I. Creates a statewide policy
preference for adoption and owner-redemption. (Civil Code Sec.
1834.4; Food and Agricultural Code Sec. 17005; Penal Code Sec.
II. Emphasizes that public shelters are "depositories of
living animals" (Civil Code Secs. 1815, 1816) responsible for
treating those animals "kindly." (Civil Code Sec. 1834.) Shelters
already had responsibilities for humane treatment, including
reasonable veterinary care, under the Penal Code anti-cruelty
statutes. The Civil Code has been made to correspond to those
duties, although the standard of "kind" treatment may be higher than
III. Provides a list of records that must be kept so that
shelters will be able to track animals in the system. (Food and
Agricultural Code Sec. 32003.) Please see the statute for a list of
the records. Those records must be held for 3 years.
IV. Allows nonprofit animal rescue and adoption groups to
obtain shelter animals who are about to be killed (Food and
Agricultural Code Secs. 31108, 31752, 31752.5, 31753, 31754), if a
group requests the animal at any time before the killing. Groups
cannot demand an animal before the hold period is up, and they might
not have preference over someone who is interested in adopting the
pet. However, the shelter cannot kill an animal if a nonprofit group
has requested the animal. The group may, at the discretion of the
shelter, be required to pay the same fee that any other adopting
person would have paid for that animal.
V. Requires shelters to maintain lost/found lists and to
provide the names and addresses of other shelters in the area. (Food
and Agricultural Code Sec. 32001.)
VI. Requires shelters to use all reasonable means of
checking for owner-identification on strays. (Penal Code Sec.
VII. Allows involuntary gratuitous depositories to accept
freely offered rewards. (Civil Code Sec. 1846.) "Involuntary
depositories" are people, groups, or organizations that voluntarily
pick up an animal "deposited" (lost) involuntarily by the animal's
owner. If the owner has advertised or freely offers a reward, the
person or group or shelter is entitled to receive the reward.
VIII. Allows a judge to prohibit a convicted animal abuser
from having other animals as a condition of probation. (Penal Code
IX. Requires the provision of pre- or post-seizure (of
one's pet) hearings if an owner requests one. (Penal Code Sec.
X. Provides for a holding period that enables working
people an opportunity to adopt animals or to redeem their pets
during non-working hours (Food and Agricultural Code Secs. 31108,
- 4 days, not including the day of impoundment, if the animal is
made available at least one weekday evening until 7 p.m. or one
weekend day; or,
- 6 days if the shelter does not make the animal available under
the user-friendly hours above (3 days for owner-redemption, 3 days
for immediate adoption or owner-redemption); or,
- 4 days if the shelter has fewer than 3 employees or is not
open regular business hours and the shelter provides an
individualized appointment system for owners to look for and/or
redeem their pets.
Please note: The holding periods of the 1998 Animal
Shelter Law do not change the extensive Food and Agricultural Code
provisions that enable shelters to deal with vicious dogs. (Food and
Agricultural Code Secs. 31601-31681.)
XI. Provides for holding "owner"-relinquished pets for
owner-redemption and adoption rather than killing adoptable pets
immediately. (Food and Agricultural Code Sec. 31754). The pet is
held for one day, not including the day of impoundment, for
owner-redemption in case someone has turned him in other than the
owner or the owner regrets having turned the pet in. The pet is held
for another day for immediate adoption or owner-redemption before
the animal can be killed. After July 1, 2001, the holding period for
owner-relinquished pets rises to the same time period as that
provided for strays, except that the period for owner-redemption
will be only one day, with immediate adoption by someone other than
the owner possible after that one day.
Please note: Chapter 57 of the Statutes of 2000 (A.B.
1786) allows puppies or kittens relinquished by the owner to be made
immediately available for adoption. The holding periods of the 1998
Animal Shelter Law apply in all other respects.
XII. Provides the same conditions of holding and care for
pets other than cats and dogs. (Food and Agricultural Code Sec.
XIII. Provides that feral cats can be "owned" and redeemed
or adopted and that a standardized protocol be used to determine
whether a cat is truly feral (Food and Agricultural Code Sec.
31752.5) before killing the cat at the three day mark. Under
previous law, all stray cats were to be held for 72 hours regardless
of how shy they were. Under the 1998 Animal Shelter Law, stray cats
who test as "feral" at the end of 3 days do not have to be held for
the rest of the stray cat holding period (4 or 6 days). However, a
nonprofit rescue and adoption group can adopt the cat before the cat