BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 794


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          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


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


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill 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,  








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          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.

          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Moderate nonreimbursable local costs for incarceration, offset  
          to a degree by fee revenue, as this type of crime will probably  
          be added to another criminal charge.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Background.  Current law provides that any person who, with  
            the intent to inflict serious injury, as defined, 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, 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.  Current law also 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.








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          2)Purpose.  According to the author, "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."



          3)Argument in Support:  According to the California Mounted  
            Officers Association (CMOA), 
          "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  








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            years in the state prison. The bill was held in Assembly  
            Public Safety Committee.  







          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro R. Reyes / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081