BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 1824       Hearing Date:    June 21, 2016    
          
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          |Author:    |Chang                                                |
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          |Version:   |May 31, 2016                                         |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|MK                                                   |
          |           |                                                     |
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             Subject:  Guide, Signal, or Service Dogs:  Injury or Death



          HISTORY

          Source:   California Council of the Blind

          Prior Legislation: AB 2264 (Levine) - Ch. 502, Stats. 2014
                         AB 1801 (Pavley) - Ch. 322, Stats. 2004
                    
          Support:  Canine Companions for Independence; Guide Dogs of  
                    Texas, Inc.; California State Board of Guide Dogs for  
                    the Blind; State Humane Association of California; two  
                    individuals

          Opposition:American Civil Liberties Union
                    

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 76 - 0


          
          PURPOSE
          
          The purpose of this bill is to expand the situations in which an  
          individual can be charged with causing injury to, or the death  
          of, any guide, signal, or service dog.
          







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          Existing law defines "guide dog" as any guide dog that was  
          trained by a licensed person, as specified. (Civil Code 54.1  
          (6)(C)(i).)

          Existing law defines a "signal dog" as any dog trained to alert  
          an individual who is deaf or hearing impaired to intruders or  
          sounds. (Civil Code  54.1 (6)(C)(ii).)

          Existing law defines a "service dog" as any dog individually  
          trained to the requirements of the individual with a disability  
          including, but not limited to, minimal protection work, rescue  
          work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. (Civil  
          Code  54.1 (6)(C)(iii).) 

          Existing law provides that it is a crime for any person to  
          permit any dog which is owned, harbored, or controlled by him or  
          her to cause injury to or the death of any guide, signal, or  
          service dog, while the guide, signal, or service dog is in  
          discharge of its duties: (Penal Code  600.2 (a).) 


          Existing law provides that a violation of this section is an  
          infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty  
          dollars ($250) if the injury or death to any guide, signal, or  
          service dog is caused by the person's failure to exercise  
          ordinary care in the control of his or her dog; (Penal Code   
          600.2 (b).) 

          Existing law provides that a violation of this section is a  
          misdemeanor if the injury or death to any guide, signal, or  
          service dog is caused by the person's reckless disregard in the  
          exercise of control over his or her dog, under circumstances  
          that constitute such a departure from the conduct of a  
          reasonable person as to be incompatible with a proper regard for  
          the safety and life of any guide, signal, or service dog. A  
          violation of this subdivision shall be punishable by  
          imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a  
          fine of not less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500)  
          nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. The court  
          shall consider the costs ordered when determining the amount of  
          any fines; and (Penal Code  600.2 (c).)

          Existing law provides that in any case in which a defendant is  
          convicted of a violation of this section, the defendant shall be  








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          ordered to make restitution to the person with a disability who  
          has custody or ownership of the guide, signal, or service dog  
          for any veterinary bills and replacement costs of the dog if it  
          is disabled or killed, or other reasonable costs deemed  
          appropriate by the court. The costs ordered pursuant to this  
          subdivision shall be paid prior to any fines. The person with  
          the disability may apply for compensation by the California  
          Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, in an amount  
          not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (Penal Code   
          600.2 (d).) 

          Existing law specifies that any person who intentionally causes  
          injury to or the death of any guide, signal, or service dog,  
          while the dog is in discharge of its duties, is guilty of a  
          misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not  
          exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand  
          dollars ($10,000), or by both a fine and imprisonment. The court  
          shall consider the costs ordered when determining the amount of  
          any fines: (Penal Code  600.5, subd. (a).) 

          Existing law provides for any case in which a defendant is  
          convicted of a violation of this section, the defendant shall be  
          ordered to make restitution to the person with a disability who  
          has custody or ownership of the dog for any veterinary bills and  
          replacement costs of the dog if it is disabled or killed, or  
          other reasonable costs deemed appropriate by the court; and  
          (Penal Code  600.5 (b).) 

          Existing law provides the costs ordered pursuant to this  
          subdivision shall be paid prior to any fines. The person with  
          the disability may apply for compensation by the California  
          Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board pursuant to  
          Chapter 5 in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars  
          ($10,000). (Penal Code 600.5 (b).)

