The Sunshine State just got a whole lot sunnier. Today, Senator Mike Bennett, the President Pro Tempore of the Florida Senate, introduced the Florida Animal Rescue Act. The bill would make it illegal for “shelters” to kill animals if rescue groups are willing to save them. A statewide survey of Florida rescue groups found that 63% of non-profit animal rescue groups have had at least one Florida state shelter refuse to work collaboratively with them and then turn around and kill they very animals they were willing to save. The most common reason given was shelters either having a policy of not working with rescue groups or being openly hostile to doing so.
The high ranking Republican writes:
Combining compassion and business sense, Senator Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, filed a bill today aimed at saving taxpayer dollars along with the lives of Florida’s four-legged friends. Filing the Florida Animal Rescue Act, Senate Bill 818, Bennett explained that by sending animals to non-profit animal rescue organizations instead of killing them, costs are transferred from taxpayers to private organizations, and the burden on publicly funded shelters is reduced. Costs previously used for killing animals can then be focused on revenue-boosting adoptions.
“Florida has an opportunity to join other states setting a nationwide example by passing a bill that could save thousands of animals and help direct dollars toward other important initiatives,” said Bennett. “When we are not using dollars to care for, kill and dispose of animals, there is an immediate cost savings to local governments.”
Calling it both a compassionate and smart decision, Bennett added that killing animals takes an incredible toll on shelter staff members who often experience emotional trauma and exhaustion. This measure would spare them such a burden when animals have lifesaving options available.
The Florida Animal Rescue Act also offers protections for the safety of both the public and animals, excluding dangerous dogs, irremediably suffering animals, and it would also exclude organizations affiliated with a volunteer, staff member, director or officer convicted of animal neglect, cruelty or dog fighting, suspending the organization while charges are pending.
For a copy of the bill, click here.
Florida animal lovers, please contact your Senator and ask him/her to cosponsor and support Senate Bill 818, the Florida Animal Rescue Act. You can find out who they are and get their contact information, by clicking here.