Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1044 By Senator Pizzo 38-01198-20 20201044__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to animal cruelty; providing a short 3 title; creating s. 828.124, F.S.; defining the term 4 “treatment provider”; requiring veterinarians to 5 report suspected animal cruelty in certain 6 circumstances; requiring certain persons to report 7 suspected animal cruelty to a veterinarian; providing 8 duties for veterinarians; providing immunity from 9 criminal and civil liability for certain persons and 10 entities; prohibiting the alteration or destruction of 11 certain records; providing criminal penalties; 12 providing enhanced penalties for repeat violations; 13 amending s. 474.214, F.S.; specifying that failure of 14 a veterinarian to report suspected animal cruelty is 15 grounds for discipline; providing an effective date. 16 17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 18 19 Section 1. This act may be cited as “Allie’s Law.” 20 Section 2. Section 828.124, Florida Statutes, is created to 21 read: 22 828.124 Reporting animal cruelty; medical records.— 23 (1) As used in this section, the term “treatment provider” 24 includes any animal care facility, animal hospital, private 25 veterinary practice, animal shelter, veterinary school, 26 specialized veterinary hospital or any place dogs or cats are 27 seen for any kind of treatment. 28 (2) A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state who 29 knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a dog or cat 30 showing visible signs of cruelty, as prohibited under s. 31 828.12(1), has been or is being subjected to animal cruelty by 32 its owner or under its owner’s care shall report such knowledge 33 or suspicion within 48 hours after obtaining such knowledge or 34 suspicion to a local law enforcement or animal control agency 35 for investigation. 36 (3) A veterinary technician or an employee or volunteer of 37 an animal treatment provider, facility, or shelter who during 38 the normal course of care of a dog or cat knows or has reason to 39 suspect that a dog or cat showing visible signs of cruelty, as 40 prohibited under s. 828.12(1), has been or is being subjected to 41 animal cruelty by its owner or under its owner’s care shall 42 report within 24 hours to a veterinarian such knowledge or 43 suspicion, who shall, if the cooperation of the owner or 44 caretaker is obtained, attempt to examine the dog or cat within 45 24 hours after notification of suspected cruelty. If the owner 46 or caretaker refuses to permit a veterinarian to examine a dog 47 or cat that has been reported to a veterinarian under this 48 subsection as possibly subjected to animal cruelty, or the 49 veterinarian is otherwise unable to examine the animal, then the 50 veterinarian shall report the suspected cruelty to a local law 51 enforcement or animal control agency for investigation. 52 (4) A veterinarian, a veterinary technician, or an employee 53 or volunteer of a treatment provider, facility, or shelter 54 practicing in this state shall be held harmless from either 55 criminal or civil liability for any decisions made to report 56 suspected cruelty. Any such animal treatment provider, facility, 57 or shelter is immune from all civil liability for any decisions 58 made to report suspected cruelty and its cooperation with any 59 related investigation of cruelty to animals. 60 (5) It is a violation of this section for a veterinary 61 technician or any employee or volunteer of a veterinary 62 practice, treatment provider, facility, or shelter to knowingly 63 alter or destroy an existing medical record for the purpose of 64 concealing or attempting to conceal cruelty to a dog or cat. 65 (6)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a person who 66 violates subsection (5) commits a misdemeanor of the first 67 degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. 68 (b) A person who commits a second or subsequent violation 69 of subsection (5) commits a felony of the third degree, 70 punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. 71 Section 3. Paragraph (qq) is added to subsection (1) of 72 section 474.214, Florida Statutes, to read: 73 474.214 Disciplinary proceedings.— 74 (1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which 75 the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken: 76 (qq) Failure to report suspected animal cruelty to the 77 proper authorities. 78 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.