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California Bill No: SB 1578 Author: Alan Lowenthal Senator, 27th District


The Anti-Dog Chaining Bill

 Freedom for thousands... forever!  Only a signature away!

Governor Schwarzenegger needs to sign this bill by September 29th or it is DEAD!


1) Animal activists donated money and walked precincts to elect Alan Lowenthall

2) Senator Lowenthall has endured public ridicule to stand up for this importance piece of legislation

3) Thousands of hours of political activists time, a paid lobbyist, impassioned letters from animal lovers to get this bill through the legislature.


If the Governor is not moved to sign this bill... it was all for nothing!


The opportunity may never come again.


1 Person...1 Letter...1 Phone call...1 E-mail


What if we fail and you did nothing?  Would it have taken just one more letter, just one more fax, just one more call?  It is not about the animal abusers any longer.  It is about us.


Actions in order of effectiveness

The Governors Address:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

(Letters need to be in the mail by Monday at 10:00pm) TOO LATE


The Governors Phone Number:

Press 1 for English
Press 2 to voice your opinion on legislation
Press 4 for senate bill 1578
Press 1 to support


The Governors Fax Number:

(916) 445-4633 fax
(can be tough getting through this week)


The Governors E-mail Address:


(easiest to do, least effective in influencing him)


ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  46-32, 8/31/06 - See bottom of page for vote

SUBJECT:    Dogs:  tethering prohibition

SOURCE:     California Animal Association

DIGEST:   This bill establishes the tethering of a dog to a stationary object, except as          specified, as an infraction or misdemeanor, depending on the offense, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 per dog and/or up to six months in a county jail.

Assembly Amendments add an exemption to the prohibitions in the bill which allow a person to tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog while actively engaged in conduct that is directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock, or conduct that is directly related to 
the business of cultivating agricultural products, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog.  In addition, the amendments allow an animal control officer to issue a correction warning to a person, requiring the owner to correct the violation, in lieu of an       infraction or misdemeanor, unless the violation endangers the health or safety of the animal, the animal has been wounded as a result of the violation, or a correction warning has previously been issued to the individual.


Existing Law  

1.  Provides that any person having the charge or custody of an animal is required to provide it with adequate food, clean water, shelter, exercise and veterinary care.  It provides that no person shall intentionally harm an animal.

2.  A violation of the aforementioned is a wobbler, a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the offense, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $20,000.

3.  Provides that any person keeping an animal restricted by a leash, rope, or chain, must ensure that the animal is affixed in such a manner that the animal has access to shelter, food and water, and that the animal will not entangle or injure itself.  A violation of the aforementioned is a misdemeanor.

4.  Provides that any person transporting an animal in the back of a vehicle must ensure that the animal is contained or cross tethered in a way that ensures the animal will not fall, jump, or be thrown from the vehicle.  A violation of the aforementioned is an infraction.

5.  Provides that an animal control officer may immediately seize an animal when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others.

This bill:

1.  Establishes that any person who tethers, chains, or ties a dog to a house, tree, fence, or other stationary object is guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor, but allows animal control to issue a correction warning in lieu of an infraction of misdemeanor, except if:

A.  The violation endangers the health or safety of 
the animal.

B.  The animal has been wounded as a result of the violation.

C.  A correction warning has been issued previously to the individual.

2.  Allows for the following exemptions to the tether prohibition contained in this bill:

A.  A person to attach a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system, so long as the dog is not attached to the system by a choke or pinch collar.

B.  A person to restrain a dog pursuant to the requirements of a camping or recreational area.

C.  A person to restrain a dog for a reasonable period of time in order to complete a temporary task.

D.  A person to restrain a dog while engaged in, or actively training for, an activity that is conducted pursuant to a valid license if that activity involves a dog.

E.  A person to tether, fasten, chain or tie a dog while actively engaged in shepherding, herding of cattle or livestock, or conducting activities directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog.

3.  Clarifies that this chapter shall not be construed to prohibit a person from walking a dog with a hand-held leash.

4.  Establishes, for this chapter, the following definitions: 

A.  An infraction as punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per dog.

B.  A misdemeanor as punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 per dog, and/or no more than six months in county jail.

C.  "Animal Control" means the municipal or county animal control agency or other entity responsible for enforcing animal-related laws.

