Florida Senate - 2012 SB 818 By Senator Bennett 21-00410F-12 2012818__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to animal shelters and animal control 3 agencies; creating the “Animal Rescue Act”; creating 4 s. 828.067, F.S.; defining the terms “animal control 5 agency,” “animal rescue group” or “rescue group,” and 6 “animal shelter”; requiring any animal control agency 7 or animal shelter that euthanizes animals to maintain 8 a registry of animal rescue groups that are willing to 9 accept animals that would otherwise be subject to 10 euthanization; providing eligibility criteria for 11 rescue groups and persons desiring to be on the 12 euthanization registry; providing criteria under which 13 an animal control agency or animal shelter may reject 14 an applicant for the euthanization registry or remove 15 a participant from the registry; requiring that 16 certain specified information concerning an animal 17 rescue group be included in the group’s application 18 for inclusion on the euthanasia registry; authorizing 19 the animal control agency or animal shelter to require 20 a rescue group or person to provide certain specified 21 data to the animal control agency or animal shelter 22 each month; prohibiting an animal control agency or 23 animal shelter from euthanizing an animal until the 24 animal control agency or animal shelter has notified 25 the appropriate animal rescue group or person listed 26 on the euthanization registry; providing exceptions to 27 the requirement to notify certain rescue groups; 28 authorizing an animal control agency or animal shelter 29 to assess a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption 30 fee, for each animal released to a rescue group; 31 requiring that each animal control agency or animal 32 shelter provide for public inspection certain 33 information on a monthly and annual basis; providing 34 an effective date. 35 36 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 37 38 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Animal Rescue 39 Act.” 40 Section 2. Section 828.067, Florida Statutes, is created to 41 read: 42 828.067 Animal shelters and animal control agencies; 43 euthanization registry.— 44 (1) As used in this section, the term: 45 (a) “Animal control agency” means an organization operated 46 by or under contract with the state or a political subdivision 47 for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, 48 homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals. 49 (b) “Animal rescue group” or “rescue group” means a group 50 of persons who hold themselves out as an animal rescue group and 51 who accept or solicit dogs, cats, or other animals with the 52 intent of finding permanent adoptive homes or providing lifelong 53 care for such dogs, cats, or other animals and who use foster 54 homes as the primary means of housing animals, or a group of 55 persons formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals. 56 (c) “Animal shelter” means a facility that is used for 57 housing or containing dogs, cats, or other animals and that is 58 owned, operated, or maintained by a humane society, an animal 59 welfare society, a society for the prevention of cruelty to 60 animals, or another nonprofit organization devoted to the 61 welfare, protection, and humane treatment of dogs, cats, or 62 other animals. 63 (2) An animal control agency or animal shelter that 64 euthanizes animals shall maintain a registry of animal rescue 65 groups that are willing to accept animals that are subject to 66 euthanization. 67 (a) The euthanization registry must consist of any animal 68 control agency, animal shelter, or animal rescue group that is 69 designated as an agency meeting the qualifications of s. 70 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that has requested 71 that its name be placed on the euthanization registry. Such an 72 agency, shelter, or rescue group must be included on the 73 euthanization registry regardless of the geographical location 74 of the agency, shelter, or rescue group and regardless of any 75 other factor except as described in subsection (3). 76 (b) The euthanization registry may include, at the 77 discretion of the animal control agency or animal shelter, any 78 person or animal rescue group that has not met the 79 qualifications of s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 80 (3) An animal control agency or animal shelter may refuse 81 to include a rescue group or person on the euthanization 82 registry or may remove it or the person from the euthanization 83 registry if a current director, officer, staff member, or 84 volunteer of the rescue group has been convicted in a court of 85 competent jurisdiction of a crime consisting of cruelty to 86 animals or neglect of animals, or if such charges are pending, 87 or if the rescue group is constrained by a court order that 88 prevents the rescue group from taking in or keeping animals. An 89 animal control agency or animal shelter may require the rescue 90 group to disclose any convictions, charges, or legal impediments 91 described in this subsection. 