A proposed new law in Florida would make it obligatory for the state’s veterinarians to report animal abuse. It is called Allie’s Law. The bill is specified as HB 621: Animal Cruelty. It has gained bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a dog or cat showing visible signs of cruelty, as prohibited under s.31 828.12(1), has been or is being subjected to animal cruelty by its owner or under its owner’s care, shall report such knowledge or suspicion within 48 hours after obtaining such knowledge or suspicion to a local law enforcement or animal control agency for investigation.
You can read the bill by clicking on this link: Bill proposing that vets in Florida must report suspected animal abuse
On the Florida Senate website this you can see the bill and it states that it requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty in certain circumstances. It also requires certain persons to report suspected animal cruelty to veterinarians. It provides immunity and it prohibits alteration or destruction of certain records. It specifies that a failure of veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty is grounds for discipline. The effective date is 1 July 2020. This last action in the passing of this bill was on 25 November 2019 when it was referred to the Business and Professions Subcommittee, the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Commerce Committee.
The proposed law is named after a four-year-old Boston Terrier whose name is Allie Katherine. This dog was used for breeding by a backyard breeder. She was abused. She was abandoned because the medical costs to treat her made it unviable to keep her. She was rescued but the owners demanded that Allie’s puppies be returned to them. They would have to go through the same abuse by the same breeder in the future. The new law is intended to prevent this kind of cycle of ill-treatment dished out by an abuser.
Weeks after the introduction of this proposed law another one was introduced as I understand it. It is SB 1044. I’m not sure, but I presume that this is an alternative version of the same legislation with the same purpose.
The proposed law provides guidelines as to whether a veterinarian or a member of the clinic is required to report signs of suspected animal abuse to law enforcement or animal control. At present 16 US states have a similar law in force.
This is obviously an advancement in animal welfare and protection in Florida. I’d expect the bill to pass and come into effect as planned.
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