2019 Legislative Update

13 Mar 2019 1:29 PM | Anonymous


Animal Welfare

HB 379 by Representative Killebrew and SB 774 by Senator Gruters do the following:

  • Clarify that veterinarians may report animal cruelty without facing disciplinary action under their practice act;
  • Clarify that judges may issue protective orders in domestic violence cases;
  • Clarify that all animals being imported into the state must have a health certificate;
  • Prohibit pet leasing; and
  • Require shelter euthanasia technicians to receive 4 hour of continuing education every 2 years to maintain certification.

Pet Leasing

Besides HB 379/SB 774, pet leasing prohibitions can also be found in SB 316 by Senator Taddeo and SB 1236 by Senator Farmer.  (this is in the A’s bill package above)

Preemption

HB 3 by Representative M. Grant and  SB 1748 Senator Perry does the following:

  • Prohibits local governments from adopting new business regulations.
  • Requires local governments to readopt existing business regulations every two years after meeting a series of requirements, including a fiscal analysis and a supermajority vote to approve.
  • Preempts local regulations of professions and occupations.

This bill would remove pet retail sales ban ordinances that are currently in place and prevent the adoption of future ordinances. (ordinances that meet certain criteria would have to be reevaluated/ adopted every 2 years) To date 65 Florida municipalities have said ‘No’ to puppy mills by adopting an ordinance prohibiting pet retail sales and this bill would take that authority away from local governments. 

Cross Reporting Child and Animal Abuse

SB 1214 by Senator Book

  • Requires child welfare investigators with reasonable cause to suspect abuse, abandonment or neglect of an animal to report to the local animal control authorities within 24 hours;
  • Requires the report of animal abuse to contain specified elements;
  • Requires DCF to include certain training on identifying cruelty to animals and the link between human and animal abuse in the agency’s investigator training program;
  • Provides 2nd degree misdemeanor penalties for a person who is required to report known or suspected abuse of animal and who knowingly or willingly fails to report suspected animal abuse;
  • Requires basic training for animal control officers on detecting child abuse, neglect, and abandonment;
  • Several FL counties are already doing this.  This bill expressly points out the LINK between violence to animals and violence to people. This was attempted over a decade ago and is back for consideration.
Several FL counties are already doing this.  This bill expressly points out the LINK between violence to animals and violence to people. This was attempted over a decade ago and is back for consideration.


Law Enforcement Dogs

HB 67 by Representative Byrd and SB 96 by Senator Bean increase the penalty for offenses committed against police, fire, and search and rescue canines.  Police horses were added. The group Canines United of Jacksonville spearheaded this bill.

 HB 841 by Rep. Hogan Johnson and SB 976 by Senator Powell create the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs program within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Provides funding for continued veterinary care for retired K9 officers/ law enforcement dogs. Solid bill that has been introduced, but not passed, for many years.

Wildlife:

Shark Fins and Ray Parts - HB 99 by Representative Jacobs and SB 352 by Senator Gruters prohibit the sale of shark fins and ray parts. The purpose of the bill is to stop the flow of fins coming to FL’s points of entry and avoid supporting the global trade of fins. No shark fin sales =  no purpose for finning.  

 Shark finning is already banned in Florida, but as other states ban the sale of shark fins, more fins are being imported into Florida.

Emotional Support Animals

HB 721 by Representative Killebrew and SB 1128 by Senator Diaz authorize housing accommodations to request written documentation verifying an individual's disability or disability-related need for an emotional support animal under certain circumstances and specify that an individual is liable for certain damage done by emotional support animal.  The bills also prohibit falsification of written documentation or other misrepresentation and provide penalties.

Commercial Dog Breeders

HB 1409 Representative Avila provides minimum requirements for commercial dog breeders in FL. It requires minimum standards like adequate veterinary care, solid flooring in dog kennels, number of litters permitted per year and per lifetime of female dogs. It also specifies staffing requirements, shelter, feeding frequency, recordkeeping, lighting, indoor enclosure dimensions, retirement and more.

CAPA: Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act

SB 1202 by Senator Rader and HB 1095 prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing animals under certain conditions and requires animal shelters to release animals to rescue organizations under certain conditions.

This legislation would have significant unintended consequences and is contrary to sheltering best practices.

This bill gets introduced every year and never gets traction, but we always keep an eye on it.  Unlikely it will get much support again this year.

Veterinary Medicine

HB 835 by DiCeglie and SB 666 by Senator Hooper define and redefine terms related to the practice of veterinary medicine.


Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations
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