BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 794


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015
          Counsel:               David Billingsley



                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                        794 (Linder) - As Amended  April 8, 2015




          SUMMARY:  Expands criminal acts against law enforcement animals  
          to include offenses against animals used by volunteers acting  
          under the direct supervision of a peace officer.  Specifically,  
          this bill:   

          1)Expands crimes against law enforcement animals to include acts  
            carried out against a horse or dog being used by, or under the  
            supervision of, a volunteer who is acting under the direct  
            supervision of a peace officer in the discharge or attempted  
            discharge of his or her assigned volunteer duties.

          2)Expands the restitution requirements for defendants convicted  
            of those acts to include a volunteer who is acting under the  
            direct supervision of a peace officer using their own horse or  
            dog.  In such a case, the defendant would be required to make  
            restitution to the volunteer, or the agency that provides, or  
            individual that provides, veterinary care for the horse or  
            dog.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Provides that any person who maliciously strikes, beats,  








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            kicks, stabs, shoots, or throws, hurls, or projects any rock  
            or object at any horse being used by a peace officer, or any  
            dog being supervised by a peace officer in the performance of  
            his or her duties is a public offense.  If the injury  
            inflicted is a serious injury, as specified, the person shall  
            be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of  
            Section 1170 for 16 months, two or three years, or in a county  
            jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding  
            two thousand dollars, or by both a fine and imprisonment.  If  
            the injury inflicted is not a serious injury, the person shall  
            be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not  
            exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand  
            dollars, or by both a fine and imprisonment. (Pen. Code,   
            600, subd. (a).)

          2)States that any person who willfully and maliciously  
            interferes with, or obstructs, any horse or dog being used by  
            a peace officer or any dog being supervised by a peace officer  
            in the performance of his or her duties by frightening,  
            teasing, agitating, harassing, or hindering the horse or dog  
            shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not  
            exceeding one year; by a fine not exceeding $1,000; or by  
            both. (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (b).)

          3)Provides that any person who, with the intent to inflict  
            serious injury or death, personally causes the death,  
            destruction, or serious physical injury of a horse or dog  
            being used by, or under the direction of, a peace officer  
            shall, shall, upon conviction of a felony under this section,  
            in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed for  
            the felony, be punished by an additional term of imprisonment  
            pursuant to subdivision 9h) of Section 1170 for one year.  
            (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (c).)

             
          4)Defines "serious injury" to include bone fracture, loss or  
            impairment of function of any bodily member, wounds requiring  
            extensive suturing, or serious crippling.  (Pen. Code,  600,  
            subd. (c).)

          5)Provides that any person with the intent to inflict that  
            injury, personally causes great bodily injury to a person not  








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            an accomplice, shall, upon conviction of a felony under this  
            section, in addition and consecutive, be punished by an  
            additional term of imprisonment in the state prison for two  
            years unless the conduct can be punished under Penal Code  
            section 12022.7 or it is an element of a separate offense for  
            which the person is convicted. .  (Pen. Code,  600, subd.  
            (d).)

          6)Requires the defendant to make restitution to the agency  
            owning the animal and employing the peace officer for any  
            veterinary bills, replacement costs of the animal if it is  
            disabled or killed, and the salary of the peace officer for  
            the period of time his or her services are lost to the agency.  
             (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (e).)

          7)Provides that when battery is committed against any person,  
            including a peace officer and serious bodily injury is  
            inflicted on the person, the battery is punishable by  
            imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years  
            or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.   
            (Pen. Code,  243, subd. (d).)

          8)Specifies the actions of a person who maliciously and  
            intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living  
            animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal as a  
            criminal offense. (Pen. Code,  597.)



          9)Specifies when a person overdrives, overloads, drives when  
            overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of  
            necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats,  
            mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures  
            any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when  
            overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of  
            necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten,  
            mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge  
            or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise,  
            subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts  
            unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses  
            any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food,  
            drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who  








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            drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for  
            labor as a criminal offense. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (b).)

            

          10)Specifies the actions of a person who maliciously and  
            intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird,  
            reptile, amphibian, or fish, as specified as a criminal  
            offense. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (c).)





          11)Requires punishment as a felony by imprisonment pursuant to  
            subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine of not more than  
            twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both that fine and  
            imprisonment, or alternatively, as a misdemeanor by  
            imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or  
            by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000),  
            or by both that fine and imprisonment for violations of Penal  
            Code section 597(animal cruelty). (Pen. Code,  597, subd.  
            (d).)



          12) Specifies that upon the conviction of a person charged with  
            a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of  
            cruelty, as specified, all animals lawfully seized and  
            impounded with respect to the violation by a peace officer,  
            officer of a humane society, or officer of a pound or animal  
            regulation department of a public agency shall be adjudged by  
            the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be awarded to  
            the impounding officer for proper disposition. A person  
            convicted of a violation of this section by causing or  
            permitting an act of cruelty, as specified, shall be liable to  
            the impounding officer for all costs of impoundment from the  
            time of seizure to the time of proper disposition. (Pen. Code,  
             597, subd. (g).)











