BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1543


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          Date of Hearing:  January 12, 2016
          Counsel:               David Billingsley

                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                       1543 (Brough) - As Amended  January 4, 2016




          SUMMARY:  Provides that a person who commits animal abuse may be  
          punished by an additional fine not to exceed $5,000 for each  
          violation, in addition to the base fine of up to $20,000.   
          Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Allows a separate fine, up to $5,000, for each conviction of  
            animal cruelty, in addition to the base fine of up to $20,000  
            for each conviction of animal cruelty.

          2)Exempts the additional fine from the penalty assessments which  
            are generally added to fines for criminal offenses.

          3)Requires the additional fines to be paid to the local public  
            animal control agency that has jurisdiction over the location  
            where the violation occurred. 

          4)Allows the animal control agency to use moneys from the  
            specified fine to compensate a person or nonprofit  
            organization who incurred costs for the animal's medical care  
            or rehabilitation as a result of the animal cruelty, when the  
            owner or caretaker of the animal was the person who committed  
            the animal cruelty. 

          5)Allows the animal control agency to use moneys from the  








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            specified fine to compensate a person, including a nonprofit  
            organization, who incurs costs for the animal's medical care,  
            rehabilitation, or recovery when the animal has no  
            identifiable owner or caretaker.

          6)Requires a person who commits animal abuse in a rehabilitative  
            facility for animals to pay for and successfully complete an  
            appropriate counseling course, as determined by the court,  
            designed to evaluate and treat behavior or conduct disorders. 

          7)Defines "rehabilitative facility for animals" for these  
            purposes as a facility at which medical care or rehabilitative  
            services are provided to animals, including, but not limited  
            to, an animal sanctuary, animal shelter, or aquarium. 

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)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.)

          2)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  
            drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for  
            labor as a criminal offense. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (b).)
            
          3)Specifies the actions of a person who maliciously and  
            intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird,  
            reptile, amphibian, or fish, as a criminal offense. (Pen.  
            Code,  597, subd. (c).)








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          4)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).)

          5)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).)

          6)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).)

          7)Requires that if a defendant is granted probation for a  
            conviction of 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  








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            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).)

          8)Provides that any person who maliciously strikes, beats,  
            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).)

          9)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).)

          10)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, 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 for  
            one year. (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (c).)
             
          11)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,  








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            subd. (c).)

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

          13)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).)

          14)Specifies that owner or keeper of an abandoned or neglected  
            animal is personally liable to the seizing agency for the full  
            cost of the seizure and care of the animal. The charges for  
            the seizure and care of the animal shall be a lien on the  
            animal. The animal shall not be returned to its owner until  
            the charges are paid and the owner demonstrates to the  
            satisfaction of the seizing agency or the hearing officer that  
            the owner can and will provide the necessary care for the  
            animal. (Pen. Code,  597.1, subd. (f)(4).)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "Animal abuse  
            continues to be an issue in California.  Recent high-profile  
            cases have involved vicious attacks on animals in protective  
            facilities such as aquariums, sanctuaries and shelters.  These  
            acts are especially egregious and require an elevated  
            response.

          "These nonprofit organizations and local agencies provide care  
            for abused animals without compensation or assistance except  
            through charitable donations to the organization.  AB 1543  








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            acknowledges the work of these organizations and aids their  
            efforts by directing them an additional portion of penalty  
            fines. 

          "Causing harm to an animal in protective care is an indication  
            of a troubled mental/emotional state. AB 1543 requires that  
            perpetrators convicted of harming an animal in a shelter,  
            sanctuary, aquarium or other such safe haven complete an  
            appropriate court-appointed counseling course. Counseling will  
            identify depraved behavior and prevent further acts violence  
            against animals and humans."

          2)Current Law Allows a $20,000 Fine for Each Separate Conviction  
            of Animal Cruelty:  The fine of up to $20,000 can be imposed  
            whether the conviction is for a felony or a misdemeanor.  If  
            the defendant is convicted of multiple counts of animal  
            cruelty the court can impose a fine of up to $20,000 for each  
            count.  That maximum fine is significantly higher than almost  
            all other felony convictions.  Generally, the maximum fine for  
            an individual felony conviction is $10,000.  Generally, the  
            maximum fine for an individual misdemeanor conviction is  
            $1,000.

