Tags: Disaster Planning | animal | cruelty | florida | hurricanes | evacuation

Fla. Bill Makes It Illegal to Leave Pets Behind During Storms

a dog walks near a group seeking shelter in hurricane irma in estero, florida.
A dog stands near its owner while waiting to enter the Germain Arena that is serving as a pet friendly shelter from the approaching Hurricane Irma on Sept. 9, 2017 in Estero, Florida. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 March 2019 06:16 PM

A new bill in the Florida State Legislature would make the practice of leaving animals behind during natural disasters illegal and punishable by a fine and possibly jail time.

According to the Miami Herald, Senate Bill 1738 was introduced by Republican Joe Gruters, a member of Florida's Senate, on March 1. Pet owners in violation of the law could be slapped with a $5,000 fine and up to one year behind bars because of an animal cruelty charge, which is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

The Florida Senate is considering the bill, which according to the Herald would go into effect July 1 if it makes it through the legislative process. It already passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday by a 5-0 vote.

The law would be applicable during all natural disasters and during both mandatory and voluntary evacuations. Pet owners would be subjected to it if they restrain their animals outside and then leave the property to escape the storm.

"We want to give these dogs a fighting chance," Gruters said during Monday's Agriculture Committee hearing, according to The Palm Beach Post.

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Leaving animals behind during natural disasters would be illegal and punishable by a fine and possibly jail time under a new Florida bill, the Miami Herald reported.
animal, cruelty, florida, hurricanes, evacuation
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 06:16 PM
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