92 (4) The euthanization registry must include the following 93 information provided by the rescue group: 94 (a) The name of the rescue group or person. 95 (b) The mailing address and telephone number. 96 (c) The website and e-mail address, if any. 97 (d) The emergency contact information for the rescue group. 98 (e) The types of animals about whom the rescue group wishes 99 to be contacted, including species type and breed. 100 (f) A statement as to whether the rescue group is willing 101 and able to care for unweaned animals, sick or injured animals, 102 or animals with behavior problems. 103 (5) An animal control agency or animal shelter may require 104 that a rescue group provide monthly for public inspection 105 information concerning the number of animals that: 106 (a) Have been taken from an animal control agency or animal 107 shelter and placed with the rescue group; 108 (b) Have been adopted; 109 (c) Have died or have been euthanized; or 110 (d) Remain in the care of the rescue group. 111 112 This information may be provided in an informal format, such as 113 via electronic mail. An animal control agency or animal shelter 114 may not demand additional information other than that described 115 in this subsection as a prerequisite for including a rescue 116 group on the euthanization registry or for continuing to 117 maintain the rescue group on the registry. 118 (6) An animal control agency or animal shelter may not 119 euthanize an animal until the animal control agency or animal 120 shelter has notified, or made a reasonable attempt to notify, 121 all rescue groups or persons on the euthanization registry which 122 have indicated a willingness to take an animal of that type. 123 (a) The notification must take place at least 24 hours 124 before the animal is scheduled to be euthanized. 125 (b) At a minimum, the notification must include a 126 verifiable electronic communication. Notification to each rescue 127 group is considered complete when this has been accomplished. 128 (c) An animal may not be euthanized if a rescue group or 129 person on the euthanization registry indicates a willingness to 130 take possession of the animal. 131 (d) The rescue group or person agreeing to take possession 132 of the animal must do so within 2 business days after notifying 133 the animal control agency or animal shelter that has possession 134 of the animal. 135 (e) The animal control agency or animal shelter may assess 136 a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption fee, for each animal 137 released to a rescue group. 138 (7) The requirements of subsection (6) do not apply in the 139 following cases: 140 (a) An irremediably suffering animal may be euthanized 141 without delay under s. 828.05. 142 (b) A dangerous dog may be euthanized without delay under 143 s. 767.13. 144 (c) Upon the impoundment of an unweaned animal without its 145 mother, an animal control agency or animal shelter that has not 146 placed the animal into foster care or is not able to provide 147 supplemental feeding shall immediately make an emergency appeal 148 to a rescue group or person on the euthanization registry who 149 has indicated a willingness to care for unweaned animals, and 150 shall give the rescue group or person a reasonable amount of 151 time, but not less than 8 hours, to respond to the appeal. 152 (8) An animal control agency or animal shelter shall 153 provide for public inspection a monthly summary that includes 154 the number of animals, by species type, during the previous 155 month which: 156 (a) Were impounded; 157 (b) Were euthanized by the animal control agency or animal 158 shelter; 159 (c) Died, were lost, or were stolen while in the direct or 160 constructive care of the animal control agency or animal 161 shelter; 162 (d) Were returned to their owners; 163 (e) Were adopted; 164 (f) Were transferred to other organizations or rescue 165 groups; or 166 (g) Remain in the custody of the agency or shelter. 167 (9) Each animal control agency or animal shelter shall 168 provide for public inspection an annual summary that includes 169 the number of animals, by species type, during the previous 170 calendar year which: 171 (a) Were impounded; 172 (b) Were euthanized by the animal control agency or animal 173 shelter; 174 (c) Died, were lost, or were stolen while in the direct or 175 constructive care of the animal control agency or animal 176 shelter; 177 (d) Were returned to their owners; 178 (e) Were adopted; 179 (f) Were transferred to other organizations or rescue 180 groups; or 181 (g) Remain in the custody of the agency or shelter. 182 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.