TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Sen. Lauren Book (D-Broward) filed a new bill intended to protect animals by making it illegal to let a dog be in a driver’s lap or stick their head out of a window in the car while driving.
Additionally, Senate Bill 932 includes provisions to make it illegal to have a dog transported “on the running board, fender, hood, or roof of a motor vehicle,” as well as in a trunk, or enclosed cargo space. Dogs may also not be transported in a car that is being towed.
On top of those restrictions, the bill would require dogs be secured in a crate appropriate for the size of the dog while in a motor vehicle on a public roadway, be restrained with a safety harness or seat belt other than a neck restraint, or be under the physical control of someone other than the driver if in a car.
Dogs transported in open truck beds for pickups must be in a dog crate that allows them to have good footing, be safe from inclement weather, protected from direct sunlight, and have good ventilation.
The crate must also allow the dog to be able to turn around normally, stand or sit, and lie down in a natural position while the crate is secured to the pickup truck.
For violations, dog owners or drivers would be open to potential moving violation citations, with the charges to not count as a criminal traffic infraction.
Shifting over from dogs, the bill also sets rules for cat owners, making declawing of cats illegal if not for a necessary medical therapy. If a cat is declawed or partially declawed, the state would be able to fine the owner $1,000. Individual incidents for a cat being declawed or partially declawed would legally count as separate violations.
If the bill passes, and is then violated, a provision in the text would allow courts to ban ownership of animals for offenders as a condition of probation.
The bill also adds a number of bans on cosmetic testing of animals for “any article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on,” or otherwise meant for human beings instead of animals, such as cleansers, beauty treatments, or items that “promote attractiveness” or for altering one’s appearance.
As written, product manufacturers would be prohibited from applying any of the above products on “live, nonhuman vertebrate” animals. However, keeping the data from previous tests does not count as developing a product, for the purposes of the bill’s language.
For those who violate the animal testing prohibition, the bill would create a $5,000 initial penalty, as well as additional $1,000 penalties for each day of a continued violation. Pursuit of enforcement and penalties would be carried out by the Attorney General, a state attorney, or municipal attorneys where the violation occurred, according to the bill text.
Should the bill pass both chambers of the Florida Legislature and gain approval of the governor, it would take effect Oct. 1.