BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   April 21, 2015


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 316  
          (Maienschein) - As Amended March 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Veterinarians.


          SUMMARY:  Permits a veterinarian licensed in another state to be  
          called to California by law enforcement, animal control, or a  
          humane officer, to attend to cases of animal cruelty or animal  
          fighting as requested, and permits the establishment of  
          temporary shelters for the purpose of assisting in the  
          investigation.  


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Establishes the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) within the  
            Department of Consumer Affairs for the purpose of  
            administering the Veterinary Practice Act (Act).  (Business  
            and Professions Code (BPC) Section 4800 et seq.) 


          2)States that it is unlawful for any person to practice  
            veterinary medicine in California without a valid, unexpired  
            or unrevoked license, as specified.  (BPC Section 4825)


          3)Specifies that the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery or  








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            dentistry occurs when an individual does any of the following:  
             (BPC Section 4826)


             a)   Represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice  
               of veterinary medicine, surgery or dentistry;


             b)   Diagnoses or prescribes a drug, medicine, appliance,  
               application or treatment for the prevention, cure, or  
               relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease of  
               animals;


             c)   Administers a drug, medicine or treatment, as specified;


             d)   Performs a surgical or dental operation upon an animal; 


             e)   Performs any manual procedure for the diagnosis of  
               pregnancy; sterility or infertility upon livestock or  
               Equidae; or,


             f)   Uses any words, letters or titles circumstances as to  
               induce the belief that the person using them is engaged in  
               the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery or dentistry.   



          4)Requires all veterinarians, actually engaged and employed by  
            the state, or a county, city, corporation, firm or individual  
            practicing veterinary medicine, to secure a license issued by  
            the VMB.  (BPC Section 4828)


          5)Exempts the following from the provisions of the Act:  (BPC  
            Section 4830)








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             a)   Veterinarians while serving in any armed branch of the  
               military service of the United States or the U.S.  
               Department of Agriculture (USDA) while actually engaged and  
               employed in their official capacity;


             b)   Regularly licensed veterinarians in actual consultation  
               from other states;


             c)   Regularly licensed veterinarians actually called from  
               other states to attend cases in this state, but do not open  
               an office or appoint a place to do business;


             d)   Veterinarians employed by the University of California,  
               as specified;


             e)   Students in the school of veterinary medicine of the  
               University of California or the College of Western  
               University of Health Sciences, as specified;


             f)   A veterinarian who is employed by the Meat and Poultry  
               Inspection Branch of the California Department of Food and  
               Agriculture (CDFA) while actually engaged and employed in  
               his or her official capacity; or,


             g)   Unlicensed personnel employed by the CDFA or the USDA,  
               as specified.


          THIS BILL:










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          1)Exempts, from licensure requirements, a regularly licensed  
            veterinarian who is called from another state by a law  
            enforcement agency, animal control department, as specified,  
            or a humane officer to attend to cases that are a part of an  
            investigation of an alleged violation of federal or state  
            animal fighting or animal cruelty laws within a single  
            geographic location when the law enforcement agency, animal  
            control department, or humane officer determines that it is  
            necessary to call the veterinarian in order for the agency or  
            officer to conduct the investigation in a timely manner.


          2)Provides that when determining whether it is necessary to call  
            a veterinarian from another state, consideration must be given  
            to the availability of veterinarians in California to attend  
            to these cases.


          3)Requires the agency, department or officer that calls a  
            veterinarian to this state to notify the VMB.  


          4)Permits a regularly licensed veterinarian who is called from  
            another state to attend to cases that are a part of  
            investigation, described in 1) above, to provide veterinary  
            medical care for animals that are affected by the  
            investigation within a temporary shelter facility, as  
            specified.


          5)Exempts a temporary shelter or facility from premise  
            requirements if all of the following conditions are met:


             a)   The temporary shelter facility is established solely for  
               the purpose of investigation;


             b)   The temporary shelter facility provides veterinary  








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               medical care, shelter, food and water only to animals that  
               are affected by the investigation;


             c)   The temporary shelter complies with specified sanitary  
               requirements;


             d)   A notice is posted in a conspicuous location near the  
               temporary shelter facility to indicate that the facility is  
               in use for the veterinary medical care of animals affected  
               by an investigation into alleged violations of federal or  
               state laws; and, 


             e)   The temporary shelter exists for not more than 60 days,  
               unless the law enforcement agency, animal control agency,  
               or humane officer determines a longer period of time is  
               necessary to complete the investigation.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill is keyed fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.   


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the American Society for the  
            Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).  According to the  
            author, "Large scale animal cruelty cases like animal fighting  
            busts, hoarding arrests and puppy mill raids can quickly overwhelm  
            a local government's resources.  These cases are hard to predict  
            and can occur in a diverse range of locations, making planning and  
            budgeting very difficult.  The average cruelty case lasts about  
            45-50 days and consists of an average of 461 animals at a cost of  
            $28 per animal per day.  At 45 days, the average cost of caring  
            for these animals is nearly $600,000."  









