State Legislative Alerts:

HB 417 & SB 1596 criminalize breeders & impose federal regs

 FAKC opposes these anti-breeder bills!

House Bill 417 and Senate Bill 1596, duplicates introduced in the 2013 Florida legislature, would subject all breeders of 11 or more intact female dogs and/or cats to all of the federal government's regulations over the handling, care, treatment, and transportation of dogs and cats.

The bills provide that all breeders must register with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and unless and until that department inspects an approves the breeder's application, any breeder who breeds any dog or cat would be committing a third degree felony. A registration would be valid for two years. In addition, the department would be required to inspect every registered breeder's facility annually. The bill does not provide for any additional funding or manpower to perform all of these inspections.

These bills would criminalize nearly all dog and cat breeding in the State of Florida. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is not equipped to conduct all of the facility inspections necessary to register every breeder subject to the 11 animal minimum, and as long as the department has not inspected a breeder's facility and approved the breeder's application, that breeder is prohibited from breeding any animals for sale.

In addition, for those breeders whose applications are approved by the department, they must comply with federal regulations over all aspects of their breeding program -- regulations so onerous that the federal government has refused to impose them on breeders.

HB 417, introduced by Rep. Bobby Powell (Democrat, Riviera Beach), has been referred to the Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee. SB 1596, was introduced by Sen. Darren Soto (Democrat - Kissimmee).

SB 674 & HB 997 require
shelters to keep in-take and disposition records of dogs

FAKC & NAIA support these bills!

Senate Bill 674 and House Bill 997, duplicates in the 2013 Florida legislature, would require that every animal shelter, humane society, and animal control agency compile and maintain statistics of in-take and disposition records. Copies of all such records are to be open to public inspection. Also, if a shelter's policy is to euthanize dogs based upon size or breed, the shelter must provide a written statement of such policy.

SB 674/HB 997 is a necessity to enable the State of Florida and its cities and counties to make informed decisions regarding the disposition of animals in these facilities, since presently there is little or no data being kept or available when requested. The bill will help state jurisdictions to gather the information needed to understand the current state of shelters and rescue animals as they craft ordinances and legislation in the future.  It also will help us know where these animals come from -- imported from out of state, surrendered, taken, etc. We now cannot find out the true numbers and disposition of these animals in order to make meaningful decisions in this state as to the funding, resources and   best practices in these facilities.   This bill is supported by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, NAIA, and the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs.

SB 674 was introduced by Sen. Bill Montford (Democrat - Apalachicola), chairman of the agriculture committee. The bill has been referred to the agriculture and the community affairs committees. HB 997 was introduced by Reps. W. Travis Cummings (Republican - Orange Park) and Jimmy Patronis (Republican - Panama City) and has been referred to the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee and others.

Another pair of bills, House Bill 839 and Senate Bill 872, the "Transparency in Animal Shelters Act", would require that each SPCA, humane society, pound, shelter, and dog control officer that euthanizes dogs or cats to compile monthly and annual summaries of in-take and disposition records, and to post them on the organization's website. SB 872 was introduced by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (Democrat - Wellington) and has been referred to Agriculture, Community Affairs, and Rules committees. HB 839 was introduced by Reps. Dave Kerner (Democrat - Palm Springs) and Linda Stewart (Democrat - Orlando) and has been referred to the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee and others.

SB 504/HB 851 toughen animal cruelty statute


Senate Bill 504 and House Bill 851, duplicates introduced in the 2013 Florida legislature, would amend the Florida criminal cruelty to animals statute by specifying that a person who commits multiple acts of animal cruelty against one animal or acts of animal cruelty against multiple animals may be charged with a separate offense for each such act of animal cruelty; providing criminal penalties; providing factors that may be used in determining whether an object is animal-fighting or animal-baiting paraphernalia; and including illegal animal fighting or baiting as an offense within the definition of the term “racketeering activity” for purposes of the Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act.

SB 504 was introduced by Sen. Jeff Brandes (Republican - St. Petersburg), and HB 851, introduced by Rep. Jared Evan Moskowitz (Democrat - Coral Springs).

HB 1257/SB 1614 would beef up vet certificates for dog sales

House Bill 1257 and Senate Bill 1614, duplicate bills in each house of the Florida legislature, would amend existing law to require that certificates of veterinary inspection for dogs or cats offered for sale in Florida or by sellers located within Florida be prepared by veterinarians licensed by state of dog or cat's origin; specify additional diseases and conditions that the certificates must address; require additional information to be included in the certificates; reduce time period in which veterinary examination must take place from 30 days to 15 days before sale; provide requirements for display of official certificate of veterinary inspection or other specified information; prohibit offer for sale or donation of cats & dogs at certain locations; and makes violations punishable as misdemeanors.

HB 1257 was introduced by Rep. Jared Evan Moskowitz (Democrat - Coral Springs). SB 1614 was introduced by Sen. Eleanor Sobel (Democrat - Hollywood).

County & Municipal Alerts:

Pasco County plans anti-breeder ordinance

The Pasco County Commission will vote on December 6 to prohibit many purebred dog breedings unless the breeders pass arbitrary home inspections and are issued permits. The county board voted 4-1 (Com'r Jack Mariano dissenting) on November 1's initial vote.

The bill, CS12-008, defines "breeder" as anyone who breeds more than two litters or 20 puppies per year. Anyone planning to breed three or more litters must apply for a permit each year, which may be approved or rejected at the whim of the county after an inspection of the breeder's premises.

The inspection includes the usual H$U$-inspired list, including vague and subjective dog cage specifications, ventilation, lighting, food storage, and sanitation. See the inspection list at Section 14-106 on page 16 of the ordinance.

The bill also includes an anti-tethering provision, Section 14-100 on page 13.

Call, write, and email the Pasco County commissioners and also plan to attend the final public hearing of this bill on December 6 at 1:30 P.M. at the West Pasco Government Center Board Room, First Floor, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey, Florida.

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