(Spoiler alert: this week’s post has absolutely nothing to do with mediation!)

I am a pet lover. I have 2 English Springer Spaniels who are both rescues thanks to the English Springer Spaniel Rescue Association. Thus, I read with interest anything involving pets, especially dogs.

At the start of each new year, I like to see what new laws our California Legislature has passed. I found it particularly interesting that pets made it into the legislative process this past year.

For example, and has been somewhat publicized, on and after January 1, 2019, a pet store will no longer be able to sell a live dog, cat, or rabbit in its store unless that animal was obtained from a public animal control agency,  shelter,  SPCA type shelter, or rescue group. In short, the store owner can no longer acquire its inventory from “puppy mills” but must acquire such inventory from shelters and rescue groups. Each store owner must keep a record of where the pet came from and to list that source outside of the enclosure housing the pet. Any store owner who violates this provision may be fined $500.   (Assembly Bill No. 485)

So, a couple goes to the pet store and acquires a pet. What happens when they decide to split up, or even, get a divorce? Assembly Bill 2274 provides the answer. It authorizes the court in entering a judgment of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation to decide what to do about the pet. This bill, now Family Law section 2605, authorizes the court upon the request of a party to order a party to care for the pet until final determination of ownership is made.  The court may also assign sole or joint ownership of the pet “…taking into consideration the care of the pet animal…” pending the dissolution or legal separation. Hopefully, by this new law, the best interests of Phydeaux (aka Fido) will now be taken into consideration and taken care of.

I have had several English Springer Spaniels. Our last one, Argus, died of spleen cancer in 2013. At the time, cannabis was available for medicinal use only in humans in California. As my husband and I decided on chemotherapy for Argus, I was very concerned about its effects on him and where I could get ahold of some cannabis to ease his pain. I was not successful.

The Legislature must have been listening. Assembly Bill 2215 now prohibits the Veterinary Medical Board from disciplining, denying, revoking, or suspending the license of a vet solely because he/she discussed the use of cannabis on an animal for medicinal purposes, absent negligence or incompetence. The vet though is NOT authorized to dispense or administer cannabis or cannabis products to an animal but at least, the vet can tell its owner what the dosage should be. (Which is what my quandary was; how much to give Argus without overdosing him!) It is nice to see that a legislature has compassion for our four-legged friends.

In close connection to the medical needs of our four-legged buddies, Senate Bill 1305 now authorizes emergency medical service providers to provide first aid to dogs and cats, including mouth to snout resuscitation. Evidently, under the Veterinary Medicine Act, only veterinarians could render such aid.  This new law, (adding Section 1799.109 to the Health and Safety Code) now authorizes emergency responders to provide basic first aid (including administering oxygen and bandaging to stop the bleeding) to our dogs and cats and limits the civil liability for those doing so.

An odd law having nothing to do with animals unless your dog surfs, is Assembly Bill 1782 which establishes surfing as the official sport of California. So now, California has the golden poppy as its official state flower, the redwood as its official state tree, the California red-legged frog as its official state amphibian, the California grizzly bear as its official state animal,  the Chipped Stone Bear as its official artifact, the West Coast swing as its official state dance, the square dance as its official folk dance, denim as its official state fabric, and the Golden State Trout as its official fish. And now- surfing… our official state sport.  (https://statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/california)

For all those who use the toll lanes in newly purchased motor vehicles with no license plates knowing they will not be caught, Assembly Bill 516 changes that. Starting January 1, 2019, all motor vehicles will now have either temporary paper plates or regular license plates on them so that their drivers will no longer be able to avoid toll violations. Now, when one buys a new motor vehicle, the vehicle will no longer have the registration taped to the window where the toll cameras cannot pick it up, but instead, a nice new temporary paper plate that those toll lane cameras can read and issue violations as necessary.

For those on foot, it is no longer illegal to cross in a pedestrian walk while the red light is flashing. AB 390 now makes it legal for a pedestrian to cross the street at the crosswalk during a countdown signal if there is sufficient time for the pedestrian to get to the other side. Under the old law, once the light started flashing, it was illegal to begin crossing the street.

And not but least, California has passed a law- Assembly Bill 1884 -limiting the use of a single use plastic straw. A full-service restaurant is now prohibited from dispensing plastic straws unless requested for one by the consumer. Straws made of other materials- such as paper, pasta, sugar cane, wood or bamboo are not included in this restriction. So- if you are like me and use straws in beverages, you will now have to request one each time you are served a beverage!

… Just something to think about.


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