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State and Federal Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Protect Pets From Domestic Violence

HERNANDO – There are stiff penalties in Florida for those who commit domestic violence and lawmakers are continually introducing new legislation to broaden the spectrum of what is considered a domestic related crime.

Currently there are criminal statutes that cover couples who live together, are married, or are simply dating, but there are also civil implications for individuals accused of harming a pet or even threatening to harm a pet.

In 2012, then-Florida Republican Senator Mike Fasano introduced twin bills aimed at creating an animal abuse registry and the inclusion of pets as victims of domestic violence but both initiatives failed to pass. However, a second round of legislation was introduced last week by Democrat Representatives Jared Moskowitz and David Richardson, and surprisingly, Republican Representative Blaise Ingoglia, who hope to pass HB 871, a proposed animal abuse registry.

In a statement released by the House Majority Office, Ingoglia stated “Today (February 20th 2017), Representatives Moskowitz, Richardson, and I are pleased to file HB 871 in an effort to reduce the sales of pets to individuals who have been convicted of animal abuse. The creation of an animal abuse registry will work similar to the sexual offender registry in that it will empower pet dealers and adoption agencies in knowing their customer.”

“People who have been convicted of animal abuse shouldn’t be sold more animals,” Representative Jared Moskowitz said. “Making this data available as a resource to pet dealers is a common sense and transparent solution that ensures the safety of Florida’s animals.”

“We look forward to widespread bipartisan support for legislation that will reduce the level of cruelty and abuse of animals in the state of Florida,” said Representative David Richardson. “After speaking with many constituents about these issues we recognize the significant value of moving forward with reforms. I look forward to working on this legislation with my colleagues.”

Similar legislation is currently under debate in the U.S. House of Representative to pass the Clark Bill. A bill Introduced by U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D) of Massachusetts that would provide more protection for women and their pets who seek refuge in a domestic violence shelter.

Dawn Center, a Hernando based domestic violence shelter for women and children has already broken ground for a new pet kennel, according to a recent social media post, and they say if the PAWS (Pets and Women Safety Act) passes, there will be an additional $3 million in federal funding available for upkeep, staffing, and supplies.

It should be noted that Florida Representative Blaise Ingoglia sits as an Ex Officio Board Member for Dawn Center.

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Comments
  • What about cops who shoot the poor animals and kill them with no remorse. That should be a crime as well. Too many pets are being killed by police officers.

    Saturday, 25 February 2017, 6:01 pm
  • Other states when you call animal control you don’t have to give your information. Retaliation keeps sherriffs officers in business here. This is one law that needs desperately to be changed – it’s one of the reasons dog fights can occur & animals can be abused. No one wants to be next on the abuse list after reporting incidents to animal control. CHANGE THIS LAW & I BET ANIMAL ABUSE COMPLAINTS WILL MORE READILY BE REPORTED.

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 10:45 pm
  • It has been know that “drug dealers and those seeking drugs”, have abuse pets also. They injury the pets ( as in break leg, punch their guts, etc.), take to a vet, who then writes a script or gives a “pill killer” drug for injury pet. The people get pets , just to abuse them and keep on using them!

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 6:42 pm
  • Who calls when the dogs fight each other or both goto jail. Do you have interpreter for dogs to get story. So the people behind me with farm animals always dying dogs,cats,ducks,reptiles and roaming if i call they will tell who caled has happened several times Chupacabra abusing animals behind me .??????

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 3:37 pm
  • Sorry for the typos didn’t check my text

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 1:11 pm
  • Okay so let me say way shirt and fire engine in Hernando and an ambulance and Hernando we can’t hire enough Sheriff Deputy because of budget cuts the school system is absolutely unbelievable because they can hire the right kind of people and who in the hell you going to pay for this new law I know it is very important not two abused animals each cruelty and I realize that but where is the money going to come from text Payers thank you

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 1:09 pm
  • Enforce the laws you already have, and for poster above= You can’t remain anonymous when you make a call to Hernando County animal control, Fact! Why not spend that money on protecting children and the mentally unstable and clean up the METH problem with all those dollars( including helping them, not just throw them away?? Dang I think I voted for the WRONG PEOPLE this time, won’t happen again, guarantee you that. I like dogs and would never mistreat any animal, guess I will just let the little nippy ones and the pits etc, eat me up. What a bunch of crap. Throw money to the Dawn Center, seriously??? I only know about the Dawn Center from rnrf, but I bet the higher ups are smiling all the way to the bank!! Sad.

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 10:31 am
  • Ya thats a great way to spend money and time. They will have a law for Chupacabra next oh and it lives behind me.

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 7:15 am
    • Funny

      Friday, 24 February 2017, 7:58 am
    • You are seeing your reflection in dual mirrors, chupacabra.

      Friday, 24 February 2017, 10:34 pm
      • No its your mother…

        Saturday, 25 February 2017, 11:21 am
        • My mother wouldn’t have a thing to do with you, let alone live near you. Must be yours.

          Saturday, 25 February 2017, 1:32 pm
  • What a waste of our tax dollars. Els is right, the person can very easily get an animal gifted. Let’s encourage our law makers to focus on real problems. If bad people mistreat animals, enforce the animal cruelty laws already in place.

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 4:59 am
  • my mom is involved with rescues. people have always known her as the animal lady..lol she has the acreage and the financial ability. Im sure she would support this and so do I. In some ways yes there will be loop holes but its a step in the right direction. People that abuse those that cant fight back are the lowest of the low. There should be more intense penalties for these people. One should be mandatory minimal community service hours, and numerous self help improvement courses. We as a society have become to soft on violent offenders. Unfortunately these people arent right in the head to begin with.

    Friday, 24 February 2017, 2:52 am
  • I truly hope it will also include rescues, but I know that the rescues are very careful who they give their animals too.

    Thursday, 23 February 2017, 11:00 pm
  • Now I know we have gone absolutely crazy, you can abuse a child and retain custody but can’t own a pet if your on the registry. And this is not going to stop private sales, only create another government funded failure

    Thursday, 23 February 2017, 10:36 pm
    • I was thinking the same thing they allow children to go right back in a home of full blown abusive drug addicts but yet their worried about animals sorry I have and love my animals but kids come first it should be that way with the whole state children’s services needs a complete overhaul

      Friday, 24 February 2017, 3:26 am
    • There is reliable data on the link between animal abuse, child abuse and serial killers. Stopping these people before they become serial killers begins with tracking and identifying. This is a national problem but the solution must start somewhere. Pretending it doesn’t happen or will fail is unproductive. As far as animal sales are concerned, every individual has the responsibility to monitor any private sales. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If you know of an animal being abused, it is your responsibility to tell it. You can remain anonymous. Abused animals obtained privately would ultimately be placed on any registry as well. Its time for Florida to join the more progressive states when it comes to animal abuse.

      Friday, 24 February 2017, 5:35 am
  • This is a wonderful idea but it needs to be nationwide. Abusers can & will go out of state to get animals unless this is nationwide. Also, will this registry be available to private breeders & public???it needs to be. Some will try to circumvent by not purchasing but being gifted an animal. Please consider all possibilities when drafting the final bill.

    Thursday, 23 February 2017, 9:17 pm

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