The Florida Bar’s Animal Law Committee recently published its latest legislative update. You’ll notice that some of these bills are likely the direct result of the rash of animal rescues from unattended vehicles that we experience here every summer:
Persons or Domestic Animals in Unattended Vehicles (HB 131 – Rep. Young) and Persons or Domestic Animals Unattended in Motor Vehicles (SB 308 – Sen. Benacquisto)
These bills provide immunity from civil liability for forcible entry into a motor vehicle to remove an elderly person, disabled adult, minor, or domestic animal under certain circumstances.
Companion Animals (HB 71 – Reps. B. Watson & Smith; No Senate companion bill to date)
This bill directs animal shelters to take certain measures relating to the holding, treatment and euthanasia of animals and provides for declaratory or injunctive relief actions.
Severe Injuries Caused by Dogs (HB 91 by Rep. Steube; No Senate companion bill to date)
This bill specifies the circumstances under which a dog that has caused severe injury to a human may be returned to its owner rather than be destroyed.
Animals Confined in Unattended Motor Vehicles (SB 200 – Sen. Hukill; No House companion bill to date)
This bill creates the “Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act” or “P.A.W.S. Act”. It provides that intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly confining an animal in an unattended vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal is a misdemeanor. Further, it provides that an “authorized individual”, as defined in the Act, may use reasonable force to remove an animal from an unattended vehicle if the animal appears to be in immediate danger. Additionally, an authorized individual may not be held civilly or criminally liable for actions taken while carrying out the provisions of the Act. The bill provides an exception for certain animals transported for agricultural purposes.
We at the Law Offices of Cynthia M. Clark love our pets as much as you love yours, and we know how important they are to you. That’s why we consider the needs of your pets in all of our estate and elder law planning. Call us today at 941-444-5958 and let’s chat.