Assembly Bill 4022 sponsored by A/M Rosenthal and co-sponsored by A/M Mosley has to do with companion animals. A/M Rosenthal introduced the bill on January 30th; it was sent to Agriculture. A04022 hasn’t yet come up for a vote; A/M Rosenthal is a Member of the Committee. The main point of A04022 is to strengthen the rules for how to treat companion animals and to stiffen the penalties for breaking those rules.

Current law already puts some restraints on the treatment of companion animals. Many local jurisdictions have found these restraints insufficient and have created tougher rules. A04022 aims to streamline these differing rules and provide better guidance for law enforcement. Tethering is defined as tying a companion animal to a fixed object. It does not include the use of a leash.

A04022 makes tethering illegal unless a particular type of collar is used and the tether is light and long. It bans tethering under any circumstances during bad weather or for puppies. All dogs must be tethered separately. The maximum tether time is set to three hours. Unsafe conditions make tethering illegal. Dogs can’t be tethered from 11pm to 6am. There are a few other exceptions and provisions set in the rules.

Violation of these rules is set as a Class A misdemeanor on a first offence. Bizarrely, violation on a second offence is set as a Class B misdemeanor — a lesser sentence. I’m not sure why a repeat offender faces less penalty than a first offender; that seems bass akwards. A04022 also, confusingly, refers to companion animals but seems to assume that the only form of companion animal is a companion dog.

I’m sympathetic to the principles behind this legislation. But I’m confused by the assumptions about companion animals and the law seems to have strange technical features. Therefore, I’d vote NO on this bill.


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