New Florida bill would charge people who abandon pets during hurricane

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A new bill making its way through the Florida Senate would punish owners who leave their dogs behind when a hurricane threatens the state. 

Florida State Senator Joe Gruters recently introduced SB 1738. If the bill is passed a person who leaves a dog outside and tied up during a disaster would face a first-degree misdemeanor along with a possible fine up to $5,000.

Gruters’ bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with no opposition. According to the Florida-Times Union Many counties — including Sarasota and Palm Beach — already “prohibit animals from being tethered in extreme weather, including but not limited to hurricanes, tropical storm, or tornadoes.”

Back in 2017 WFLA’s Melissa Marino reported on animal control and neighbors rescuing several dogs who were left alone in Lakeland during Hurricane Irma.

If passed the bill would go into effect on July 1.

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