Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1576 By Senator Steube 23-01207-18 20181576__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to lost or stray dogs or cats; 3 creating s. 823.151, F.S.; providing legislative 4 findings; requiring specified entities that take 5 receivership of lost or stray dogs or cats to adopt 6 written policies and procedures to ensure that every 7 reasonable effort is made to quickly and reliably 8 return owned animals to their owners; providing 9 requirements for such policies and procedures; 10 requiring that specified records be made available to 11 the public; providing an effective date. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 15 Section 1. Section 823.151, Florida Statutes, is created to 16 read: 17 823.151 Lost or stray dogs and cats.— 18 (1) The Legislature finds that natural disasters, such as 19 hurricanes, may result in an increase in owned dogs and cats 20 becoming lost or stray. The Legislature further finds that dog 21 and cat owners statewide should be afforded the opportunity to 22 quickly and reliably claim their lost pets. It is therefore 23 declared to be the public policy of the state that animal 24 control agencies and humane organizations shall adopt policies 25 and procedures to help return lost cats or dogs to identified 26 owners. 27 (2)(a) A public or private animal shelter, humane 28 organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane 29 organization or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated 30 political subdivision that takes receivership of any lost or 31 stray dogs or cats shall adopt written policies and procedures 32 to ensure that every reasonable effort is made to quickly and 33 reliably return owned animals to their owners. Such policies and 34 procedures shall include: 35 1. Upon intake, screening of lost or stray dogs and cats 36 for identification, including tags, licenses, implanted 37 microchips, and tattoos. 38 2. A process for matching received lost or stray dogs and 39 cats with any reports of lost pets received by the shelter from 40 owners. 41 3. Public notice of lost or stray dogs and cats received, 42 provided at the shelter or on the Internet, as appropriate, 43 within 48 hours of the animal’s admission. 44 4. Reasonable efforts to notify identified owners of lost 45 or stray dogs and cats within 48 hours of identification. Such 46 reasonable efforts may include, but are not limited to, attempts 47 to contact identified owners by telephone, by electronic mail, 48 by United States mail, or by personal service at the owner’s 49 last known phone number and address. 50 5. Notice to the public of the shelter’s location, hours, 51 fees, and the return-to-owner process posted on the Internet, 52 with the shelter’s business hours posted outside the shelter 53 facility and recorded on the shelter’s telephone answering 54 system message. 55 6. Access for owners to retrieve dogs and cats at least 1 56 weekend day per week and after 5:00 p.m. 1 weekday per week, 57 provided that complying with the requirements of this 58 subparagraph does not require an increase in total operating 59 hours. 60 7. Direct return-to-owner protocols that allow animal 61 control officers in the field to directly return lost or stray 62 dogs and cats to their owners when the owners have been 63 identified. 64 8. Procedural safeguards to minimize the euthanasia of 65 owned dogs and cats. Such safeguards shall include, but are not 66 limited to, record verification to ensure that each animal to be 67 euthanized is the correct animal designated for the procedure 68 and proper scanning for an implanted microchip using a universal 69 scanner immediately prior to the procedure. 70 9. Temporary extension of local minimum stray hold periods 71 after a disaster is declared by the President of the United 72 States or a state of emergency is declared by the Governor, if 73 deemed necessary by a local government in the area of the 74 declaration. 75 (b) Records related to this section and maintained by a 76 public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal 77 control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, 78 municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision must 79 be made available to the public pursuant to chapter 119. 80 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.