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2009 California Animal Legislation: Will these laws affect you or your pets?

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 8:51 am in Animal protection legislation.

2009 California Animal legislation as of June 14, 2009, compiled by Paw Pac, California’s Political Action Committee for Animals.

** For copies of bills: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov. You can subscribe for updates.
** All legislators’ and Governor’s address: State Capitol Bldg., Sacramento 95814. Directory: 916-322-9900.
** To find the names of your Assembly Member and Senator: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html
** E-mail addresses follow a formula. Examples: assemblymember.huffman@assembly.ca.gov. or, senator.pavley@sen.ca.gov. Letters, including hand written, by regular mail are always preferable to e-mail.
** Paw PAC 2008 California Voting Chart: http://www.pawpac.org.
** Compiled by: Virginia Handley
** Paw Pac: P.O. Box 475012, San Francisco, CA 94147; 415-646-0622

If you like or dislike any of these laws, write your legislators and the governor and tell them how you feel about it.

Kitten by Bogue.
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ASSEMBLY BILLS
AB 241 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava re: Dog and Cat Breeders. SUPPORT.
Limits the number of unsterilized dogs and cats used for sale or breeding to a total of 50 and allows law enforcement officers to take possession of animals in violation if necessary to protect the health/safety of animals or humans. To Be Heard: Passed the Assembly to Senate Public Safety. Write: Tell the legislators that cat and puppy mills are a source of pet overpopulation and cause suffering to animals who are commonly overcrowded and overbred.

AB 242 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava re: Dog Fighting. SUPPORT.
Increases the penalties for spectators at dog fights to up to a year in the county jail and a fine of up to $5,000. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Public Safety. Write: Tell the legislators that spectators, who are often participants who claim to be spectators, contribute to the illegality and cruelty of dog fighting.

AB 243 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava re: Animal Abuse. SUPPORT.
Mandates the court to prohibit people convicted of animal abuse as part of their probation from residing with or owning/caring for any animals. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly Floor to Senate Public Safety. Write: Tell the legislators that animal abusers, like child abusers, repeat their crimes.

AB 708 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman re: Poaching.
Establishes minimum fine of $5,000 and maximum fine of $40,000 for killing, possessing, or selling illegally killed wildlife. Increases jail time and authorizes Fish & Game to suspend/revoke hunting/fishing license. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Natural Resources. Write: Tell the legislators that poachers consider fines, unless significant, part of the cost of doing business.

AB 979 by Assemblyman Tom Berryhill re: Hunting/Fishing. OPPOSE.
Declares that the Fish & Game Commission and the Department are the only ones who can regulate hunting/fishing thereby prohibiting any local ordinances. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Natural Resources. Write: Tell the legislators that AB 979 is a blatant power grab by hunters to gain access to land whether locals want it or not.

AB 1122 by Assemblyman Ted Lieu re: Animal Sales. SUPPORT.
Prohibits the sale of animals on any street, highway, parking lot, or carnival. Exempts county/state fairs and 4-H events. Also exempts shelters and rescue groups adopting out animals. Amended to no longer prohibit animal sales at flea markets/swap meets. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Business & Professions. Write: Tell the legislators that puppies, smuggled in from Mexico and sold on roadsides, are of particular concern who are often neglected and sick.

AB 1423 by Assemblyman Tom Berryhill re: Hunting Clubs. OPPOSE.
Provides incentives for private land owners to open their land for hunting through SHARE (Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement), such as lowering/exempting hunting club fees, raising the penalty from infraction to misdemeanor for trespassing or interfering with hunting, including hunting dog training, and removing the existing requirement that there be “sufficient interest” before the SHARE program is implemented. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Natural Resources. Write: Tell the legislators that because there are less hunters, hunting organizations want more power and more access to private property to encourage more hunting.

AB 1437 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman re: Hens. SUPPORT.
Prohibits the importation of eggs that come from factory farms not in compliance with California law going into effect in 2015 (hens must be able to spread their wings). To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Food & Agriculture. June 16. Write: Tell the legislators that AB 1437 protects animals from inhumane, overcrowded conditions and protects the health of California consumers.

AB 1442 by Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee re: Wildlife. OPPOSE.
Requires the Wildlife Conservation Board and the Fish & Game Department to determine what areas they most want access to for hunting/fishing. If the Board leases property to a nonprofit organization, they must allow hunting. AB 1442 allows prizes and inducements for killing any “game species” (deer, elk, antelope, pigs, bears, mountain lions, jackrabbits, squirrels) and prohibits anyone from removing a collar from a hunting dog. To Be Heard: Passed Assembly to Senate Natural Resources. Write: Tell the legislators that AB 1442 is another blatant attempt by hunters to control our wildlife, their habitat, and the Fish & Game Department who regulate hunting. Offering prizes for killing is an effort to get around the current prohibition on bounties.

ACR 74 by Assemblyman Tony Portantino re: Animal Shelters. SUPPORT.
A resolution, not a law, to encourage shelters to have programs of low cost or free spay/neuter, foster care, evening/weekend/offsite adoptions, medical/behavioral rehabilitation, and trap/neuter/release of feral cats. To Be Heard: Assembly Business & Professions. Write: Tell the legislators that shelters should be encouraged to eliminate/minimize the killing of animals regardless of whether or not they call themselves “No Kill.”

