Update Sept. 30, 2010: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed A.B. 2012
Update Aug. 27, 2010: The Assembly has concurred in Senate changes to A.B. 2012, and the bill has now been sent to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.
Earlier report: By a vote of 26-7, the California state senate has passed A.B. 2012, a bill that would increase possible penalties for neglect of an animal and some forms of cruelty.
Under current California law, Cal. Penal Code Sec. 597, someone convicted of neglecting an animal could be sentenced to no more than 6 months in jail or a fine of up to $20,000 or both. Also, unless an abuser "maliciously and intentionally" tortures, maims, mutilates or wounds or intentionally kills an animal, an act of abuse charged as a misdemeanor currently means a sentence of no more than 6 months in jail or a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
Under A.B. 2012 the sentence could be up to one year in jail for those convicted of neglect of an animal and the lesser acts of cruelty as well as the fine up to $20,000. A violator could still be charged as well with a felony.
The bill has already passed the Assembly but has been sent back for concurrence in technical changes.
Assembly Members Ted W. Lieu and Cameron Smyth sponsored the bill.