          3)Penalty Assessments and Fees Quadruple the Cost of a $20,000  
            Fine:  
          There are penalty assessments and fees assessed on the base fine  
            for a crime.  Assuming a defendant was fined the maximum  
            $20,000, for a single conviction, as provided by current law,  
            the following penalty assessments would be imposed pursuant to  
            the Penal Code and the Government Code:

          Base Fine:                                                        
              ??                                                     $   
            20,000 
            Penal Code 1464 state penalty on fines:                         
                         20,000  ($10 for every $10)
            Penal Code 1465.7 state surcharge:                              
                             4,000  (20% surcharge)Penal Code 1465.8 court  
            operation assessment:                                          
            40 ($40 fee per offense)
            Government Code 70372 court construction penalty:             
            10, 000  ($5 for every $10) Government Code 70373 assessment:   








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                                                        30  ($30 per  
            felony/misdo) Government Code 76000 penalty:                    
                                      14,000  ($7 for every $10)  
            Government Code 76000.5 EMS penalty:                            
                    4,000  ($2 for every $10) Government Code 76104.6 DNA  
            fund penalty:                           2,000  ($1 for every  
            $10) Government Code 76104.7 addt'l DNA fund penalty:           
                                                  8,000  ($4 for every  
            $10)
            Total Fine with Assessments:                                    
                                $82,070

          4)This Bill Creates an Additional Fine Without Requiring Any  
            Additional Criminal Conduct:  Existing law provides for a fine  
            of up to $20,000 when a person commits a crime of animal  
            cruelty. (Pen. Code  597.)  This bill adds a second fine  
            without requiring any additional conduct by the defendant to  
            the crime more serious than the conduct which forms the basis  
            for the fine of up to $20,000.  

          5)Existing Law Requires Defendants to Make Restitution to  
            Victims of Their Crime:  All persons who suffer losses as a  
            result of criminal activity have the right to restitution from  
            those convicted of that crime. (Cal. Const., art. I,  28(b),  
            Pen. Code  1202.4.)  In addition, courts can order  
            restitution as a condition to probation. (Pen. Code  1203.1,  
            subd. (a)(3).) The courts' power to order restitution as a  
            condition of probation is even broader than what is required  
            under direct victim restitution.  Courts can, among other  
            reasons, direct a defendant to make restitution as a condition  
            of probation as long as the restitution is reasonably related  
            to the crime of which the defendant was convicted. (Pen. Code  
             1203.1, subd. (j).)

          Given the requirement of victim restitution and the power of the  
            court to order restitution as a condition of probation,  
            current law provides mechanisms for reimbursement to  
            compensate owners, organizations, or other individuals that  
            incur costs to rehabilitate animals injured as a result of  
            animal cruelty. 
          
          6)Prioritization of Court-Ordered Debt:  Current law prioritizes  








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            the order in which delinquent court-ordered debt received is  
            to be satisfied. The priorities are 1) victim restitution, 2)  
            state surcharge, 3) restitution fines, penalty assessments,  
            and other fines, with payments made on a proportional basis to  
            the total amount levied for all of these items, and 4)  
            state/county/city reimbursements, and special revenue items.

          7)The Additional Fines Collected by This Bill Would Not Be  
            Distributed to the General Fund:  This bill would collect a  
            fine that would not go to the general fund, as the vast  
            majority of criminal fines do.  Instead the additional fines  
            collected under the provisions of this bill would be  
            distributed to the local public animal control agency that has  
            jurisdiction in the location where the violation was  
            committed.  The local public animal control agency may use the  
            money to compensate individuals or nonprofits who incurred  
            costs for the animal's medical care or rehabilitation as a  
            result of the animal cruelty unless the person was the abuser.

