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For national legislation information or legislation information in other states, please consult the AKC web site at http://www.akc.org/government-relations/ for current information.


CALIFORNIA Legislation – 2016-17 Session

Assembly Bill 485 - Signed into law by the Governor, 13 September 2017

Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-70th District) introduced Assembly Bill 485 which prohibits a pet store operator from selling a cat, dog or rabbit in a retail pet store unless the animal was obtained from an animal control agency or shelter, spca shelter, humane society shelter or nonprofit, animal rescue or adoption organization; permits a public or private shelter to enter into cooperative agreement with an animal rescue or adoption organization regarding rabbits, and permits an animal control officer, a humane officer, or a peace officer to enforce the pet store prohibition.
The bill, sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation and opposed by the AKC, cleared the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on a 10-1 vote, the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 10-4 vote, and the full Assembly on a 55-11 vote. On 17 July, it was passed with amendments by the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on a 7-1 vote. The Assembly concurred in the new amendments and the bill is now on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature.

Assembly Bill 942

Assembly Member Devon Mathis (R-26th District) introduced Assembly Bill 942 which will allow a credit on your income tax equal to 50% of the amount you spend in the year for qualified veterinary costs, not to exceed $2,000. The bill defines qualified medical costs as medically necessary expenses paid to a licensed veterinarian including, but not limited to, vaccinations, annual checkups, surgeries and drug prescriptions. It does not include expenses reimbursed by pet insurance. The bill would be in effect until December 1, 2023 and as of that date is repealed.
The bill was passed by the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee (10-1) and is now on the Assembly Appropriations Committee's Suspense File awaiting passage of the Budget Bill. (The deadline for the Assembly to pass the Budget Bill is 15 June 2017.)

Assembly Bill 1491 - Pet store financing

Assembly Member Caballero (D- 30th District) introduced AB 1491 which declares as void a new kind of financing agreement being used by some pet stores where, rather than transferring ownership of the dog or cat to the owner, the consumer commits to lease the dog or cat by making monthly payments that “reflect near usurious financing rates.” According to the author, there are no restrictions on the fees or interest that are charged. Proponents of the measure state that leases for dogs and cats should be void because “rent to own” schemes are not justified for a dog or cat, as opposed to consumer goods, like furniture. They point out that financing companies or debt collection companies are not in the business of rehoming pets so it is likely that the dogs or cats would end up being relinquished to an animal shelter if they cannot be resold or found a new home by the company repossessing them.
To address concerns of the AKC, several breed and all-breed clubs and individuals, the bill was amended to clarify that it applies only to leases of dogs or cats that contemplate transfer of ownership, not to the temporary lease of a breeding female for the purpose of breeding a litter.
The bill is now on the Assembly Third Reading File awaiting a vote of the Assembly.

California Legislation - 2015-16 Session.

Assembly Bill 797 - Signed into law by the Governor, 24 September 2016

Assembly Member Marc Steinorth (R-40th District) introduced Assembly Bill 797 which would amend current law to facilitate a person's rescuing an animal from a locked car if the animal appears to be in danger of suffering from heat, cold, lack of water or other circumstances that could cause his or her death and states provisions which would exempt the rescuer from criiminal and civil liability.

The bill requires a person who does so to immediately turn the animal over to a representative from law enforcement, animal control, or other emergency responder who responds to the scene, and exempts the person from criminal liability for removal of the animal 1) if he or she determines that the car is locked or there is no other reasonable manner for the animal to be removed; 2) has a reasonable belief that the animal is in imminent danger, 3) has contacted local law enforcement, fire department, animal control or the 911 emergency service before entering the vehicle, 4) remained with the animal in a safe location until a peace officer, humane officer, animal control officer or other emergency responder arrives, 5) used no more force than was necessary to enter the vehicle and remove the animal . The bill also exempts the rescuer from civil liability for property damage or trespass if either occurred while the person was rescuing the animal under the above provisions.

Senate Bill 945 - Signed into law by the Governor, 14 September 2016

Senator Bill Monning (D-17th District) introduced Senate Bill 945 which requires standards for pet boarding facilities, modeled, according to the author's office, after current law which requires minimum standards for pets shops (Health and Safety Code, Sections 122350-122361).

