An anti-ownership proposal that seeks to create court-appointed animal advocates in Florida is on the agenda of the Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday, January 14, at 2:30 p.m.
Animal owners are urged to immediately contact committee members and respectfully ask that they do not advance Senate Bill 1048. Please scroll down for contact information.
Senate Bill 1048 would allow courts to appoint an animal advocate to pursue the “interests of an animal” in certain court proceedings; grant powers to such individuals; and require the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar to maintain a list of attorneys and certified legal interns who are eligible to be appointed for such purposes.
The American Kennel Club abhors any type of cruel treatment of or negligent injury to animals and supports full enforcement of reasonable animal cruelty laws. However, the AKC is concerned that the creation of court-appointed animal advocates as provided in SB 1048 will result in legal and pragmatic issues regarding who is responsible for an animal and will ultimately impact the ability and rights of owners to freely choose the most appropriate course of care and treatment for their animals.
Providing third-party advocates in a legal dispute is usually reserved for protecting the interests of minor children or other people lacking legal capacity. By providing similar advocates for animals, the measure may implicitly yet fundamentally impact the legal status of animals in the state. AKC believes the State of Florida is already capable of fairly adjudicating animal cruelty and other animal issues without potentially jeopardizing the current legal status of animals and without involving outside organizations and interests to influence the adjudication of individual cases.
Rather than creating animal advocates and potentially tying up court dockets, AKC encourages the Florida legislature to find ways to ensure greater enforcement of current state laws against those who harm animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact members of the Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture and respectfully ask that they do not advance Senate Bill 1048.
Committee on Agriculture Members:
Senator Ben Albritton, Chair, (850) 487-5026, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator George B. Gainer, Vice Chair, (850) 487-5002, email@example.com
Senator Doug Broxson, (850) 487-5001, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Bill Montford, (850) 487-5003, email@example.com
Senator Kevin J. Rader, (850) 487-5029, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at email@example.com or call 919-816-3645.