D.    "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, organization, trade or professional 
association, firm, limited liability company, joint venture, association, trust, estate, or any other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder, director, employee, agency, or representative thereof.

E.    Defines "agricultural operation" as an activity that is necessary for the commercial growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of livestock or poultry.

F.    "Reasonable Period" means a period of time not to exceed three hours in a 24-hour period, or a time that is otherwise approved by animal control.

FISCAL EFFECT:    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
Local:  Yes

According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, this bill presents potential non-reimbursable costs to local governments for enforcement, offset to some extent by fine revenues.

SUPPORT:   (Verified  8/29/06)

California Animal Association (source)
Action for Animals
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Legislative Action Network
Animal Place
Animal Protection Institute
Animal Switchboard
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
California Alliance for Consumer Protection
California Animal Control Directors Association
California Federation for Animal Legislation
California Lobby for Animal Welfare
California Rifle and Pistol Association
Central Santa Cruz County Animal Services
City of Los Angeles
Doris Day Animal League
Dogs Deserve Better
East Bay Animal Advocates
Hopalong Animal Rescue
In Defense of Animals
Last Chance for Animals
Mark DeSaulnier, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
Mt. Shasta Police Department
Orange County People for Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Pit Bull Rescue Central
San Diego Animal Advocates
United Animal Nations
Welfare of our Furry Friends

OPPOSITION:    (Verified  8/29/06)

Governor's Office of Planning and Research
Pacific Coast Patterdale Terrier Club
The Animal Council
West Los Angeles Responsible Dog Owners

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:    Numerous animal organizations support this bill. The sponsor of this bill, the California Animal Association, notes that chained dogs create a public safety threat.  Further, permanently chained dogs can injure themselves or strangle themselves to death when their collars become embedded in their necks or the chains become entangled with other objects.  The Association states that "California animal control agencies receive hundreds of calls each month from concerned citizens reporting dogs chained to trees, fences, and houses," and that this bill will "free hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs from unhealthy and unhappy lives."

Los Angeles Animal Services argues that "experts agree that chained dogs can become aggressive due to intense confinement, lack of socialization, and the inability to escape from perceived threats."  The agency also notes that "between February 2000 and January 2006 at least 107 people  were attacked or killed by chained dogs in the United States."

Dogs Deserve Better states that "Chained dogs typically lack adequate veterinary care, food, water or shelter. They rarely get exercise or have interaction with their families." 

The Animal Protection Institute indicates that "approximately 80 cities and counties in the United States, including the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, have passed laws banning or carefully regulating the chaining of dogs.  This bill is consistent with this trend as it gives 
animal control throughout California a tool to protect our canine companions from long-term neglect."

ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:    According to The Animal Council "anti-tethering laws have become popular based on the fiction that tethering is abusive and creates dangerously aggressive dogs."  The Council argues that existing law addresses this issue, and notes that a number of local 
tethering laws exist, as well as statewide law under Penal Code section 597t. The Council argues that fencing is not always available, feasible or safe and that tethering may be the best and safest option. The Council argues the bill contains vague standards and could lead to discriminatory enforcement.  The Council notes that this legislation may infringe on current law requiring dogs to be tethered while being transported in truck beds.  Finally, the Council      argues that this bill does not address the need for flexibility for dog owners.



AYES:  Arambula, Baca, Berg, Bermudez, Calderon, Canciamilla, Chan, Chavez, Chu, Cohn, Coto, De La Torre, Dymally, Evans, Frommer, Goldberg, Hancock, Jerome Horton, Jones, Karnette, Klehs, Koretz, Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Lieu, Liu, Montanez, Mullin, Nation, Nava, Negrete McLeod, Oropeza, Pavley, Ridley-Thomas, Ruskin, Saldana, Salinas, Strickland, Torrico, Umberg, Vargas, Wolk, Yee, Nunez


NOES:  Aghazarian, Benoit, Blakeslee, Bogh, Cogdill, Daucher, DeVore, Emmerson, Garcia, Haynes, Shirley Horton, Houston, Huff, Keene, La Malfa, La Suer, Leslie, Matthews, Maze, McCarthy, Mountjoy, Nakanishi, Niello, Parra, Plescia, Richman, Sharon Runner, Spitzer, Tran, Villines, Walters, Wyland

NO VOTE RECORDED:  Bass, Vacancy

JJA:do  9/5/06   Senate Floor Analyses


****  END  ****


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