New Florida Bill Would Punish Owners Who Leave Pets Behind During Hurricanes

Unfortunately, we see it quite often – pets who are left behind after people evacuate before a hurricane hits Florida.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control director Dianne Sauve said they rescued nearly 50 dogs before Irma touched down in Florida. The dogs were unable to escape on their own, tied up and stuck in pens or yards.

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But with a new proposed bill, people who leave their pets behind may face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

Senator Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, wants to give these dogs a fighting chance and punish their owners if they abandon them during these dangerous hurricanes.

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According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the bill, SB 1738, cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee Monday without any opposition.

Those who commit a first-degree misdemeanor face up to a year in jail, and the new bill would add a fine of up to $5,000 to that.

FEMA photo/Andrea Booher

While many Florida counties already prohibit pets from being tied up in extreme weather, the legislation would revise the statewide standards for animal cruelty to include leaving them outside or unattended during natural disasters.

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