Florida’s Bill HB 515, if it becomes law, will be the most spectacular legislation concerning animal shelters ever created. It is a brilliant piece of legislation which creates rules on how shelters must be run. It covers everything and at the heart of it is the welfare of animals and saving their lives from euthanasia. This legislation bends over backwards to save lives. It makes it very hard for shelters to kill their animals.
It is provisionally entitled the Companion Animal Protection Act. It creates rules concerning: the holding of animals, their care and treatment, the euthanasia of animals and the last lines of this proposed Act gives anyone the right to force any shelter in Florida to comply with any part of the proposed Act by taking them to court (injunction). How about that!
The No Kill Advocacy Center says this:
It is the most powerful piece of shelter reform legislation ever introduced. Short of a ban on killing, its passage would be a game changer not only in Florida, but across the nation……it brings “shelters” many of which continue to operate under a 19th century “catch and kill” mentality, into the 21st century.
Read the Bill HB 515 by clicking the following link: Florida HB515. It is in straightforward language and ten pages long.
Some shelters currently employ the rules as set out in the Bill. These shelters have 98% no-kill rates.
A shelter won’t be able to euthanise a cat or dog in their care unless and until (what follows are the words of the No Kill Advocacy Center):
- They notify rescue groups and give them the opportunity to save the animal;
- They notify the prior “owner” (so long as there was no indication of neglect or cruelty) and give them the opportunity to take back the animal;
- They notify the finder and give them the opportunity to take back the animal;
- They notify community shelters to see if they have room;
- There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter, including space to set up temporary living environments;
- The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with another animal;
- The shelter has made a plea to foster homes and a foster home is not available;
- The cat is not a healthy cat who can be sterilized and then released; and,
- They post the animal’s photo and information to the internet to facilitate redemptions and adoptions.
In addition, HB 515 establishes a holding period for both stray animals and those surrendered by their families, it gives the person surrendering the animal the ability to change their mind and reclaim the animal, it bifurcates the holding period to incentivize adoptions and rescue transfers, it allows “shelters” to transfer animals to rescue groups right away to free up cage and kennel space thus reducing costs while increasing lifesaving, it mandates prompt and necessary care and environmental enrichment, and for those who are irremediably suffering, rigorously defined, it puts in place a mechanism to end their lives in as kind and compassionate a manner as possible and one that meets the dictionary definition for “euthanasia.”
But it cannot pass without your help, as kill “shelters” and their state and national allies, are going to align themselves against it. They simply do not want to do this work when it is so much easier just to kill the animals.
If you live in Florida, now is the time to make your voice heard. Contact your state legislators and ask them to cosponsor HB 515, the Florida Companion Animal Protection Act.
Not in Florida and want to bring a similar law to your state? Check out the No Kill Advocacy Center’s model law, on which HB 515 is based, and our free guide to getting legislation introduced.
Help us continue our pioneering and lifesaving work and to bring this law to other states. Donate to the No Kill Advocacy Center by clicking here.