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New Law Shows No Mercy To Owners Who Abandon Dogs In Disasters

Mimzy - Pixabay / Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann - U.S. Coast Guard

Lawmakers in Florida aim to make life rough for pet owners who abandon their dog before a natural disaster.

A new bill in the state senate, Bill 1738, prohibits owners from leaving a tied up dog alone after the National Weather Service has issued a warning about natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Dog
Owners who tie up dogs during disasters could face jail time under a new law.4028mdk09 - Wikimedia

The law would also apply during "man made" disasters, or other emergencies where evacuation orders have been issued.

The bill also gives veterinarians the power to confidentially report owners suspected of breaking the new rules.

Any owners caught leaving their pooch to fend for itself could face a $5,000 fine and first-degree animal cruelty charges that carry up to a year of prison time under the new law.

This video shows a pair of dogs being rescued from flooding during Hurricane Florence in 2018:

The bill, which is being reviewed in the state senate, will take effect this summer if it’s passed.

The proposal by lawmaker Joe Gruters has already passed the state’s Agricultural Committee with no opposition.

In the hearing, Gruters said that "numerous dogs" are left tethered outdoors during major disasters like hurricanes, including during 2017’s Hurricane Irma when "dozens" of dogs were left in the storm’s path as their owners evacuated.

Dog shelter
You should always bring your dog with you during an emergency.Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt - U.S. Air Force

Gruters told the Palm Beach Post his bill is meant to give dogs the same "fighting chance" their owners get in a crisis.

While abandoned cats and other pets are often rescued from homes during emergencies, the language of the bill only protects tethered dogs.

In certain Florida counties, it’s already illegal to leave a dog tethered while its owner is away from home, or to leave a dog tethered during an emergency.

[H/T: ABC News, Palm Beach Post]

What do you think of this new law?

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