Florida State SealThe best way to show legislators that animal protection is an important issue is for animal advocates to communicate with their elected officials.

Legislators do care what constituents (voters) think about issues. After all, elected officials generally want to be re-elected, and that means adequately addressing matters important to their constituents.

Please contact your state senator and state representative and ask that they support the following bills.

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May 3 was the last day of the 2013 Legislative Session.

 
   
 
 

SB 504 and HB 851 — Animal Cruelty
Senate Bill 504, introduced by Senator Jeff Brandes, and House Bill 851, introduced by Representative Jared Moskowitz, would strengthen Florida's animal cruelty law by specifying that a person who commits multiple acts of cruelty against one animal or acts of cruelty against more than one animal may be charged with a separate offense for each act, and by making animal fighting punishable under Florida's anti-racketeering (RICO) law. HB 851 would also prohibit the artificial coloring and sale of baby chickens, ducklings and rabbits.

Status: On June 28, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 851 into law! On April 17, HB 851 passed the Florida House of Representatives with a 118-0 vote! On April 26, the Florida Senate also passed HB 851, which had been substituted for SB 504. The vote was 35-0.

Please thank Senator Brandes and Representative Moskowitz for introducing this important legislation.
• Senator Jeff Brandes. E-mail: brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
• Representative Jared Evan Moskowitz. Click here to send an e-mail to Rep. Moskowitz.

 
 

SB 674 and HB 997 — Animal Shelters and Animal Control Agencies
Senate Bill 674, introduced by Senator Bill Montford, and House Bill 997, introduced by Representatives W. Travis Cummings and Jimmy Patronis, would require public or private animal shelters and animal control agencies to make publicly available data about the number of dogs and cats taken in and how many were adopted, euthanized, etc. The bills would provide the public with information to better understand the animal overpopulation problem, and hopefully aid in the crafting of solutions.

Status: On April 24, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 674 into law. On April 17, the Florida House of Representatives substituted SB 674 for HB 997 and passed the bill 114-0. On April 11, SB 674 passed the Florida Senate with a 40-0 vote.

 
 

SB 650 — Artificial Coloring and Sale of Certain Animals
Senate Bill 650, introduced by Senator Maria Sachs, would reinstate important protections for animals that were repealed in the 2012 legislative session. SB 650 would prohibit the dyeing or artificial coloring of rabbits, chickens and other animals. The bill would also make it unlawful to sell or give away baby chickens or ducklings under 4 weeks of age or rabbits under 2 months of age.

Bunnies, chicks or ducklings are often purchased on a whim by people unaware of the time and expense that is required to properly care for them. Allowing the coloring of animals, and the sale of baby animals, makes it more likely that the animals will be neglected or abandoned.

Status: On April 24, SB 650 passed the Florida Senate with a 37-0 vote! The protections provided animals under SB 650 were included in SB 504/HB 851 (see above).

Please thank Senator Sachs for introducing this important legislation.
• Senator Maria Lorts Sachs. E-mail: sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov

 
 

SB 1320 and HB 1121 — Community Cats
Senate Bill 1320, introduced by Senator Darren Soto, and House Bill 1121, introduced by Representative Holly Merrill Raschein, would specifically recognize that it is legal to feed and care for feral/free-roaming cats, as long as certain requirements are met (cats are vaccinated, sterilized, and ear-tipped). The legislation would also provide legal protections for caregivers and veterinarians who care for "community cats."

Status: SB 1320 and HB 1121 did not make it out of committees before the end of the session.

Please thank Senator Soto and Representative Raschein for introducing this legislation.
• Senator Darren Soto. E-mail: soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov
• Representative Holly Merrill Raschein. Click here to send an e-mail to Rep. Raschein.

 
 

SB 1596 and HB 417 — Commercial Breeding of Animals
Senate Bill 1596, introduced by Senator Darren Soto, and House Bill 417, introduced by Representative Bobby Powell, would require registration and annual inspection of commercial dog or cat breeders ("commercial breeder" would be defined as anyone engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale who possesses 11 or more intact female animals). The bill would also require commercial breeders in Florida who sell pets online to meet minimal housing and care standards (currently, a loophole in federal law allows Internet-based puppy mills/dealers to avoid meeting the basic requirements of the Animal Welfare Act).

Status: SB 1596 and HB 417 did not advance out of committees.

Please thank Senator Soto and Representative Powell for introducing this legislation.
• Senator Darren Soto. E-mail: soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov
• Representative Bobby Powell. Click here to send an e-mail to Rep. Powell.

 
 

SB 1614 and HB 1257 — Sales Of Dogs And Cats
Senate Bill 1614, introduced by Senator Eleanor Sobel, and House Bill 1257, introduced by Representative Jared Moskowitz, would strengthen protections for animals offered for sale in Florida, and would also protect consumers. Among other provisions, the bill would require that the name and address of the breeder of the animal be included on the official certificate of veterinary inspection that is provided to the consumer; it would also be required that the certificate be displayed next to the animal for sale at retail pet stores or on the webpage on which the animal appears for sale. SB 1614 would also prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at flea markets, parking lots and along any roadside.

Status: SB 1614 and HB 1257 did not advance out of committees.

Please thank Senator Sobel and Representative Moskowitz for introducing this legislation.
• Senator Eleanor Sobel. E-mail: sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov
• Representative Jared Evan Moskowitz. Click here to send an e-mail to Rep. Moskowitz.

   
 

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