BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                            Senator Kevin de León, Chair


          AB 2264 (Levine) - Victim compensation: guide, signal, and  
          service dogs.
          
          Amended: August 4, 2014         Policy Vote: Public Safety 7-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: No
          Hearing Date: August 4, 2014                            
          Consultant: Jolie Onodera       
          
          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.


          Bill Summary: AB 2264 would expand eligibility for reimbursement  
          under the Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) to cover costs  
          associated with the injury or death of a guide, signal, or  
          service dog as a result of a crime, as specified. 

          Fiscal Impact: 
              Potential minor increase in claims reimbursement likely  
              less than $50,000 (Special Fund*) annually paid to victims  
              to cover costs for veterinary services, replacement costs,  
              and other reasonable expenses as ordered by the court.  
              Assuming reimbursement for two victims at the maximum  
              reimbursement amount of $10,000 would result in additional  
              costs of $20,000. Arrest and conviction data from the  
              Department of Justice (DOJ) for the past three years  
              indicate only one or two arrests (and no convictions) per  
              year for the specified crimes potentially eligible for  
              compensation.  
              Minor ongoing costs (Special Fund*) the VCGCB to process  
              additional claims for compensation.

          *Restitution Fund

          Background: Existing law provides that it is an infraction  
          punishable by a fine of up to $250 for any person to permit any  
          dog owned, harbored, or controlled by him or her to cause injury  
          to, or the death of, any guide, signal, or service dog, and the  
          injury or death to the dog was caused by the person's failure to  
          exercise ordinary care in the control of his or her dog.

          Under existing law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one  








          AB 2264 (Levine)
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          year in county jail and/or a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000  
          if the injury or death to any guide, signal, or service dog was  
          caused by a person's reckless disregard in the exercise of  
          control over his or her dog, as specified. Additionally, a  
          person convicted of causing injury or death of any guide,  
          signal, or service dog may also be ordered to make restitution  
          to the person who had ownership or custody of the dog, and may  
          be liable for any veterinary bills and replacement costs, or  
          other reasonable costs deemed appropriate by the court. (PC §  
          600.2.)

          Under existing law, any person who intentionally causes injury  
          to, or death of any guide, signal, or service dog, as defined,  
          while the dog is in the discharge of its duties is guilty of a  
          misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year in  
          county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. (PC § 600.5(a).)

          Proposed Law: This bill provides that when a person causes  
          injury to, or the death of, any guide, signal, or service dog  
          through the failure or reckless disregard to exercise control  
          over his or her dog or through his or her intentional actions,  
          the person whose dog was injured or died may apply for  
          compensation by the Victim Compensation and Government Claims  
          Board. This bill would extend eligibility criteria for  
          reimbursement from the CalVCP to include the expenses of  
          veterinary services, replacement costs, or other reasonable  
          expenses, as ordered by the court, in an amount not to exceed  
          $10,000. 

          Related Legislation: AB 1801 (Pavley) Chapter 322/2004 increased  
          the penalties and fines for interfering with  a guide, signal,  
          or service dog, as specified, and for causing or permitting any  
          other dog to cause injury to, or the death of, any guide,  
          signal, or service dog, as defined.

          Staff Comments: By expanding the crimes for which eligibility  
          for compensation from the CalVCP is authorized, this bill could  
          result in additional claim payments from the Restitution Fund.  
          Based on arrest and conviction data from the DOJ for the past  
          three years (2011 through 2013), there have been only four  
          arrests and no convictions for alleged violations of the  
          specified Penal Code provisions related to the injury or death  
          of a guide, signal, or service dog due to reckless disregard.









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          As a result, it is estimated the number of claimants for  
          compensation under the provisions of this bill will be few,  
          resulting in a very small number of potential claims eligible  
          for reimbursement of less than $50,000 (Special Fund*) annually  
          paid to cover the costs for veterinary services, replacement  
          costs, and other reasonable expenses as ordered by the court.  
          Assuming reimbursement for two claimants at the maximum  
          compensation amount of $10,000 would result in additional costs  
          of $20,000. While reasonable expenses could potentially include  
          the cost of training the dog, which it has been estimated could  
          be in the range of $50,000, the $10,000 cap on expenses would  
          preclude the reimbursement for the full value of these costs.

          The VCGCB would incur minor and absorbable ongoing costs to  
          process the additional claims for compensation.