed on  
            chairs, seats, or benches; and, immediate cleaning and  
            sanitization of areas where excrement or bodily fluids are  
            deposited.  In an advisory bulletin, LAC 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.  Ventura County  
            Environmental Health Division released a fact sheet on animals  
            in food facilities stating that the prohibition on animals  
            "does not apply to outdoor dining areas" as long as animals do  
            not go through the facility. There have been a number of other  
            county environmental and public health departments, including  
            Pasadena, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara, that have issued  
            guidelines for allowing dogs in outdoor dining areas or that  
            outdoor areas are not considered part of the food facility. 

          3.Public health implications.  According to a 2013 study  
            published in the Journal of Environmental Health, entitled  
            Public Health Implications of Animals in Retail Food Outlets,  
            the overall public health risk is low as long as safety,  
            sanitation, and hygiene practices are stringently enforced.  
            However, this does not remove all risk. There is the potential  
            for serious illness, including asthma and allergic reactions.  
            According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America,  
            between 15 percent and 30 percent of Americans are allergic to  
            dogs and cats. Twenty percent of dog allergen particles appear  
            to remain airborne over extended time periods. While it is  
            understood that pets carry bacteria and parasites, the  
            relative risk associated with pet and human interaction has  
            yet to be definitively proven. Thus, the 2013 Journal on  
            Environmental Health article states that policies should focus  
            on prevention and be tailored towards training food employees  




          AB 1965 | Page 4




            on best hygiene practices associated with animals. 

          4.Prior legislation. AB 1252 (Committee on Health), Chapter 556,  
            Statutes of 2013, made numerous changes to the California  
            Retail Food Code, 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.

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

          5.Support.  Social Compassion in Legislation (SCL), the sponsor  
            of this bill, argues that many restaurants choose to allow  
            dogs on their patios already, although this remains illegal  
            due to outdated state laws. SCL further states that this state  
            law should be changed to support businesses and allow the  
            local jurisdictions to set their own policy on this issue. The  
            California Restaurant Association writes that a number of  
            county health departments have approved rules allowing each  
            restaurant to decide whether to allow dogs on their outdoor  
            patios.
          
           SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION  :
          Support:  Social Compassion in Legislation (sponsor)
                    Anything Canine
                    Cabrillo Kennel Club
                    California Restaurant Association
                    Jason Debus Heigl Foundation
                    League of California Cities
                    Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to  
                    Animals
                    Veggie Grill, Inc.

          Oppose:   None received.



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