TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Legislation which creates harsher penalties for animal abusers is set to go into effect Oct. 1.
The measure known as “Ponce’s Law” is named for a 9-month-old Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in Volusia County last year.
The new law allows a judge to bar someone convicted of animal cruelty from owning a pet.
The legislation also increases the severity ranking of animal abuse related crimes, making it more likely that an offender would go to jail upon conviction.
Kate MacFall with the Humane Society of the Unites States hopes the new law will allow judges to make sure those who mistreat animals are not allowed to repeat the cycle of abuse.
“It gives that judge discretion to say they can’t have any contact with animals during their probation," said MacFall. "It clarifies that, and gives the judge the authority to have that as part of the sentencing, so that the criminal cannot have contact with animals during their probation.”
In addition to dealing with animal cruelty, the new law also creates policies and procedures for animal shelters to use following a natural disaster like a hurricane in order to return lost pets to their owners.
The Florida legislature unanimously passed the measure during the 2018 session.