Florida Senate - 2012 CS for SB 818 By the Committee on Community Affairs; and Senators Bennett and Gaetz 578-02166-12 2012818c1 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 an animal control agency or animal shelter to require 20 a rescue group or person to provide specified data to 21 the animal control agency or animal shelter each 22 month; prohibiting an animal control agency or animal 23 shelter from euthanizing an animal until the animal 24 control agency or animal shelter has notified the 25 appropriate animal rescue group or person listed on 26 the euthanization registry; requiring that a rescue 27 group or person agreeing to take possession of the 28 animal do so within a specified time; providing for a 29 required minimum holding period for a healthy animal; 30 providing exceptions to the requirement to notify a 31 rescue group and to abide by the minimum holding 32 period; authorizing an animal control agency or animal 33 shelter to assess a fee, not to exceed the standard 34 adoption fee, for each animal released to a rescue 35 group; requiring that each animal control agency or 36 animal shelter provide for public inspection certain 37 information on a monthly and annual basis; providing 38 an effective date. 39 40 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 41 42 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Animal Rescue 43 Act.” 44 Section 2. Section 828.067, Florida Statutes, is created to 45 read: 46 828.067 Animal shelters and animal control agencies; 47 euthanization registry.— 48 (1) As used in this section, the term: 49 (a) “Animal control agency” means an organization operated 50 by or under contract with the state or a political subdivision 51 for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, 52 homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals. 53 (b) “Animal rescue group” or “rescue group” means a group 54 of persons who hold themselves out as an animal rescue group and 55 who accept or solicit dogs, cats, or other animals with the 56 intent of finding permanent adoptive homes or providing lifelong 57 care for such dogs, cats, or other animals and who use foster 58 homes as the primary means of housing animals, or a group of 59 persons formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals. 60 (c) “Animal shelter” means a facility that is used for 61 housing or containing dogs, cats, or other animals and that is 62 owned, operated, or maintained by a humane society, an animal 63 welfare society, a society for the prevention of cruelty to 64 animals, or another nonprofit organization devoted to the 65 welfare, protection, and humane treatment of dogs, cats, or 66 other animals. 67 (2) An animal control agency or animal shelter that 68 euthanizes animals shall maintain a registry of animal rescue 69 groups that are willing to accept animals that are subject to 70 euthanization. 71 (a) The euthanization registry must consist of any animal 72 control agency, animal shelter, or animal rescue group that is 73 designated as an agency meeting the qualifications of s. 74 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that has requested 75 that its name be placed on the euthanization registry. Such an 76 agency, shelter, or rescue group must be included on the 77 euthanization registry regardless of the geographical location 78 of the agency, shelter, or rescue group and regardless of any 79 other factor except as described in subsection (3). 80 (b) The euthanization registry may include, at the 81 discretion of the animal control agency or animal shelter, any 82 person or animal rescue group that has not met the 83 qualifications of s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 84 (3) An animal control agency or animal shelter may refuse 85 to include a rescue group or person on the euthanization 86 registry or may remove it or the person from the euthanization 87 registry if a current director, officer, staff member, or 88 volunteer of the rescue group has been convicted in a court of 89 competent jurisdiction of a crime consisting of cruelty to 90 animals or neglect of animals, or if such charges are pending, 91 or if the rescue group is constrained by a court order that 92 prevents the rescue group from taking in or keeping animals. An 93 animal control agency or animal shelter may require the rescue 94 group to disclose any convictions, charges, or legal impediments 95 described in this subsection. 96 (4) The euthanization registry must include the following 97 information provided by the rescue group: 98 (a) The name of the rescue group or person. 99 (b) The mailing address and telephone number. 100 (c) The website and e-mail address, if any. 101 (d) The emergency contact information for the rescue group. 102 (e) The types of animals about whom the rescue group wishes 103 to be contacted, including species type and breed. 104 (f) A statement as to whether the rescue group is willing 105 and able to care for unweaned animals, sick or injured animals, 106 or animals that have behavior problems. 