New law could ban anyone convicted of animal cruelty from owning a pet

Posted at 12:48 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 11:39:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WWSB) - Florida News Service is reporting that new legislation that creates harsher penalties for animal abusers is set to go into effect October 1. 

According to Florida News Service, the measure is known as 'Ponce's Law' and is named after 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 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. 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," said Kate MacFall. 

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.

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