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          13) Specifies that mandatory seizure or impoundment shall not  
            apply to animals in properly conducted scientific experiments  
            or investigations performed under the authority of the faculty  
            of a regularly incorporated medical college or university of  
            this state. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (g).)



          14)Requires that if a defendant is granted probation for a  
            conviction animal cruelty, the court shall order the defendant  
            to pay for, and successfully complete, counseling, as  
            determined by the court, designed to evaluate and treat  
            behavior or conduct disorders. If the court finds that the  
            defendant is financially unable to pay for that counseling,  
            the court may develop a sliding fee schedule based upon the  
            defendant's ability to pay. The counseling shall be in  
            addition to any other terms and conditions of probation,  
            including any term of imprisonment and any fine. If the court  
            does not order custody as a condition of probation for a  
            conviction under this section, the court shall specify on the  
            court record the reason or reasons for not ordering custody.  
            This does not apply to cases involving police dogs or horses  
            as described in Section 600. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (h).)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "In Penal Code  
            600, it is an offense to willfully, maliciously harm, injure,  
            obstruct, or interfere with a horse or a dog under the  
            supervision of a law enforcement officer in the discharge of  
            official duties. These violations are punishable by a fine  
            and/or imprisonment. Punishment depends on the seriousness of  
            the injury to the animal. Upon conviction, a defendant must  
            also pay restitution for damages. Unfortunately, Penal Code  
            600 only covers animals that are directly being used by an  
            employed peace officer. 








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            "AB 794 would add to Penal Code section 600, to additionally  
            include animals that are being used by volunteer peace  
            officers. With budgets being stretched at the local level and  
            efforts being made to engage with citizens, many counties are  
            creating more volunteer opportunities to work with law  
            enforcement.  For many years Riverside County has worked with  
            locals in Norco to take advantage of their love of horses by  
            having the Mounted Posse.  These volunteers serve the region  
            by observing and reporting directly to the Sheriff's office.   
            While the volunteers themselves are protected from harm under  
            state, their horses are not.  AB 794 will ensure that those  
            who volunteer to help protect their communities will also have  
            protections for their animals afforded to law enforcement  
            animals."

          2)Riverside County Sheriff's Department Citizen Volunteers:   
            Riverside County Sheriff's Department allows citizens to  
            volunteer their time in a variety of ways.  Among those  
            volunteers, are a group called the Sheriff's Mounted Posse.   
            The citizen volunteers that participated in the mounted posse  
            must meet the following requirements:  

          Volunteers must be 18 years of age. Be a citizen of the United  
          States of America or a legal resident with a citizen application  
          in process, pass a basic background investigation and be in  
          reasonable health and physically able to perform the duties  
          required of a Mounted Posse members. Riding members must own, or  
          have reasonable access to and satisfactorily maintain an equine  
          in good condition and sound health. Riding members must also own  
          or have reasonable access to a truck and horse trailer. Ground  
          support members need not own a horse or trailer, but should be  
          able to meet the physical requirements of their duties. 

            Mounted citizen volunteers provide assistance to law  
            enforcement in Riverside County by being "eyes and ears."   
            They do not have the powers or authority vested in peace  
            officers.  Citizen volunteers are directed to contact law  
            enforcement if they witness a crime or suspicious.  Citizen  
            volunteers are not expected to take direct action on any  
            potential criminal activity.   
             http://www.riversidesheriff.org/volunteer/posse.asp








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          3)Argument in Support:  According to the California Mounted  
            Officers Association (CMOA), "The CMOA Board of Directors, who  
            represent over 250 CMOA members who are comprised of mounted  
            law enforcement personnel and mounted law enforcement  
            volunteers, whole heartedly support and sponsor AB-794. 

          "The CMOA recognizes that under the current law of Penal Code  
            600, law enforcement volunteers and their mounts do not have  
            any protection.  Also currently, law enforcement personnel  
            cannot take any legal action in regard to someone who would  
            assault the mount of a mounted law enforcement volunteer. 

          "CMOA understands the dedication, time, personal expense, and  
            providing their own mounts that law enforcement mounted  
            volunteers give to their communities across the state every  
            day.  AB-794 helps protect these dedicated volunteers and  
            their mounts who provide volunteer service to their  
            communities.  AB-794 will also allow law enforcement to  
            enforce the new amended PC 600."

          4)Prior Legislation:  AB 667 (Smyth), of the 2007-2008  
            legislative session, would have increased the punishment for  
            violation of Penal Code section 600 to two, three, or four  
            years in the state prison. The bill was held in Assembly  
            Public Safety Committee.  

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

          Support
          
          California Mounted Officers Association 
          American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          California Association of Highway Patrolmen
          Peace Officers Research Association of California

          Opposition

          None


          Analysis Prepared  








                                                                     AB 794


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          by:              David Billingsley / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744