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New and advancing bills that impact animals and animal owners are scheduled for hearings at the Florida State Legislature on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

 SB 186 is on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  This bill would provide that certain contracts for the sale or lease of a pet are void and unenforceable. The AKC supports a ban on predatory pet leasing schemes that victimize potential owners, undermine a lifetime commitment to a pet, and do not confer the rights and responsibilities associated with legal ownership of a pet.  However, SB 186 would not only render void those leases, but could also affect a type of lease that is used by responsible breeders to preserve specific bloodlines and maintain genetic diversity.  Concerned owners and breeders are urged to contact committee members to respectfully request that SB 186 be amended to preserve the right of purebred dog and cat fanciers and enthusiasts to engage in the leasing of dogs or cats for the express and limited, in scope and in term, purpose of breeding.  Click here for Senate Judiciary Committee contact information.

SB 1044 is also on the agenda of Senate Judiciary Committee.  (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 the overbroad provisions of this bill could, for example, allow any shelter volunteer to 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 a 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.

Other legislation scheduled to be considered:

Senate Bill 48 would subject a veterinarian to disciplinary action by the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine for declawing a cat when it is not necessary for therapeutic purposes and would make declawing a cat by a person other than a veterinarian a civil infraction.  AKC strongly advocates that veterinary care decisions should be made by individual animal owners in consultation with a qualified, licensed veterinarian.  AKC further advocates that veterinary procedures to correct problematic behaviors should be performed by a veterinarian, and only after other behavioral modification efforts have failed.  SB 48 is on the agenda of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Please contact doglaw@akc.org or call 919-816-3720 for additional information.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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