AB 243 and Other Animal Welfare Bills Clear California Legislature; Await Governor’s SignaturePosted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on September 18, 2009
AB 243 has cleared the California Legislature and now awaits Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature. ALDF provided research and advice to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (who championed the proposal) on the drafting of the bill–a process which began more than a year ago.
Once AB 243 becomes law it will provide broader forfeiture options for seized animals and for mandatory post-conviction possession bans (no owning, maintaining, having custody of, residing with, or caring for any animal) for those convicted of cruelty, neglect or abandonment. For a misdemeanor conviction, the ban will be for a period of time of not less than five years, and for a felony, not less than ten years. The Legislature added a permissive exemption to the bill for livestock owners who successfully demonstrate to the court that the ban "would result in substantial or undue economic hardship to the defendant’s livelihood and that the defendant has the ability to properly care for all livestock in his or her possession." The Legislature also added a provision allowing defendants to petition the court for a reduction in the duration of any ordered ban upon meeting certain requirements.
The final bill that emerged from the Legislature, while not as strong as what was initially introduced, is nonetheless a significant step forward for the protection of animals in California. The provisions contained in AB 243 are vital tools in protecting animal victims from their abusers and in helping to reduce the possibility of new victims. We applaud Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Deborah Knaan for her tireless efforts in drafting and advocating on behalf of the bill, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and his office for championing the bill, Assemblymember Nava for sponsoring the bill, and the California Legislature for passing it.
In addition to AB 243, there are several other key animal welfare bills also awaiting the Governor’s signature.
- AB 241 (also sponsored by Assemblymember Nava) limits to 50 the number of adult dogs or cats that an individual or business which buys or sells wholesale or to the public may possess or control.
- AB 242 (also sponsored by Assemblymember Nava) increases the penalty for being a spectator at a dogfight.
- AB 1122 (sponsored by Assemblymember Lieu) makes it illegal to sell, display or offer for sale or give away, a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk.
- SB 135 (sponsored by Senator Florez) prohibits the tail-docking of cattle.
- SB 318 (sponsored by Senator Calderon) provides for the forfeiture of certain property acquired through dogfighting.
We strongly encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to sign all of these important pro-animal bills into law. Please take a moment today to contact the Governor’s office in support of these bills.
It will only take a moment to voice your support for these important bills. Call 916-445-2841 and follow the prompts given, or email Governor Schwarzenegger here.