BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1824


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          Date of Hearing:  March 15, 2016
          Counsel:               Gabriel Caswell


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                       Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Chair





          AB  
                     1824 (Chang) - As Introduced  February 8, 2016




          SUMMARY:  Expands the situations in which an individual can be  
          charged with causing injury to, or the death of, any guide,  
          signal, or service dog.   Specifically, this bill:

          1)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.

          2)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.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Defines "guide dog" as any guide dog that was trained by a  
            licensed person, as specified.  (Cal. Civ. Code  54.1, subd.  
            (6)(C)(i).)

          2)Defines a "signal dog" as any dog trained to alert an  








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            individual who is deaf or hearing impaired to intruders or  
            sounds.  (Civil Code  54.1, subd. (6)(C)(ii).)

          3)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. subd. (6)(C)(iii).)

          4)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:  (Pen. Code  600.2, subd. (a).)  

             a)   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;   
               (Pen. Code  600.2, subd. (b).)  

             b)   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  
               (Pen. Code  600.2, subd. (c).)  

             c)   Provides that in 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 guide,  
               signal, or service dog for any veterinary bills and  








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               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). (Pen. Code   
               600.2, subd. (d).)  

          5)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:  (Pen. Code  600.5, subd. (a).)

             a)   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 (Pen. Code  600.5, subd. (b).)  

             b)   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).  (Pen. Code  600.5, subd. (b).)  

          6)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. (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (a).)

          7)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. (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (b).)

          8)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. (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (c).)
           
          9)Defines "serious injury" to include "bone fracture, loss or  
            impairment of function of any bodily member, wounds requiring  
            extensive suturing, or serious crippling."  (Pen. Code,  600,  
            subd. (c).)

          10)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. .  (Pen. Code,  600, subd.  
            (d).)

          11)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  








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            disabled or killed, and the salary of the peace officer for  
            the period of time his or her services are lost to the agency.  
             (Pen. Code,  600, subd. (e).)

          12)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.   
            (Pen. Code,  243, subd. (d).)

          13)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. (Pen. Code,  597.)



          14)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. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (b).)

            

          15)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, subd. (c).)










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          16)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.  (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (d).)



          17) Specifies that upon the conviction of a person charged with  
            a violation of this section by causing or 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.  (Pen.  
            Code,  597, subd. (g).)



          18) 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.  (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (g).)


          19)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  








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            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.  (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (h).)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "California took  
            a positive step forward when they adopted legislation to make  
            it a crime to attack a service dog while in performance of its  
            duties. Unfortunately, there are still situations that leave  
            guide dogs and their owners vulnerable.  AB 1824 will make it  
            a crime to attack a service dog regardless of if it is in  
            discharge of its duties. These animals go beyond monetary  
            value by providing a service which countless members of the  
            disabled community depend on. Without the aid of these  
            animals, the independence of their owners is put on hold.  
            Members of the disabled community are likely to miss work or  
            even get injured while trying to get through their day to day  
            life without their service animal. For this purpose, my  
            legislation will also enable victims to receive restitution  
            for any lost wages or medical expenses incurred while they are  
            without the service of their dog." 

          2)The Cost of Injury to Guide and Service Dog:  If a guide dog  
            must be retired due to attacks by people and/or their  
            unleashed dogs, the cost, in both economic and human terms, is  
            significant.  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  








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            years.  Guide Dog Users, Inc., states, "To disrupt the working  
            life of a trained dog guide because a pet owner did not  
            control its dog is a shameful waste."

            The Legislator's Handbook written by Guide Dog Users, Inc.,  
            also states, "Imagine the hurt and rage, the sorrow and  
            frustration at the needless waste when a working dog is  
            changed into a being that cowers and trembles when it?sees  
            another dog and that brings back that fearful, awful moment  
            when, from out of nowhere, it was attacked by a loose dog.   
            Imagine fear so strong that the dog finds it impossible to  
            work for the [person with a disability] to whom it has  
            lovingly and selflessly devoted its life.   Imagine all the  
            emotions felt by the handler as they try to rescue the dog.   
            The handler cannot describe the attacking dog, can only stand  
            alone, angry and afraid, soon realizing that no one will come  
            forward to testify to what has happened.  Every year, [our]  
            members contact us with versions of this tale of horror and  
            needless waste and pain."

          3)Argument in Support:  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." 

          4)Prior Legislation:  AB 2264 (Levine), Statutes of 2014,  
            Chapter 502, allowed a person with a disability who has  
            ownership or custody of a guide, signal, or service dog that  
            has been injured or killed due to the intentional actions of  








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            another individual, as specified, to seek reimbursement from  
            the board for veterinary bills, replacement costs, or other  
            costs deemed reasonable by the court, if the defendant is  
            unable to pay restitution. 

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

          Support
          
          California Council of the Blind

          Opposition

          None

          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Gabriel Caswell / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744