If HB 1095/SB 1202 become law, tens of thousands of animals will be saved instead of being killed every year in Florida pounds, all at no cost to taxpayers.

The Florida Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act — written by the No Kill Advocacy Center, my organization and sponsored by Representative Barbara Watson and Senator Kevin Rader — would make it illegal for municipal pounds to kill animals when qualified non-profit rescue organizations are ready, willing, and able to save them. The bill exempts animals with rabies, dangerous dogs, and animals who are irremediably suffering, rigorously defined.

Working together, the Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act makes collaboration between “shelters” and rescue groups the law of the land. Not only will it save animal lives, but by shifting the cost of care from taxpayers to private, philanthropic groups, and eliminating the cost of killing and destruction of remains, it will save millions of dollars annually. It will also generate revenue in the form of spending on animal care in local communities and bringing in taxes on that spending — a win for animals, a win for animal lovers, a win for local businesses, and a win for taxpayers.

HB 1095 and SB 1202 are based on similar legislation in California, Delaware, Muncie, Indiana, Austin, Texas, and elsewhere. In California alone, the rescue provision saves over 46,000 additional animals every year — a lifesaving increase of over 370%. Moreover, that increase corresponds with a cost savings of $1,856,520 statewide (these savings do not include additional savings related to cost of care).

Although part of larger reform legislation, similar provisions in Delaware, Muncie, and Austin have helped those communities achieve placement rates between 90% and 99%. The Delaware Office of Animal Welfare, the state agency that oversees Delaware’s shelters, writes that the law “has saved thousands of animals that would have otherwise been euthanized due to outdated policies and practices.”

Florida animals deserve the same opportunities, the same care, the same outcomes. But I need your help to get this important animal protection legislation passed. If history is any guide, regressive pounds and their enablers at state animal control associations will oppose it. If you live in Florida, now is the time to make your voice heard. Please contact your state representatives and ask them to cosponsor and vote Yes on HB 1095/SB 1202.

If you live outside of Florida, help animals by visiting nokilladvocacycenter.org to learn how you can get similar legislation introduced in your state or county or by donating to our efforts to ensure the passage of shelter reform laws across the nation.

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