BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 2505       Hearing Date:    June 14, 2016    
          |Author:    |Quirk                                                |
          |Version:   |February 19, 2016                                    |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|ML                                                   |
          |           |                                                     |

                           Subject:  Animals:  Euthanasia


          Source:   Fearless Advocacy; Humane Society of the United  
          States; San Francisco SPCA

          Prior Legislation:AB 1426 (Liu) - Ch. 652, Stats. 2006
                         SB 1659 (Kopp) - Ch. 751, Stats. 1998

          Support:  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to  
                    Animals; Best Friends Animal  Society; California  
                    Animal Control Directors Association; California  
                    Veterinary Medical Association; Humane Society  
                    Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA); LIUNA Locals  
                    777  & 792; Los Angeles County District Attorney's  
                    Office; San Diego Humane Society; State Humane  
                    Association of California; Stockton Animal Shelter

          Opposition:None known 

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 79 - 0


          This purpose of this bill is to prohibit the use of carbon  


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          dioxide to euthanize an animal.  

          Current law prohibits the killing of any animal by using a)  
          carbon monoxide gas (Pen. Code,  597u, subd. (a)(1)) or b)  
          intracardiac injection of a euthanasia agent on a conscious  
          animal, unless the animal is heavily sedated or anesthetized in  
          a humane manner, or comatose, or unless, in light of all the  
          relevant circumstances, the procedure is justifiable.  (Pen.  
          Code,  597u, subd. (a)(2).)

          Current law states that with respect to the killing of any dog  
          or cat, no person, peace officer, officer of a humane society,  
          or officer of a pound or animal regulation department of a  
          public agency shall use any of the methods specified in  
          subdivision (a) or any of the following methods:

             a)   High-altitude decompression chamber. (Pen. Code,  597u,  
               subd. (b)(1).)

             b)   Nitrogen gas.  (Pen. Code,  597u, subd. (b)(2).)

          Current law states that no person, peace officer, officer of a  
          humane society or officer of a pound or animal regulation  
          department of a public agency shall kill any dog or cat by the  
          use of any high-altitude decompression chamber or nitrogen gas.   
          (Penal Code Section 597w.)

          Current law provides that it is unlawful for any person to sell,  
          attempt to sell, load or cause to be loaded, transport or  
          attempt to transport any live horse, mule, burro, or pony that  
          is disabled if the animal is intended to be sold, loaded, or  
          transported for commercial slaughter out of California.  (Penal  
          Code Section 597x(a).)

          Current law defines a "disabled animal" as including, but not  
          limited to, any animal that has broken limbs, is unable to stand  
          and balance itself without assistance, cannot walk, or is  
          severely injured.  (Penal Code Section 597x(b).)

          Current law states that a violation of the prohibitions on  
          methods of killing is a misdemeanor.  (Penal Code Section 597y.)

          This bill prohibits the use of carbon dioxide to euthanize an  


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          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  

          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  
          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  


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          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.


          1.  Need for This Bill

          According to the author: 

            The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) to euthanize dogs and  
            cats is cost prohibitive, inhumane, dangerous, and  
            unnecessary. However, due to a loophole in existing law,  
            it is still legal to continue this practice.  AB 2505  
            will close the loophole in current law and prohibit the  
            use of CO2 when euthanizing dogs and cats in California.

            In a CO2 chamber it can take minutes for dogs and cats to  
            lose consciousness, and sometimes as long as twenty-five  
            minutes for them to expire. Furthermore, some dogs and  
            cats are resistant to CO2, particularly the vulnerable  
            ones like the sick and elderly. In these cases it takes  
            longer to kill the animal using CO2 and sometimes death  
            is not even achieved. Exposure to CO2 is known to cause  
            animals pain and make them to feel like they are  
            suffocating. Sometimes dogs and cats experience organ  


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            failure before losing consciousness. Furthermore, CO2 is  
            hazardous to animal personnel due to the risk of narcosis  
            and complications from faulty equipment.

            No state agency is tasked with inspecting gas chambers.  
            This safety measure was eliminated in 1998 when the state  
            assumed this practice was banned. As such any shelter in  
            operation of one could be exposing staff and other  
            adoptable animals to hazardous chemicals.

            The widely accepted humane standard for euthanasia is a  
            method called "euthanasia by injection." This method  
            typically causes dogs and cats to lose consciousness  
            within three to five seconds and die a pain-free death.

          2.  Background

          CO2 euthanasia occurs by administration of the gas in a sealed  
          container.  The gas produces unconsciousness and then death.  A  
          pressurized cylinder of CO2 is now viewed by a number of  
          international animal research oversight authorities as the only  
          acceptable method.  CO2 may be administered in a home cage or in  
          a specialized compartment and may be used to kill individuals or  
          small groups of animals. 

          Discussions of CO2 euthanasia with various people working in  
          laboratory animal medicine and care (e.g. veterinarians,  
          vivarium directors, technicians) reveal that there are  
          conflicting CO2 practices and recommendations within the animal  
          research community. For example, some institutions require that  
          the euthanasia chamber be prefilled with CO2, while others  
          prohibit the use of prefilled chambers because they appear to  
          cause animal distress. Similar discrepancies in practice have  
          also been noted in regards to concentration, flow rate and  
          presence of oxygen. (Laboratory Animals, Conlee et al. (2005),  
          p. 139.)

          The American Veterinary Medical Association published their most  
          recent guidelines regarding animal euthanasia in 2013.  The AVMA  
          laid out strict guidelines for the use of CO2, but did not  
          prohibit its use for euthanasia altogether.  According to the  
          AVMA, "Unfortunately, there are still shelters and animal  
          control operations that do not have access to controlled  
          substances and/or the personnel authorized by the Drug  


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          Enforcement Administration to administer them.  This limits  
          these facilities' options for euthanizing animals."   

          The AVMA Guidelines and Restrictions with respect to use of CO2  
          for animal euthanasia are as follows and use of CO2 is only  
          considered acceptable if all the following guidelines are met:

             a)   Personnel must be instructed thoroughly in the gas's use  
               and must understand its hazards and limitations;
             b)   The gas source and chamber must be located in a  
               well-ventilated environment, preferably outdoors;
             c)   The gas must be supplied in a precisely regulated and  
               purified form without contaminants or adulterants,  
               typically from a commercially supplied cylinder or tank;
             d)   The gas flow rate must allow operators to achieve known  
               and appropriate gas concentrations within the recommended  
             e)   The chamber must be of the highest-quality construction  
               and should allow for separation of individual animals. If  
               animals need to be combined, they should be of the same  
               species, and, if needed, restrained or separated so that  
               they will not hurt themselves or others. Chambers should  
               not be overloaded and need to be kept clean to minimize  
               odors that might distress animals that are subsequently  
             f)   The chamber must be well lighted and must allow  
               personnel to directly observe the animals;
             g)   If the chamber is inside a room, monitors must be placed  
               in the room to warn personnel of hazardous concentrations  
               of gas; and
             h)   It is essential that the gas and the chamber be used in  
               compliance with state and federal occupational health and  
               safety regulations.

          In the 2013 Guidelines, euthanasia by intravenous injection of  
          an approved euthanasia agent remains the preferred method for  
          euthanasia of dogs, cats, and other small companion animals. Gas  
          chambers are not recommended for routine euthanasia of cats and  
          dogs in shelters and animal control operations.

                                      -- END -


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