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            "Additionally, these cases can also overwhelm the local veterinary  
            resources. Local veterinarians play a key role in assisting with  
            the care of seized animals, but local veterinarians typically have  
            paying jobs or practices that they must return to.  This limits  
            the amount of time they can commit to cases like these.  The  
            combination of huge costs of care for seized animals and the  
            potential to deplete local veterinary resources can be a huge  
            deterrent for agencies wishing to investigate a case of large  
            scale animal cruelty in their community."


          2)Background.  Under current law, there are a limited number of  
            persons who are exempt from California's veterinary licensure  
            requirements when practicing veterinary services in  
            California.  Exempt individuals include persons such as  
            veterinarians providing services in the military, licensed  
            veterinarians who have been called in from out of state to  
            assist with certain cases, veterinarians or persons employed  
            at the University of California for teaching purposes or other  
            education research and persons employed by federal and state  
            agencies such as the USDA and the CDFA.  Without one of these  
            specific exemptions, any other person practicing veterinary  
            medicine in California is required to have a California-issued  
            veterinary license.  


            This bill seeks to add veterinarians licensed in another state  
            who are called to California to assist in the event of a  
            large-scale animal cruelty or animal fighting case to be  
            exempt from California's licensure requirement.  Only law  
            enforcement, an animal control department or a humane officer  
            would be permitted to call a veterinarian into California for  
            these purposes.  In addition, this bill would permit the  
            veterinarian licensed outside of California to treat animals  
            in a temporary shelter, as long as the shelter has only been  
            established as a part of the investigation and abides by  
            specific requirements.  










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            Consultants from Out-of-State.  The exemption under BPC  
            Section 4830(a)(3) governing out-of-state veterinarians acting  
            as consultants in California was designed to provide  
            California-licensed veterinarians with the flexibility to  
            utilize the experience of an out-of-state veterinarian with a  
            particular skill.  According to the VMB, the intent of the  
            authorization to allow veterinarians from outside of  
            California was to enhance the practice of veterinary medicine  
            while limiting unlicensed practice.  Veterinarians who are  
            called into California are not permitted to establish a  
            practice in state or practice on animals outside of the  
            consultation request without obtaining the appropriate license  
            to practice in California.  This bill would specifically  
            exempt from California licensure requirements veterinarians  
            called in by a law enforcement agency, an animal control  
            department, or a humane officer in the event of a large-scale  
            animal cruelty or animal fighting case.  However, this bill  
            would require those entities to consider the availability of a  
            local veterinarian when determining when outside assistance is  
            warranted.  In addition, if those entities called-in a  
            veterinarian from another state, they would be required to  
            notify the VMB.


            Animal Cruelty Cases.  Animal cruelty cases can take a variety  
            of shapes and forms, from small, one-animal incidents, such as  
            a recent case in Sacramento, where a man was accused of  
            burning an animal alive in an animal carrier, to large-scale  
            dog fighting raids or hoarding incidents that involve a large  
            number of animals.  The 2007 arrest and subsequent prosecution  
            of Michael Vick, for his role in a large-scale dog fighting  
            ring, highlighted issues of cruelty but also raised the issues  
            about the resources needed to care for and treat animals when  
            such events occur.  


            Animal fighting is currently illegal in all 50 states.   
            Specifically dogfighting is a felony offense in all 50 states,  
            and it is also a felony offense under federal law. Other cases  








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            of animal cruelty or animal hoarding occur closer to home.  In  
            February 2015, it was reported that 191 dogs were found  
            abandoned on a property in San Bernardino County.  Most  
            likely, the case required a significant amount of local  
            resources to care for animals and properly investigate the  
            situation.  In the San Bernardino case, the animals were taken  
            to a local shelter for care.  


            According to the sponsor, large-scale animal cruelty cases can  
            overwhelm the resources of the local authorities responding to  
            these cases.  The resource challenges are not strictly  
            monetary but also become resource challenges related to caring  
            for the large number of animals that most likely have health  
            concerns and other issues.  The sponsors note that local  
            veterinarians typically provide services in these types of  
            cases, but, at times, additional resources may be necessary.   
            According to the ASPCA, the average cruelty case lasts about  
            45-50 days and consists of an average of 461 animals at a cost  
            of caring for the animals close to $600,000.  The sponsor  
            notes that the large cost and potential lack of resources  
            could be a deterrent in prosecuting such cases.  


            According to the sponsor, animal welfare organizations like  
            the ASPCA, among others, have response teams in place,  
            including veterinarians, to assist local agencies in cruelty  
            cases or emergency disaster situations in other states, but  
            often, the veterinarians are only licensed in their home  
            state.  This bill would provide a specific exemption to allow  
            those veterinarians to be called to California in the event of  
            a large-scale cruelty case to practice in California without a  
            California-issued license. 


            According to the Humane Society of the United States, because  
            there is no national reporting requirement for animal abuse,  
            there is no way to track the number of animal cruelty cases  
            that are filed or that make it to court each year.  Although  








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            the total number of cruelty cases is difficult to assess, in  
            2013-2014, there were more than 13 seizure cases that the  
            sponsor of this bill was involved in assisting with across the  
            nation.  


            Calling in Veterinarians.  In the event of an animal cruelty  
            or abuse case, the entities responsible for handling these  
            cases are local law enforcement, animal control directors and  
            other local resources.  These entities typically work together  
            to determine the appropriate steps and process for dealing  
            with animal cruelty or abuse cases.  This bill proposes that  
            only law enforcement, a humane officer or an animal control  
            department would be permitted to call in veterinary assistance  
            from out of state to assist with a cruelty or animal fighting  
            case investigation.  


            Temporary Shelters.  Under current law, BPC Section 4853  
            requires all premises where veterinary medicine is being  
            practiced to obtain a premises permit from the VMB.  There are  
            currently over 3,000 licensed premises in California.  In  
            order to obtain the premises permit, applicants must submit an  
            application which needs to include the type of practice, the  
            number of employees, the business model, and business owner  
            information, along with a $200 registration fee.  The VMB  
            reports that the application process for a premises permit  
            takes between three and four weeks.  This bill will exempt  
            temporary animal care shelter facilities from premises  
            requirements as long as the shelter provides veterinary  
            medical care, shelter, food and water only to the animals  
            affected by the investigation, the temporary shelter complies  
            with sanitary requirements, a notice is posted about the  
            purpose and use of the shelter and the temporary shelter does  
            not exist for longer than 60 days unless law enforcement,  
            animal control or a humane officer determines a longer period  
            is necessary.  










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            The sponsor notes that animal cruelty cases such as animal  
            abandonment issues or puppy mill raids can happen rather  
            quickly which makes planning and budgeting difficult.  This  
            bill aims to assist local authorities with options for  
            veterinary care and assistance in the event of a large-scale  
            animal cruelty or animal fighting case by allowing law  
            enforcement, a humane officer or an animal control department  
            to call a veterinarian licensed in another state for  
            assistance with veterinary animal care as part of an  
            investigation.  


          3)Current Related Legislation.  AB 317 (Maienschein) of the  
            current legislative session, exempts an organization that  
            establishes a temporary shelter facility for the purpose of  
            providing veterinary medical care, shelter and food and water  
            during a state emergency by a veterinarian licensed in another  
            state, from a premise registration permit if certain  
            conditions are met including: providing notice about the use  
            of the temporary shelter; complying with sanitary standards  
            and ceasing operation within 60 days of establishment.   
            STATUS:  This bill is pending in the Assembly Committee on  
            Business and Professions.


          4)Prior Related Legislation.  AB 2915 (Saldana), Chapter 823,  
            Statutes of 2006, exempted from state veterinary licensure  
            requirements veterinarians employed by a local government that  
            met specified conditions, and provided that the exemption  
            sunset on January 1, 2011.


            SB 1263 (Soto), Chapter 131, Statutes of 2002, exempted  
            faculty and students of the College of Veterinary Medicine at  
            Western University of Health Sciences from the laws regulating  
            the practice of veterinary medicine, and exempt veterinary  
            medical students at the College of Veterinary Medicine at  
            Western University of Health Science from having to take the  
            VMB's law and regulations examination if the student completes  








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            certain coursework.


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:


          The sponsor, the  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty  
          to Animals  writes in support, "[This bill] authorizes law  
          enforcement agencies, animal control agencies and SPCA's who  
          request veterinarians licensed in another state to assist them  
          with animal cruelty cases under the existing exemption in [BPC  
          Section 4830(a)(3)] to establish a temporary facility to house  
          animals rescued as a result of the case.  Large scale animal  
          cruelty cases like animal fighting busts, hoarding arrests, and  
          puppy mill raids can quickly overwhelm a local government's  
          resources.  These care are hard to predict and can occur in a  
          diverse range of location, making planning and budgeting very  
          difficult."  


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:


          None on file. 


          POLICY ISSUES:


          As currently drafted, this bill requires the agency responsible  
          for calling a veterinarian to California, for the purpose of  
          assisting with a large-scale cruelty or abuse case, to report to  
          the VMB that they have called in a veterinarian from another  
          state to assist with veterinary care or services as a result of  
          the investigation.  In the event of such a case, local resources  
          may be so consumed with the case they are unable to report the  
          event to the VMB.  The author may wish to require the  
          organization or veterinarian that has been called to California  
          to also notify the VMB to ensure that the information is relayed  








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          to the appropriate regulatory authority.  


          AMENDMENTS: 


          In order to make it clear that the veterinarian practicing from  
          another state has an active license which has not been  
          disciplined, the author should include the requirement that the  
          veterinary license be in good standing and not be subject to  
          disciplinary actions in another state. 


          On page 3, line 25, after "veterinarian" insert:   in good  
          standing


           On page 4, line 4, after "veterinarian" insert:  in good standing  


          REGISTERED SUPPORT:





          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
          (sponsor)


          Contra Costa Humane Society


          RedRover


          Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation










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          REGISTERED OPPOSITION:


          None on file. 




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