          Existing law 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 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  








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          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. (Penal  
          Code  600 (a).) 

          Existing law 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. (Penal Code  600 (b).) 

          Existing law 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 for one year. (Penal Code 600 (c).) 

          Existing law defines "serious injury" to include "bone fracture,  
          loss or impairment of function of any bodily member, wounds  
          requiring extensive suturing, or serious crippling." (Penal Code  
           600 (c).) 

          Existing law 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. . (Penal Code  600 (d).) 

          Existing law 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.  
          (Penal Code  600 (e).) 








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          Exiting law 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.  
          (Penal Code,  243 (d).) 

          Existing law 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. (Penal Code,  597.) 

          Existing law 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. (Penal Code,  597 (b).) 

          Existing law 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 (c).) 

          Existing law requires punishment as a felony by, 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 animal  
          cruelty. (Penal Code  597 (d).) 

          Existing law specifies that upon the conviction of a person  
          charged with a violation of this section by causing or  








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          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. (Penal Code   
          597(g).) 

          Existing law 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. (Penal Code  597(g).) 

          Existing law 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.  
          (Penal Code  597(h).)

          This bill deletes, specified crimes against guide, signal, or  
          service dogs, the requirement that the dog be in discharge of  
          its duties when the injury or death occurs and would make these  
          crimes applicable to the injury or death of dogs that are  
          enrolled in a training school or program for guide, signal, or  
          service dogs, as specified. 

          This bill requires that the person willfully, knowingly or  
          recklessly cause injury or death to a guide, signal or service  
          dog is guilty of misdemeanor.








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          This bill requires the defendant, convicted of either crime, to  
          also make restitution to the person for medical or  
          medical-related expenses, or for loss of wages or income,  
          incurred by the person as a direct result of the crime.




                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the past several years this Committee has scrutinized  
          legislation referred to its jurisdiction for any potential  
          impact on prison overcrowding.  Mindful of the United States  
          Supreme Court ruling and federal court orders relating to the  
          state's ability to provide a constitutional level of health care  
          to its inmate population and the related issue of prison  
          overcrowding, this Committee has applied its "ROCA" policy as a  
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that  
          the Legislature does not erode progress in reducing prison  
          overcrowding.   

          On February 10, 2014, the federal court ordered California to  
          reduce its in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of  
          design capacity by February 28, 2016, as follows:   

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          In December of 2015 the administration reported that as "of  
          December 9, 2015, 112,510 inmates were housed in the State's 34  
          adult institutions, which amounts to 136.0% of design bed  
          capacity, and 5,264 inmates were housed in out-of-state  
          facilities.  The current population is 1,212 inmates below the  
          final court-ordered population benchmark of 137.5% of design bed  
          capacity, and has been under that benchmark since February  
          2015."  (Defendants' December 2015 Status Report in Response to  
          February 10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge  
          Court, Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  One  
          year ago, 115,826 inmates were housed in the State's 34 adult  
          institutions, which amounted to 140.0% of design bed capacity,  
          and 8,864 inmates were housed in out-of-state facilities.   
          (Defendants' December 2014 Status Report in Response to February  








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          10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge Court, Coleman  
          v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  
           
          While significant gains have been made in reducing the prison  
          population, the state must stabilize these advances and  
          demonstrate to the federal court that California has in place  
          the "durable solution" to prison overcrowding "consistently  
          demanded" by the court.  (Opinion Re: Order Granting in Part and  
          Denying in Part Defendants' Request For Extension of December  
          31, 2013 Deadline, NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC), 3-Judge Court,  
          Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (2-10-14).  The Committee's  
          consideration of bills that may impact the prison population  
          therefore will be informed by the following questions:

              Whether a proposal erodes a measure which has contributed  
               to reducing the prison population;
              Whether a proposal addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy;
              Whether a proposal addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 
              Whether a proposal corrects a constitutional problem or  
               legislative drafting error; and
              Whether a proposal proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy.




