Florida Senate - 2021                                     SB 216
       By Senator Pizzo
       38-00244A-21                                           2021216__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to reporting animal cruelty; providing
    3         a short title; amending s. 474.214, F.S.; specifying
    4         that the failure of a veterinarian to report suspected
    5         animal cruelty is grounds for disciplinary action;
    6         amending s. 474.2165, F.S.; conforming provisions to
    7         changes made by the act; creating s. 828.124, F.S.;
    8         defining terms; requiring veterinarians, veterinary
    9         technicians, and other animal treatment provider
   10         employees to report cases of suspected animal cruelty
   11         to certain officials; providing an exception;
   12         authorizing veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and
   13         other animal treatment provider employees to report
   14         suspected cases of animal cruelty at certain
   15         commercial food-producing animal operations under
   16         certain circumstances; providing immunity from
   17         liability and employment protections for certain
   18         persons; providing criminal penalties for the
   19         alteration or the destruction of medical records for
   20         specified purposes; providing construction; providing
   21         an effective date.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25         Section 1. This act may be cited as “Allie’s Law.”
   26         Section 2. Paragraph (qq) is added to subsection (1) of
   27  section 474.214, Florida Statutes, to read:
   28         474.214 Disciplinary proceedings.—
   29         (1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which
   30  the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:
   31         (qq) Failing to report suspected animal cruelty to the
   32  proper authorities pursuant to s. 828.124.
   33         Section 3. Paragraph (d) of subsection (4) of section
   34  474.2165, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   35         474.2165 Ownership and control of veterinary medical
   36  patient records; report or copies of records to be furnished.—
   37         (4) Except as otherwise provided in this section, such
   38  records may not be furnished to, and the medical condition of a
   39  patient may not be discussed with, any person other than the
   40  client or the client’s legal representative or other
   41  veterinarians involved in the care or treatment of the patient,
   42  except upon written authorization of the client. However, such
   43  records may be furnished without written authorization under the
   44  following circumstances:
   45         (d) In any criminal action or situation where a
   46  veterinarian suspects a criminal violation.
   47         1.Except as provided in subparagraph 2., if a criminal
   48  violation or animal cruelty as defined in s. 828.124 is
   49  suspected, a veterinarian must may, without notice to or
   50  authorization from the client, report the violation to a law
   51  enforcement officer, an animal control officer who is certified
   52  pursuant to s. 828.27(4)(a), or an agent appointed under s.
   53  828.03.
   54         2.However, If a suspected violation occurs at a commercial
   55  food-producing animal operation on land classified as
   56  agricultural under s. 193.461, the veterinarian may report the
   57  violation to a law enforcement officer, an animal control
   58  officer who is certified pursuant to s. 828.27(4)(a), or an
   59  agent appointed under s. 828.03. In such cases, the veterinarian
   60  must provide notice to the client or the client’s legal
   61  representative before reporting the suspected violation to an
   62  officer or agent under this subparagraph paragraph. The report
   63  may not include written medical records except upon the issuance
   64  of an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.
   65         Section 4. Section 828.124, Florida Statutes, is created to
   66  read:
   67         828.124Reporting animal cruelty; medical records.—
   68         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   69         (a)“Animal cruelty” means any act or omission that
   70  constitutes a violation of s. 828.12, s. 828.122, s. 828.126, or
   71  s. 828.13.
   72         (b)“Animal treatment provider” includes any animal care
   73  facility, hospital, mobile service or clinic, or shelter;
   74  private veterinary practice; college of veterinary medicine or
   75  veterinary technology program; or specialized veterinary
   76  hospital or any place dogs or cats are seen for any kind of
   77  treatment.
   78         (c)“Good faith report” means a report of animal cruelty
   79  which is made by a person without malice or consideration of
   80  personal benefit who has reasonable cause to believe such report
   81  is true.
   82         (2)All of the following individuals must report suspected
   83  past or current cases of animal cruelty to a local law
   84  enforcement officer, an animal control officer who is certified
   85  pursuant to s. 828.27(4)(a), or an agent appointed under s.
   86  828.03:
   87         (a)A veterinarian, if he or she has a
   88  veterinarian/client/patient relationship with the animal.
   89         (b)A veterinary technician who is employed by an animal
   90  treatment provider or any other employee of the animal treatment
   91  provider, if the animal is a current patient of the animal
   92  treatment provider with whom the technician or employee is
   93  employed.
   95  This subsection does not apply to a suspected violation at a
   96  commercial food-producing animal operation on land classified as
   97  agricultural under s. 193.461.
   98         (3)If a suspected violation occurs at a commercial food
   99  producing animal operation on land classified as agricultural
  100  under s. 193.461, a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or
  101  other animal treatment provider employee may report the
  102  suspected violation to a local law enforcement officer, an
  103  animal control officer who is certified pursuant to s.
  104  828.27(4)(a), or an agent appointed under s. 828.03, if the
  105  person who makes the report complies with the notice
  106  requirements established under s. 474.2165(4).
  107         (4)A veterinarian, veterinary technician, or other animal
  108  treatment provider employee who makes a good faith report of
  109  animal cruelty pursuant to this section to a local law
  110  enforcement officer, an animal control officer, or an appointed
  111  agent shall be held harmless from criminal liability, civil
  112  liability, professional disciplinary action, and employer
  113  retaliation.
  114         (5) A veterinary technician or an animal treatment provider
  115  employee or volunteer, excluding veterinarians who are subject
  116  to chapter 474, who knowingly alters or destroys a medical
  117  record for the purpose of concealing or attempting to conceal
  118  animal cruelty or cause the same to be done commits a
  119  misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
  120  775.082 or s. 775.083.
  121         (6)This section may not be construed to prohibit any
  122  person from making a good faith report of suspected animal
  123  cruelty to any national, state, or local law enforcement
  124  authority or any animal control agency.
  125         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.