AB1634 Unleashes California Dog Vigilantes


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Mar 14, 2008
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Revised California AB1634 Unleashes
Animal Rights Vigilantes On Dog Owners

A Complaint Does Not Require Proof In Court

American Sporting Dog Alliance

SACRAMENTO, CA – Animal rights extremists would be given unchecked vigilante powers to attack dog owners under a revision to AB1634, which is now before the legislature.

The Senate Local Government Committee will hear and vote on the bill this coming Wednesday, June 25th, in Room 112 of the State Capitol. The hearing will start at 9:30 AM. AB 1634 originally was a statewide mandate for spaying or neutering almost all dogs. It was defeated last year, but has been given new life through an agreement by its primary sponsor, Rep. Lloyd Levine, and Senate Local Government Committee Chairman Gloria Negrete McLeod.

On the surface, the revised legislation removes mandatory spay and neuter, which has lulled some dog owners into thinking that this issue has been dropped.

However, an analysis of the legislation by the American Sporting Dog Alliance shows that the revised bill approaches mandatory spay and neuter through a backdoor approach that is far more devastating to dog owners than the original version.

The legislation empowers anyone to make a complaint alleging that any dog owner is in violation of any law or local ordinance. The complaint does not have to be proven, and dog owners are denied the right to challenge a complaint in a court of law or through an administrative review process.

A simple complaint establishes guilt under the revised legislation, and “guilt” translates into a choice between paying a high fine (called a civil penalty, which is much more than a semantic difference) or spaying and neutering one’s dog or dogs. People who are accused of any violation are denied their day in court, and have no appeal.

This legislative sleight of hand would allow animal rights activists to act as vigilantes by searching the state and reporting any dog owner who does something they don’t like, even if their complaints are pure fiction.

Here is how the legislation sets up a kangaroo court, with animal rights fanatics being given the power of judge, jury and hangman. The following material is a list of direct quotes from the legislation in italics, and some non-italicized commentary by ASDA:

· “The owner of a nonspayed or unneutered dog that is the subject of a complaint shall be cited and pay a civil penalty as provided in this section. This civil penalty shall be in addition to any fine, fee, or penalty imposed under any other provision of law or local ordinance.”

· “The owner of the dog shall pay the civil penalty to the local animal control agency within 30 business days of the citation. The local animal control agency shall waive the civil penalty if, within 14 business days of the citation, the owner of the dog presents written proof from a licensed veterinarian that the dog was spayed or neutered.”

· “ ’Complaint’ means an oral or written complaint to a local animal control agency that alleges that the dog or the owner of the dog has violated this division, any other provision of state law that relates to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance. ‘Complaint’ also means the observation by an employee or officer of a local animal control agency of behavior by a dog or the owner of a dog that violates this division, any other provision of state law that relates to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance.”

· “The civil penalties shall be as follows:(1) On the first occurrence, fifty dollars ($50). (2) On the second occurrence for the same dog, one hundred dollars ($100). (3) On the third occurrence for the same dog, the spaying or neutering of the dog by order of the local animal control agency, with the owner paying the cost of the procedure.”

· “ ‘Local animal control agency’ means any city or county animal control agency or other entity responsible for enforcing animal-related laws or local animal control ordinances.” This includes Humane Societies and other animal welfare organizations empowered to enforce animal cruelty or other dog laws.

The only exclusion is that a complaint about barking dogs does not trigger the enforcement actions of this legislation. All other alleged dog law violations are included.

The legislation does not require an allegation to be proven, and does not allow an animal control agency the discretionary power to review any complaint for its merits. A simple complaint translates into guilt.

Using animal cruelty laws as an example, a complaint can be filed by anyone who believes or claims that someone is not taking good care of an animal. They don’t have to prove it. All they have to do is make a complaint. Similar cruelty complaints could be lodged against the owner of a dog being hunted or competing in a field trial during bad weather.

Another example is a complaint about alleged leash law violations. Someone could complain that a dog that is being hunted or is competing in a field trial violates a leash law. This, too, would not have to be proven.

Still another example would be if an animal rights activist trespassed on private property, and a dog acted defensively by barking. Such a dog could be accused of being a dangerous dog, simply for protecting its home against a stranger.

The legal trick is to call an alleged violation an “administrative” issue, rather than a crime or a violation of civil law. For crimes or violations of civil law, a person is entitled to defend him or herself in court, and the burden of proof is on the state.

For administrative actions, those guarantees of due process under the law are denied to dog owners.

There is no requirement for proof of any kind. There is no opportunity for a dog owner to defend him/herself. There is no appeal.

Another spin-off of this legislation is that local officials would be under continual siege by animal rights groups to adopt new animal ordinances.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges all California dog owners to contact the members of the Senate Local Government Committee immediately (remember that the hearing is Wednesday) and express your opposition to this legislation, called AB1634.

Here is contact information for committee members:

Peter Detwiler, Staff Director
Fax: (916) 322-0298
This is a VERY important contact!

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (Chair)
State Capitol, Room 2059
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4032
Fax (916) 322-0298

Senator Dave Cox (Vice Chair)
State Capitol, Room 2068
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4001
Fax: (916) 324-2680

Senator Tom Harman
State Capitol, Room 2052
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4035
Fax: (916) 445-9263

Senator Christine Kehoe
State Capitol, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4039
Fax: (916) 327-2188

Senator Michael Machado
State Capitol, Room 5066
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4005
Fax: (916) 323-2304

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life. Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org. Our email is ASDA@csonline.net.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.


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