The bill was passed by the Senate (32-0) and is now awaiting hearing in the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions. The bill still establishes procedures for the care of pets at a boarding facility, but now excludes horses from the definition of "pet" and excludes "the premises of a veterinary facility" as a "pet boarding facility." As amended, the bill has a new requirement that a pet boarding facility have a fire alarm system that is connected to a central reporting station which alerts the local fire department in case of fire, or a fire suppression sprinkler system. The current amended form of the bill also specifically authorizes a city, county or city and county to adopt ordinances that require additional standards and requirements for a pet boarding facility, and prohibits a person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony directly related to animals from being employed at a pet boarding facility or from operating one.

The bill's sponsor is the State Humane Association. Proponents of the bill argue that the lack of regulation of pet boarding facilities allows for consumer and animal harm. The bill is opposed by The Animal Council and the International Boarding and Pet Services Association. The latter argues that the bill will adversely affect the pet boarding industry in California and that improvement is best achieved through education.

Senate Bill 1395 - Animal Abuse.

Senator Jeff Stone introduced Senate Bill 1395 which would have increased the penalty for animal abuse. The bill was defeated in the Senate Committee on Public Safety with the only Aye vote being that of the author.
Under current law, specified acts of animal abuse, including the intentional maiming, mutilation, torture or wounding of a living animal, are punishable as a felony by imprisonment in jail for 16 months, or two or three years, or by a fine of not more than $20,000 or by both that fine and imprisonment. Alternatively, these acts can be punished as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than $20,000 or by both that fine and and imprisonment.

SB 1395 would, instead, have made it a felony violation of the acts described above punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for two, three or four years, or by a fine of not more than $40,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Assembly Bill 147 (Dababneh), Chapter 551, Statutes of 2015. Requires any public secondary educational institution or independent institution of higher education that uses dogs or cats for science or research proposes and intends to euthanize the dog or cat used, to first offer the dog or cat to an animal adoption or rescue organization (not-for-profit). Requires the institution to assess the health of the animal before determining if the animal is suitable for adoption.

Assembly Bill 1810 (Maienschein), Chapter 86, Statutes of 2014. Permits a veterinarian and certain animal care facilities, such as boarding kennels, groomers or animal hospitals, to turn over an abandoned animal to a public animal control agency or shelter rather than euthanize it, as long as the shelter has not refused to take the animal, and deletes current law that requires an animal which is unclaimed at these animal care facilities, be euthanized 10 days after abandonment.

Assembly Bill 1965 (Yamada), Chapter 234, Statutes of 2014. Authorizes the owner of a food facility to allow a person to bring a dog on outdoor dining areas under specified conditions, e.g., on a lead, and clarifies that a city or county may prohibit that conduct by ordinance.

Assembly Bill 2056 (Dababneh) Signed by the Governor, 9/30/14. Establishes regulations for the pet insurance industry. According to the author, current pet insurance policies are often difficult for pet owners to understand. There are several types of policies that itemize covered treatment, deductibles, and the life-time/per illness maximums. The bill requires pet insurers to disclose this information re their policies so that the pet owner can better determine the appropriate policy to choose.

Senate Bill 688 (Galgiani) Held in Senate Appropriations Committee, possibly because of the amount of taxes the Board of Equalization stated would be lost. The Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs supported this bill which exempted from sales and use taxes those drugs and medicines used or sold by veterinarians to a city, county or other local government animal shelter or to a nonprofit animal organization for the treatment of animals. We pointed out in our communications to the policy committee and to the fiscal committee that many breed clubs have a nonprofit rescue organization which provides housing and veterinary care -- thus keeping the dogs out of city and county shelters -- and the bill would reduce the amount spent for veterinary drugs and medicine for these rescues.

AB 1809 (Maienschein), Chapter 498, Statutes of 2014. Requires a person who wants to a bring a dog into California for resale or change of ownership to obtain a health certificate from a veterinarian dated within 10 days prior to the dog's arrival and submit the certificate to the county health department. States that the person importing the dog is responsible for sending the health certificate to the county health department where the dog is offered for sale or to the county where the person lives who is buying the dog from a source outside California. Note: The bill does not require persons who are bringing dogs into California for an extended period, or moving into California, to file a certificate as long as the dog is not changing ownership. According to the author, the purpose of the bill is to protect consumers from buying or adopting sick dogs and help prevent dogs from being imported into California which may be carrying contagious diseases.