107 (5) An animal control agency or animal shelter may require 108 that a rescue group provide monthly for public inspection 109 information concerning the number of animals that: 110 (a) Have been taken from an animal control agency or animal 111 shelter and placed with the rescue group; 112 (b) Have been adopted; 113 (c) Have died or have been euthanized; or 114 (d) Remain in the care of the rescue group. 115 116 This information may be provided in an informal format, such as 117 via electronic mail. An animal control agency or animal shelter 118 may require additional information other than that described in 119 this subsection as a prerequisite for including a rescue group 120 on the euthanization registry or for continuing to maintain the 121 rescue group on the registry. 122 (6) An animal control agency or animal shelter may not 123 euthanize an animal until the animal control agency or animal 124 shelter has notified, or made a reasonable attempt to notify, 125 all rescue groups or persons on the euthanization registry who 126 have indicated a willingness to take an animal of that type. 127 (a) The notification must take place at least 24 hours 128 before the animal is scheduled to be euthanized. 129 (b) At a minimum, the notification must include a 130 verifiable electronic communication. Notification to each rescue 131 group is considered complete when this has been accomplished. 132 (c) An animal may not be euthanized if a rescue group or 133 person on the euthanization registry indicates a willingness to 134 take possession of the animal. 135 (d) The rescue group or person agreeing to take possession 136 of the animal must do so within 2 business days after notifying 137 the animal control agency or animal shelter that has possession 138 of the animal. 139 (e) The holding periods described in paragraphs (a) and (d) 140 must run concurrently with any holding period required by a 141 local ordinance or other provision of state law and are not in 142 addition to those mandated holding periods. A holding period for 143 a healthy animal may not, however, be less than a total of 3 144 days as described in paragraphs (a) and (d). 145 (f) The animal control agency or animal shelter may assess 146 a fee, not to exceed the standard adoption fee, for each animal 147 released to a rescue group. 148 (7) The requirements of subsection (6) do not apply in the 149 following cases: 150 (a) An irremediably suffering animal may be euthanized 151 without delay under s. 828.05. 152 (b) A dangerous dog may be euthanized without delay under 153 s. 767.13. 154 (c) Upon the impoundment of an unweaned animal without its 155 mother, an animal control agency or animal shelter that has not 156 placed the animal into foster care or is not able to provide 157 supplemental feeding shall immediately make an emergency appeal 158 to a rescue group or person on the euthanization registry who 159 has indicated a willingness to care for unweaned animals, and 160 shall give the rescue group or person a reasonable amount of 161 time, but not less than 8 hours, to respond to the appeal. 162 (8) An animal control agency or animal shelter shall 163 provide for public inspection a monthly and annual summary that 164 includes the number of animals, by species type, during the 165 previous month which were taken in by the animal control agency 166 or animal shelter and which were: 167 (a) Surrendered by the owner; 168 (b) Picked up as a stray; 169 (c) Confiscated by the animal control agency or animal 170 shelter; or 171 (d) Imported into the state. 172 (9) An animal control agency or animal shelter shall 173 provide for public inspection a monthly summary that includes 174 the number of animals, by species type, during the previous 175 month which: 176 (a) Were impounded; 177 (b) Were euthanized by the animal control agency or animal 178 shelter; 179 (c) Died, were lost, or were stolen while in the direct or 180 constructive care of the animal control agency or animal 181 shelter; 182 (d) Were returned to their owners; 183 (e) Were adopted; 184 (f) Were transferred to other organizations or rescue 185 groups; or 186 (g) Remain in the custody of the agency or shelter. 187 (10) Each animal control agency or animal shelter shall 188 provide for public inspection an annual summary that includes 189 the number of animals, by species type, during the previous 190 calendar year which: 191 (a) Were impounded; 192 (b) Were euthanized by the animal control agency or animal 193 shelter; 194 (c) Died, were lost, or were stolen while in the direct or 195 constructive care of the animal control agency or animal 196 shelter; 197 (d) Were returned to their owners; 198 (e) Were adopted; 199 (f) Were transferred to other organizations or rescue 200 groups; or 201 (g) Remain in the custody of the agency or shelter. 202 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.