BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                    AB 1825

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          1825 (Gordon and Maienschein)

          As Introduced  February 8, 2016

          Majority vote

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Local           |9-0  |Eggman, Waldron,      |                    |
          |Government      |     |Alejo, Bonilla, Chiu, |                    |
          |                |     |Cooley, Beth Gaines,  |                    |
          |                |     |Gordon, Linder        |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |

          SUMMARY:  Removes from the definition of "vicious dog" any dog  
          seized from a dog fighting operation.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Provides for the designation and disposition of certain  
            categories of dogs as "potentially dangerous" or "vicious"  
            pursuant to a specified judicial process, requires these  
            designations to be included in the registration records of the  


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            dog, and places certain restrictions on dogs deemed  
            potentially dangerous or vicious. 

          2)Defines "vicious dog" to mean a) any dog seized pursuant to  
            existing laws governing dog fighting operations, as specified;  
            b) any dog which, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner,  
            inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being; or, c) any  
            dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a  
            "potentially dangerous" dog which, after its owner or keeper  
            has been notified of this determination, continues the  
            behavior of a potentially dangerous dog or is maintained in  
            violation of existing laws governing the requirements for  
            keeping a potentially dangerous dog, as specified.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  None


          1)Bill Summary.  This bill removes from the definition of  
            "vicious dog" any dog seized from a dog fighting operation.   
            This bill is sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society.

          2)Author's Statement.  According to the author, "Under existing  
            law (Food and Agricultural Code Section 31603), canines seized  
            in connection with criminal dog fighting convictions are  
            automatically deemed 'vicious' without any evaluation of the  
            dog's health, age, behavior, or demeanor before the dog is  
            labeled.  These animals are thus considered legally vicious,  
            regardless of whether there is any evidence of unprovoked  
            attacks or infliction of severe injuries (the standards for a  
            designation for all other dogs).  This is often a death  
            sentence for dogs?


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            "AB 1825 would remove the requirement in existing law that  
            dogs seized in connection with animal fighting cases be  
            automatically labeled vicious.  This will allow all dogs to be  
            judged by their own health and behavior, and provide  
            humanitarians and sanctuaries the opportunity to give a dog or  
            puppy seized as a victim of animal abuse an opportunity to  
            live a safe and cruelty-free life." 

          3)Background.  Current laws governing potentially dangerous or  
            vicious dogs, which were established in 1989 following a spate  
            of dog attacks in California, outline the process for  
            designating a dog as either potentially dangerous or vicious.   
            These laws also set forth the requirements that owners must  
            follow if their dog has been determined to be potentially  
            dangerous or vicious, which cover matters such as licensure  
            and vaccination, special licensing or registration fees,  
            confinement, and notification of animal control departments if  
            the dog changes location.

            In the case of a dog that has been labeled "vicious," existing  
            law authorizes animal control departments to destroy a vicious  
            dog under specified conditions, requires a judicial authority  
            to impose conditions upon ownership, and allows local  
            jurisdictions to place restrictions on an owner of a vicious  
            dog.  Current law also allows cities or counties to impose  
            more restrictive programs to control potentially dangerous or  
            vicious dogs, provided they are not breed-specific (with an  
            exception for mandatory spay and neuter programs).  Violations  
            of current law governing vicious dogs carry a penalty of up to  

            Current law automatically designates any dog seized under  
            penal code statutes related to dog fighting as a "vicious"  
            dog, without regard to behavior, background, age or any kind  
            of evaluation.  Dogs seized in such operations often include  
            dogs kept exclusively for breeding, puppies, and pets that  


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            have been stolen and used as "bait" dogs.

            Proponents of this measure note that a stray dog that arrives  
            at an animal shelter without any known history is not presumed  
            to pose a risk.  The animal would be evaluated by shelter  
            staff members, who are trained in techniques developed by  
            animal sheltering professionals.  Proponents argue that  
            victims of animal cruelty that are rescued from dog-fighting  
            rings should receive these same evaluations, instead of being  
            automatically labeled as vicious.

            According to news reports about dog-fighting operations, many  
            dogs that are recovered from these conditions are found to be  
            suitable for adoption.  According to proponents, the most  
            well-known animal fighting victims are the dogs seized on the  
            property of NFL player Michael Vick.  After evaluation, only  
            one of those 49 dogs was found to be "vicious" and euthanized.  
             The remaining 48 dogs that were recovered were eventually  
            adopted or have been managed in sanctuaries.  Some have even  
            become therapy or service dogs.  In 2009, in a large-scale  
            seizure of more than 500 fighting dogs, individual evaluations  
            were performed and a majority of the dogs were found to be  
            suitable for placement.

          4)Arguments in Support.  Best Friends Animal Society, sponsor of  
            this bill, writes, "Many dogs seized in connection with animal  
            fighting do not pose any risk to other dogs or humans and go  
            on to live healthy, happy lives? California's statute is  
            inconsistent and outdated, and the mandate does not relate to  
            the behavior of the individual dogs themselves.  AB 1825  
            repeals this provision and restores local government shelter  
            discretion for all victims of cruelty."

          5)Arguments in Opposition.  None on file.


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          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958  FN: