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Action Needed In Florida: Bills On The Move

(Friday, April 17, 2009)

Several significant developments have occurred regarding two Florida bills that both the American Kennel Club and the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs strongly oppose.

As previously reported on www.AKC.org, Florida Senate Bill 2002 seeks to impose strict limits on the operations of responsible purebred dog breeders and to limit dog ownership. The Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee considered SB 2002 on Tuesday, April 14th, and voted the bill out of committee by a 7-3 vote. The bill was to be heard next by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Senate Bill 288, sponsored by Senator Larcenia Bullard, originally sought to amend the state's consumer protection laws by requiring those classified as "pet dealers" to provide the following unnecessary and unreasonable written notices to consumers: "Dogs and cats are susceptible to more than 300 genetic disorders. Certain breeds may be predisposed to certain health problems. Therefore, it is recommended you get a scientific screening test for your dog or cat to help you identify a number of genetic diseases." (For more information on SB 288, click here.)

On April 6, the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee, of which Sen. Bullard is Vice-Chair, unanimously voted in favor of SB 288. SB 288 was then considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 15.

However, in an unexpected procedural move, the substantive text of SB 2002, containing strict breeder oversight and limit language was offered as additional language to SB 288's consumer protection language prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee's meeting on April 15. (For a copy of the amendment to SB 288, click here.) Had the Senate Judiciary Committee moved the bill forward, the Agriculture Committee, which was originally charged with considering the policies contained in SB 2002, would have been circumvented and denied that opportunity. Fortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee temporarily postponed consideration of SB 288 until further notice. The American Kennel Club thanks the Senate Judiciary Committee for its to decision to respect established legislative procedure and the many parties deeply concerned with both SB 2002 and SB 288 by not rushing consideration of SB 288.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

All concerned Floridians are encouraged to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (listed below) and thank them for postponing consideration of SB 288. Additionally, those who contact the committee are urged to respectfully request that the committee grant concerned groups knowledgeable of responsible dog breeding practices the opportunity to work together over the next several months to come up with reasonable solutions to any kennel operation issues in Florida.

Members of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senator Lee Constantine, Chair
418 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5050
constantine.lee.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Arthenia L. Joyner, Vice-Chair (Minority Whip)
210 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5059
FAX: (888) 263-7871
joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Carey Baker
316 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5014
baker.carey.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Mike Fasano (President Pro Tempore)
404 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5062
fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Dan Gelber
226 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5121
gelber.dan.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Mike Haridopolos
322 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5056
haridopolos.mike.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Durell Peaden, Jr.
406 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5000
peaden.durell.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Garrett S. Richter
310 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5124
richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Jeremy Ring
326 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
PHONE: (850) 487-5094
ring.jeremy.web@flsenate.gov

For more information, please contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org; or the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs at mikahkid2@aol.com.