Harbor seal pup. Photo by Marine Mammal Center rescue volunteer Rose Kerr
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SENATE BILLS
SB 135 by Senator Dean Florez re: Tail Docking of Cattle. SUPPORT.
Amends existing law prohibiting tail docking of horses to include dairy cows. To Be Heard: Passed the Senate to Assembly Public Safety. June 23. Write: Tell the legislators that tail docking is a painful and unnecessary mutilation. Cows need their tails to protect them from flies and for communication.

SB 250 by Senator Dean Florez re: Spay/Neuter. SUPPORT.
Requires owners/custodians of dogs to spay/neuter them unless they have an unaltered dog license. Prohibits anyone who owns/keeps/harbors unspayed/unneutered cats from “roaming free.” Custodian is defined as anyone who provides care or sustenance of the animal on their property for 30 days. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Local Government. Write: Tell the legislators that unaltered dogs/cats cause overpopulation resulting in their deaths and increasing animal control costs.

SB 318 by Senator Ron Calderon re: Dog fighting Forfeitures. SUPPORT.
Authorizes the forfeiture of assets acquired by dog fighting participants, organizers, trainers,  and property owners who knowingly allow their premises to be used for dog fighting and those who steal animals for use as bait for dog fight training. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Public Safety. Write: Tell the legislators that forfeitures for dog fighting are needed to enhance enforcement and penalties for a cruel and illegal activity.

SB 428 by Senator Christine Kehoe re: Seals. SUPPORT.
Declares a beach park in San Diego to also be a marine mammal park, thus allowing seals to use the beach. They are in danger of being evicted. The City Council may vote for this alternative if SB 428 passes. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Natural Resources. June 22. Write: Tell the legislators the beach provides historical and needed habitat for the seals while educating the public who want to protect them.

SB 448 by Senator Fran Pavley re: Safe Harbor Program. SUPPORT.
Establishes a program to encourage landowners to conserve their land to benefit endangered and threatened wildlife. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife. Write: Tell the legislators that endangered and threatened wildlife depend on private land for habitat.

SB 609 by Senator Dennis Hollingsworth re: Crocodiles/Alligators. OPPOSE.
Repeals existing law going into effect in 2010 that prohibits the selling and importation of crocodile and alligator products for commercial purposes. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife. Write: Tell the legislators that SB 609 is a bill for the skin trade and has nothing to do with conservation. Many of the alligator skins come from alligator factory farms, which are overcrowded and inhumane. Legal trade covers up poaching.

SB 762 by Senator Sam Aanestad re: Cat De-Clawing. OPPOSE.
Prohibits any city or county from passing any ordinance that affects the “healing arts” professions, such as veterinarians, that are regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs. To Be Heard: Passed Senate to Assembly Business & Professions. June 16. Write: Tell the legislators that SB 752 is a dangerous precedent removing power of locals to pass stronger laws than the state. It is an attempt by the Calif. Veterinary Medical Assn. to prohibit any de-clawing bans such as that passed in West Hollywood. It is a blatant and unwarranted power grab.

Deer. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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INACTIVE BILLS
Inactive bills were defeated or dropped for 2009, but may be pursued in 2010.

AB 233 by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth re: Pet Adoption. SUPPORT.
Would have allowed deduction of pet adoption costs up to $100 on state income taxes when adopted from shelters and rescue groups.
AB 1224 by Assemblyman Mike Eng: Hit & Run. SUPPORT.
Would have required motorists who hit pets or livestock to attempt to help them and report it to authorities, such as police or animal control.
SB 416 by Senator Dean Florez re: Antibiotics. SUPPORT.
Would have encouraged schools to not serve poultry and meat products treated with antibiotics starting 2012.
SB 536 by Senator Dennis Hollingsworth re: Hunting Clubs. OPPOSE.
Would have removed restrictions and fees on hunting clubs.
SB 753 by Senator Gil Cedillo re: Kangaroos. OPPOSE.
Would have allowed importation of kangaroo products repealing any restrictions put into the law last year.

Golden retriever puppy
golden ret.

BUDGET ACTIONS
Animal Shelters Holding Periods. OPPOSE.
Suspends for a year, by lowering the minimum holding period from 6 or 4 days (if open one night or weekend day) to 3 days in order to reduce state mandated funding (several million dollars a year) to comply with the law. Write: Governor Schwarzenegger. Tell him to do all he can to assist the shelters in keeping and adopting out animals.

State Parks. OPPOSE.
Closes 220 out of 279 state parks to reduce expenses. Write: Governor Schwarzenegger. Tell him closing parks not only loses entrance fees, but opens the unprotected parks to poaching and vandalism.

Bullfrog. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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CALIFORNIA FISH & GAME COMMISSION
1416 – 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; e-mail fgc@fgc.ca.gov

Turtles/Frogs.
The Commission is considering a “possible course of action” on the importation of turtles and frogs for the live animal markets and the pet trade. To Be Heard: Possibly September. Write: Tell the Commissioners that turtles/frogs are invasive species, often diseased, who compete with/kill our native wildlife, such as the Western Pond Turtle and Red Legged Frog. Their importation and sale should be banned. Thank them for considering the issue and urge them to act before September as these animals are coming in by the ton in the meantime.

Exotic Animals.
As a result of a court case, the Fish & Game Department was instructed to set up an inspection program of exotic animal facilities that does not include letting veterinarians paid by permittees to sign off on inspections declaring humane standards have been met. In spite of recommendations given to the Department by their Exotic Animal Advisory Committee, the Department/Commission has yet to set up the program or change the regulations. Write: Tell the Commissioners to take action to amend the regulations to comply with the law that requires the department to do the inspections themselves or contract it out.

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