          COMMENTS
          
          1.  Need for This Bill
          
          According to the author:

          In 2014, the legislature approved AB 2264 (Levine) which  
          amended Penal Codes 600.2 and 600.5 relating to guide dogs.  
          AB 2264 expanded eligibility for access to the victim's  
          compensation fund for the owners of guide/service dogs when  
          their dog is injured or killed. Current law under Penal Code  
          600.2 states that they are eligible for reimbursement when  
          their guide/service dog is killed or injured by another dog  








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          while Penal Code 600.5 applies to when the guide/service dog  
          is intentionally killed or injured. Both code sections  
          however stipulate that the guide/service dog must be in  
          discharge of its duties for the victim to be eligible for  
          reimbursement. 

          Under current law, victims are eligible for reimbursement  
          for veterinary bills and replacement costs if the dog is  
          disabled or killed, or other costs as deemed appropriate by  
          the court.  
               Since the adoption of these regulations, members of the  
               disabled community have developed concerns that they  
               and their dogs may not be fully protected or properly  
               compensated
          
          2.  The Cost of Injury to Guide and Service Dogs
          
          There is a high cost if a guide dog must be retired due to  
          attacks by people and/or their unleashed dogs. According to The  
          Seeing Eye, which provides specially bred and trained dog guides  
          for blind persons, it costs $50,000 to breed, raise, and train a  
          dog. It takes approximately 18 months to adequately train a  
          seeing eye dog, followed by an additional month with the  
          disabled person to which they will be paired; the program  
          provides a blind person with airfare, room and board for four  
          weeks, during the course of instruction, as well as the dog's  
          equipment; and provide follow-up services for life. A dog will  
          work on average eight years.  

          3.  Changes to Provisions for Crimes Against a Guide Dog 
          
          Existing law makes it a wobblette for any person to permit any  
          dog to attack a guide dog and a misdemeanor for any person to  
          intentionally cause injury or death to a guide dog.  This bill  
          deletes the requirement from both provisions that the dog be in  
          the discharge of the duties at the time of the injury or death.  
          It also provides that to be convicted of the misdemeanor the  
          person must willfully, knowingly or recklessly cause the injury  
          or death of the dog.  It also provides that restitution includes  
          medical or medical-related expenses that are a direct result of  
          a violation.

          4.  Support
          








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          According to the California Council of the Blind:

               Under existing law, it is an infraction or a  
               misdemeanor for any person to permit any dog which is  
               owned, harbored, or controlled by him or her to cause  
               injury to or the death of any guide, signal, or service  
               dog while the dog is not engaged in these duties. Under  
               these circumstances, it is very difficult for guide,  
               signal, or service dog users to recover the costs  
               incurred due to these attacks. This bill would expand  
               these provisions by eliminating the requirements that  
               the guide, signal, or service dog be in discharge of  
               its duties, thus allowing recovery in those situations.  


               Existing law requires a person convicted of these  
               crimes to make restitution for specified costs incurred  
               by the handler of the guide, signal, or service dog.  
               This bill would expand these restitution provisions to  
               cover medical or medical-related expenses and loss of  
               wages or income."

          5. Opposition
          
          The ACLU opposes this bill stating:

               Under existing law, and under the prior version of AB  
               1824, in order to convict a person of a violation of  
               Penal Code section 600.5 (causing injury or death to a  
               guide, signal, or service dog) the person must  
               "intentionally" cause the injury or death. (Penal Code  
               600.5, subd. (a).) The existing standard is the  
               appropriate mens rea standard for this offense. It  
               requires the prosecution to show that the defendant  
               engaged in the prohibited conduct with the conscious  
               objective to cause the injury to death to a service dog.  
               Consistent with due process principle, this standard  
               helps to ensure that people are punished for such  
               conduct only when they intend to do harm. As amended, AB  
               1824 would provide that a person need only "willfully,  
               knowingly, or recklessly" act, in order to be convicted  
               of a misdemeanor.  One can image a situation where a  
               driver acts recklessly and hits a service dog that run  
               into the street. While the driver's conduct is certainly  








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               troubling, such conduct should not rise to a level of  
               criminality when the person had no intent harm the dog  
                                                                                           and may have had no idea the dog was a service animal.  
               Lowering the mens rea standard unnecessarily erodes  
               protections for criminal defendants and is not  
               appropriate for the offense at hand.

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