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.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Section 823.151, Florida Statutes, is created to
   16  read:
   17         823.151Lost 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.