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New and advancing bills of concern to breeders, dog owners, and veterinarians are scheduled for hearings at the Florida state legislature on Monday, Feb.  3 and Tuesday, Feb. 4.

SB 1698 is on the agenda of the Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology on Monday, February 3.  Among other provisions, this bill would require Florida pet stores to be licensed by the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation; set out requirements for where pet stores may source dogs and cats; provide for enhanced conditions and veterinary care for dogs and cats in pet stores, and replace the current patchwork of local requirements for pet stores.

As originally filed, this bill contained unacceptable definitions of breeders and other problematic provisions.  An amendment to the bill that addresses these concerns has been filed.  AKC does not oppose this specific amendment to SB 1698.

AKC will continue to closely monitor the bill for additional amendments that might include objectionable provisions.  Dog owners, breeders, exhibitors, and sportsmen are urged to contact committee members and politely ask them to ensure that SB 1698 will not define or regulate Florida breeders who are not in the business of supplying dogs to pet brokers or to pet stores. Click here for Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology contact information.

SB 1044 has been rescheduled for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 4.  (This bill previously passed in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.)  Among other provisions, SB 1044 would require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty against a dog or cat to a law enforcement or animal control agency, and further would require certain other persons to report suspected animal cruelty to a veterinarian.  We are concerned that this bill is written so broadly that, for example, any shelter volunteer could report suspected animal cruelty to any veterinarian, and thereby obligate the veterinarian to attempt to examine the pet within 24 hours.  If the veterinarian was unable to examine the pet, the veterinarian would be required to pass along the unsubstantiated allegations without personal knowledge of the facts of the case to local law enforcement or animal control agency, or else be subject to disciplinary action.  The bill further also provides exemption from liability for “any” decisions to report suspected animal cruelty, regardless of the veracity or the intent of the report.

Pet owners who share AKC’s concerns are urged to contact committee members to respectfully request that SB 1044 be amended to protect the interests of veterinarians and to significantly limit exemptions for liability so that a bad-faith report shall not be exempted from liability.  Click here for Senate Judiciary Committee contact information. 

Please contact or call 919-816-3720 for additional information.