          8)This Bill Adds a Counseling Requirement for a Defendant  
            Convicted of Animal Abuse in a Rehabilitative Facility for  
            Animals that is Duplicative of Existing Law:  Existing law  
            requires any defendant granted probation for a violation of  
            animal abuse to complete counseling as determined by the court  
            to treat behavior or conduct disorders. (Pen. Code  597,  
            subd. (h).)  This bill adds the same counseling requirement if  
            the defendant commits the violation of animal cruelty in a  
            rehabilitative facility for animals.  There is no need to add  
            a provision to require counseling based on a narrower set of  
            circumstances.
          
          9)Argument in Support:  According to The Humane Society,  
            "Despite felony animal cruelty provisions in state law,  
            violent attacks on animals are all too common in California.  
            Vicious attacks on rescued animals who are in the care of  
            government or non-profit animal care organizations are  
            thankfully rare, but are especially egregious. By seeking  
            enhanced penalties and counseling for criminals who harm these  
            most vulnerable animals, AB 1543 is another step toward  
            deterring such acts. We understand you plan to amend AB 1543  
            to direct the additional $5,000 penalty to the local animal  
            care agency where an eligible crime occurs, which we think  








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            makes your legislation even more efficient and appropriate. 

          "Strong laws to protect animals from cruelty are obviously  
            important for the animals' sake. But a number of studies have  
            drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against  
            people. A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department  
            "revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with  
            crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward  
            human victims." Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had  
            been arrested for battery against another person. (Degenhardt,  
            B. 2005. Statistical Summary of Offenders Charged with Crimes  
            against Companion Animals July 2001-July 2005. Report from the  
            Chicago Police Department.) Of 36 convicted multiple murderers  
            questioned in one study, 46% admitted committing acts of  
            animal torture as adolescents. (Cohen, W. (1996).  
            Congressional Register, 142(141), Oct. 3.) And of seven school  
            shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and  
            2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of  
            animal cruelty."

          10)Argument in Opposition:  According to the ACLU of California,  
            "Given that existing fines appear sufficient to punish the  
            conduct underlying Penal Code section 597, we do not believe  
            this bill is necessary. 

          "Current law already provides adequate fines for those who  
            violate Penal Code section 597.  A person convicted of either  
            a felony or misdemeanor violation of the statute can be  
            punished, in addition to any applicable terms of imprisonment,  
            by a fine of up to $20,000.  A fine of $20,000 is already  
            equal to 66% of the average per capita annual income in  
            California.  The additional $5,000, as proposed by the bill  
            could result in a person being required to pay a total fine  
            equal to 83% the average annual income.  Such fines, nearly  
            impossible for an average Californian to pay without being  
            rendered penniless, will only further expand the growing  
            number of Californians saddled with court-ordered debt and  
            increase the existing $10 billion in debt yet to be collected.  
             Thus, increasing fines as proposed by the bill makes little  
            sense, especially when there is no indication that existing  
            fines have been insufficient." 









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          11)Prior Legislation: 

             a)   AB 1117 (Smyth), Chapter 553, Statutes of 2011,  
               specified that the owner of an animal seized pursuant to a  
               search warrant shall be liable for the costs of caring for  
               and treating the animal and that these costs will be a lien  
               on the animal which must be paid before the animal is  
               returned.  

             b)   SB 917 (Lieu), Chapter 131, Statutes of 2011, conformed  
               the misdemeanor penalty for overloading, torturing,  
               tormenting, maims, mutilates, tortures or wound a living  
               animal, punishable by up to one year in jail.             

             c)   AB 2012 (Lieu), of the Legislative Session of 2009-2010,  
                would have conformed the misdemeanor penalty for  
               overloading, torturing, tormenting, maims, mutilates,  
               tortures or wounds a living animal, punishable for up to  
               one year in jail for the misdemeanor portion of the  
               existing wobbler.  AB 2012 was vetoed by the governor.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

          Support

          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Aquarium of the Pacific
          Beagle Freedom Project
          California Civil Liberties Advocacy
          California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators
          City of Jorupa Valley
          Humane Society
          In Defense of Animals
          Pacific Marine Mammal Center

          Opposition
          
          American Civil Liberties Union of California
          
          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              David Billingsley / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744









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