Law:Division 14.5. Regulation Of Cats (California)

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Chapter 1. Regulation Of Cats Generally

Ca Codes (fac:31751-31754) Food And Agricultural Code Section 31751-31754



31751. For the purposes of this division, each member of a litter of kittens, weaned or unweaned, shall be treated as an individual animal.

31751.3. (a) (1) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), no public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group shall sell or give away to a new owner any cat that has not been spayed or neutered. (2) For the purposes of this section, a "rescue group" is a for-profit or not-for-profit entity, or a collaboration of individuals with at least one of its purposes being the sale or placement of cats that have been removed from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, or humane shelter or that have been previously owned by any person other than the original breeder of that cat. (b) (1) If a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state certifies that a cat is too sick or injured to be spayed or neutered, or that it would otherwise be detrimental to the health of the cat to be spayed or neutered, the adopter or purchaser shall pay the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group a deposit of not less than forty dollars ($40), and not more than seventy-five dollars ($75). (2) The entity shall establish the amount of the deposit at the level it determines is necessary to encourage the spaying or neutering of cats. (3) The deposit shall be temporary, and shall only be retained until the cat is healthy enough to be spayed or neutered, as certified by a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state. (4) The cat shall be spayed or neutered within 14 business days of that certification. (5) The adopter or purchaser shall obtain written proof of spaying or neutering from the veterinarian performing the operation. (6) If the adopter or purchaser presents proof of spaying or neutering to the entity from which the cat was obtained within 30 business days of obtaining the proof, the adopter or purchaser shall receive a full refund of the deposit. (c) Public animal control agencies or shelters, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelters, humane society shelters, and rescue groups may enter into cooperative agreements with each other and with veterinarians in lieu of requiring spaying and neutering deposits to carry out this section. (d) Any funds from unclaimed deposits made pursuant to this section, as it read on January 1, 1999, and any funds from deposits unclaimed after January 1, 2000, may be expended only for programs to spay or neuter cats and dogs, including agreements with a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a humane society or licensed veterinarian, to operate a program to spay or neuter cats and dogs. (e) This section only applies to a county that has a population exceeding 100,000 persons as of January 1, 2000, and to cities within that county.

31751.5. Whenever a city or county requires cat license tags, any such tag shall be issued for one-half or less of the fee required for a cat, if a certificate is presented from a licensed veterinarian that the cat has been spayed or neutered.


31751.6. Any licensed cattery may be exempted pursuant to regulation or ordinance from any requirement to obtain a license tag for each cat within the cattery.


31751.7. (a) The owner of a nonspayed or unneutered cat that is impounded once by a city or county animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or humane society, shall be fined thirty-five dollars ($35) on the first occurrence, fifty dollars ($50) on the second occurrence, and one hundred dollars ($100) for the third or subsequent occurrence. These fines are for unneutered impounded animals only, and are not in lieu of any fines or impound fees imposed by any individual city, county, public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, or humane society shelter. (b) An animal control officer, humane officer, police officer, peace officer, or any agency authorized to enforce the Penal Code may write citations with a civil penalty stated in an amount corresponding to the violation as provided in subdivision (a). The fines shall be paid to the local municipality or public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, or humane society shelter. Any funds collected under this section shall be expended for the purpose of humane education, programs for low cost spaying and neutering of cats, and any additional costs incurred by the animal shelter in the administration of the requirements of this division. (c) Local ordinances concerning the adoption or placement procedures of any public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group shall be at least as restrictive as this division. (d) This section applies to each county and cities within each county, regardless of population. (e) No city or county, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or humane society is subject to any civil action by the owner of a cat that is spayed or neutered in accordance with this section.


31752. (a) The required holding period for a stray cat impounded pursuant to this division shall be six business days, not including the day of impoundment, except as follows: (1) If the public or private shelter has made the cat available for owner redemption on one weekday evening until at least 7:00 p.m. or one weekend day, the holding period shall be four business days, not including the day of impoundment. (2) If the public or private shelter has fewer than three full-time employees or is not open during all regular weekday business hours, and if it has established a procedure to enable owners to reclaim their cats by appointment at a mutually agreeable time when the public or private shelter would otherwise be closed, the holding period shall be four business days, not including the day of impoundment. Except as provided in Sections 17006 and 31752.5, stray cats shall be held for owner redemption during the first three days of the holding period, not including the day of impoundment, and shall be available for owner redemption or adoption for the remainder of the holding period. (b) Except as provided in Section 17006, any stray cat that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to the euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled euthanasia of that animal. In addition to any required spay or neuter deposit, the public or private shelter, at its discretion, may assess a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption fee, for animals adopted or released. The public or private shelter may enter into cooperative agreements with any animal rescue or adoption organization. (c) During the holding period required by this section and prior to the adoption or euthanasia of a cat impounded pursuant to this division, a public or private shelter shall scan the cat for a microchip that identifies the owner of that cat and shall make reasonable efforts to contact the owner and notify him or her that his or her cat is impounded and is available for redemption.


