While this HB is only for residents of Florida to contact their representatives, The Companion Animal Protection Act would help save the lives of cats across the United States. The Florida House will reconvene on March 29 and should HB515 bill pass, it will become effective on July 1, 2017. It passed the first reading on March 7, 2017.
HB515 would protect cats and lower costs by preventing shelters from euthanizing cats who are candidates for TNR. Since most feral cats aren’t suitable for adoption, many shelters who don’t offer a “barn cat” program kill them on intake, or after only a few days. Keep in mind many escaped house cats act feral out of sheer terror and shelters are allowed to kill now for “behavioral problems.”
Alley Cat Allies recently reached out on their website for support of HB 515.
“HB 515 has many measures that ensure the health and comfort of impounded animals. It requires shelters to check animals for identification within one day of impoundment, which is the fastest way to reunite cats with their owners and free up space for animals in need. The bill also requires shelters to focus on enrichment activities that improve animals’ mental and physical well-being. It encourages shelters to transfer animals to foster homes, since even the nicest shelters can be stressful for them.”
Not only will the program help stabilize cat populations, it would also help local governments and shelters save money while benefiting public health. While this is technically a no-kill issue, I feel it’s more of a benefit to help reunite lost cats and dogs with their owners, end unnecessary killing when shelter space is available and even to allow the former owner to reclaim their pet, should they change their mind (as long as animal cruelty isn’t involved). It would also encourage shelters to offer TNR programs in the community rather than kill the feral cats who enter the facility.
Facebook No Kill Broward has posted a “Cliff Notes” version, which I have copied and uploaded to Google Docs here. PLEASE take the time to read it, as it shows just how much better the dogs and cats at Florida shelters will be treated once it passes.
For a list of Florida Representatives, including Senate members, click here. I’m a total dunce when it comes to how many times a bill must be voted on and the channels necessary for it to become law in Florida. Cats and dogs are my life-NOT political science.
Perhaps someone familiar with Florida government can enlighten me, as I’m unsure where the bill is headed and how many hands it must go through to become law.