31752.2. (a) Upon relinquishment of a cat to a public or private shelter, the owner of that cat shall present sufficient identification to establish his or her ownership of the cat and shall sign a statement that he or she is the lawful owner of the cat. (b) Any person who provides false information pursuant to this subdivision about his or her ownership of the cat shall be liable to the true owner of the cat in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000).

31752.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following: (1) Domestic cats' temperaments range from completely docile indoor pets to completely unsocialized outdoor cats that avoid all contact with humans. (2) "Feral cats" are cats with temperaments that are completely unsocialized, although frightened or injured tame pet cats may appear to be feral. (3) Some people care for or own feral cats. (4) Feral cats pose particular safety hazards for shelter employees. (5) It is cruel to keep feral cats caged for long periods of time; however, it is not always easy to distinguish a feral cat from a frightened tame cat. (b) For the purposes of this section, a "feral cat" is defined as a cat without owner identification of any kind whose usual and consistent temperament is extreme fear and resistance to contact with people. A feral cat is totally unsocialized to people. (c) Notwithstanding Section 31752, if an apparently feral cat has not been reclaimed by its owner or caretaker within the first three days of the required holding period, shelter personnel qualified to verify the temperament of the animal shall verify whether it is feral or tame by using a standardized protocol. If the cat is determined to be docile or a frightened or difficult tame cat, the cat shall be held for the entire required holding period specified in Section 31752. If the cat is determined to be truly feral, the cat may be euthanized or relinquished to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal adoption organization that agrees to the spaying or neutering of the cat if it has not already been spayed or neutered. In addition to any required spay or neuter deposit, the pound or shelter, at its discretion, may assess a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption fee, for the animal released.


31753. Any rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, potbellied pig, bird, lizard, snake, turtle, or tortoise that is legally allowed as personal property and that is impounded in a public or private shelter shall be held for the same period of time, under the same requirements of care, and with the same opportunities for redemption and adoption by new owners or nonprofit, as defined in Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organizations as provided for cats and dogs. Section 17006 shall also apply to these animals. In addition to any required spay or neuter deposit, the public or private shelter, at its discretion, may assess a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption fee, for animals adopted by new owners or released to nonprofit animal rescue or adoption organizations pursuant to this section.


31754. (a) Except as provided in Section 17006, any animal relinquished by the purported owner that is of a species impounded by public or private shelters shall be held for the same holding periods, with the same requirements of care, applicable to stray dogs and cats in Sections 31108 and 31752, and shall be available for owner redemption or adoption for the entire holding period. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), kittens or puppies relinquished by the purported owner, or brought in by any other person with authority to relinquish them, to public or private shelters, may be available immediately for adoption. (c) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2002.


Chapter 2. Special Provisions Applicable To Counties With A Population Of Less Than 100,000 Persons

Ca Codes (fac:31760-31765) Food And Agricultural Code Section 31760-31765



31760. (a) This chapter only applies to a county that has a population of less than 100,000 persons as of January 1, 2000, and to cities within that county. A county whose population exceeds 100,000 persons in a year subsequent to January 1, 2000, shall be subject to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 31751) commencing on January 1 of the year immediately following the year in which the population of that county exceeds 100,000 persons. (b) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group shall sell or give away any cat that has not been spayed or neutered. (c) A public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group may not transfer to a new owner a cat that has not been spayed or neutered, except as provided in subdivision (d). (d) A public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group may transfer to a new owner a cat that has not been spayed or neutered only if the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group does both of the following: (1) Requires a written agreement, executed by the recipient, acknowledging the cat is not spayed or neutered and the recipient agrees in writing to be responsible for ensuring the cat will be spayed or neutered within 30 business days after the agreement is signed. (2) Receives from the recipient a sterilization deposit of not less than forty dollars ($40) and not more than seventy-five dollars ($75), the terms of which are part of the written agreement executed by the recipient under this section. (e) Public animal control agencies or shelters, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelters, humane society shelters, and rescue groups may enter into cooperative agreements with each other and with veterinarians in lieu of requiring spaying and neutering deposits to carry out this section.


31761. (a) A spaying or neutering deposit may be either of the following: (1) A portion of the adoption fee or other fees rendered in acquiring the cat, which will enable the adopter to take the cat for spaying or neutering to a veterinarian with whom the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group has an agreement that provides that the veterinarian will bill the shelter directly for the sterilization. (2) A deposit that is both of the following: (A) Refundable to the recipient if proof of spaying or neutering of the cat is presented to the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group not more than 30 business days after the date the cat is spayed or neutered. (B) Forfeited to the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group if proof of spaying or neutering is not presented to the animal shelter within 30 business days. (b) Deposits shall be in the amount determined by the shelter, but shall not be less than forty dollars ($40) and shall not exceed seventy-five dollars ($75). (c) All spaying or neutering deposits forfeited or unclaimed under this section shall be retained by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group and shall be used by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group only for the following purposes: (1) A program to spay or neuter dogs and cats. (2) A public education program to reduce and prevent overpopulation of dogs and cats, and the related costs to local government. (3) A followup program to ensure that dogs and cats transferred by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group are spayed or neutered in accordance with the agreement executed under subdivision (d) of Section 31760. (4) Any additional costs incurred by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group in the administration of the requirements of this chapter.


31762. (a) (1) If a recipient fails to comply with the spaying or neutering agreement within 30 business days after the agreement is signed, the recipient shall forfeit the sterilization deposit and is subject to a fine pursuant to Section 31763. (2) An animal control officer, humane officer, police officer, peace officer, or any agency authorized to enforce the Penal Code may write citations with a civil penalty stated in an amount corresponding to the violation as provided in Section 31763. The fines shall be paid to the local municipality or public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group. Any funds collected under this section shall be expended for the purpose of humane education, programs for low cost spaying and neutering of cats and any additional costs incurred by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group in the administration of the requirements of this chapter. This subdivision is applicable within any county. (3) If the owner, at any time subsequent to 30 business days after the spaying or neutering agreement was signed, provides proof of spaying or neutering, the deposit shall be forfeited, but any fine levied but not yet paid, shall be waived. (b) A public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group may extend the date by which spaying or neutering is to be completed at its discretion for good cause shown. Any extension shall be in writing. (c) If a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state certifies that a cat is too sick or injured to be spayed or neutered, or that it would otherwise be detrimental to the health of the cat to be spayed or neutered, the adopter or purchaser shall pay the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group a deposit of not less than forty dollars ($40), and not more than seventy-five dollars ($75). The entity shall establish the amount of the deposit at the level it determines is necessary to encourage the spaying or neutering of cats. The deposit shall be temporary, and shall be retained only until the cat is healthy enough to be spayed or neutered as certified by a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state. The cat shall be spayed or neutered within 14 business days of that certification. The adopter or purchaser shall obtain written proof of spaying or neutering from the veterinarian performing the operation. If the adopter or purchaser presents proof of spaying or neutering to the entity from which the cat was obtained within 30 business days, the adopter or purchaser shall receive a full refund of the deposit. (d) If an adopted cat dies within the spaying or neutering period provided for in the written agreement pursuant to Section 31760, subdivision (c) shall not apply to the cat. In that case, the recipient may receive a reimbursement of the sterilization deposit by submitting to the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group within the sterilization period a signed letter from a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state stating that the animal has died. The letter shall include a description of the cat.


31763. (a) (1) A person who commits any violation of subdivision (b) is subject to a civil penalty of not less than fifty dollars ($50) on a first violation of subdivision (b), and a civil penalty of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) on any second or subsequent violation of subdivision (b). (2) An action for a penalty proposed under this section may be commenced by the administrator of the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group from which the recipient obtained the animal that is the subject of the violation in a court of competent jurisdiction. (b) A person is subject to the civil penalties pursuant to subdivision (a) if that person does any of the following: (1) Falsifies any proof of spaying or neutering submitted for the purpose of compliance with this chapter. (2) Provides to a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group or a licensed veterinarian inaccurate information regarding ownership of any cat required to be submitted for spaying or neutering under this chapter. (3) Submits to a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group false information regarding sterilization fees or fee schedules. (4) Issues a check for insufficient funds for any spaying or neutering deposit required under this chapter. (c) All penalties collected under this section shall be retained by the public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group imposing the penalties, to be used solely for purposes provided for under subdivision (c) of Section 31761.


31764. Local ordinances concerning the adoption or placement procedures of any animal shelter shall be at least as restrictive as this chapter.

31765. Whenever a county, or a city that is within a county to which this chapter applies, requires cat license tags, the tag shall be issued for one-half or less of the fee required for a cat, if a certificate is presented from a licensed veterinarian that the cat has been spayed or neutered.


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