Lifesaving Legislation - the Florida Animal Rescue Act - Takes Historic Step Forward; Passes Senate Committee Unanimously

Jan 27, 2012, 07:30 ET from No Kill Nation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Monday, January 23rd, the Florida Animal Rescue Act (SB 818), was unanimously approved by the Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee.  The bill's next stop is the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee. Floridians are asked to visit to learn more about the bill, and utilize action alerts to write the House Subcommittee, and contact their state representatives in support.

This groundbreaking legislation will make it illegal for shelters to kill an animal that a qualified 501(c)(3) rescue organization is willing to save. The bill also requires that all public and private animal shelters publicly document the intake and outcome for each animal—whether they are returned to owner, adopted, euthanized, or otherwise—and to disclose the shelter's performance for all animals under their care.

By prohibiting the needless killing of an animal that a qualified rescue group is willing to save, the Florida Animal Rescue Act will shift the focus of shelters from killing to saving lives. In addition, by requiring public accountability, Florida residents will know, for the first time, what happens to animals in the custody of shelters, what takes place out of the public eye, and ultimately how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.

A statewide survey of Florida rescue groups found that 63% of non-profit animal rescue organizations have had at least one Florida shelter refuse to work collaboratively with them and then turn around and kill the very animals they were willing to save. The most common reason given was shelters either having a policy of not working with rescue groups or being openly hostile to doing so. The same survey also found that 45% of respondents are afraid to complain about inhumane conditions or practices at Florida shelters because if they did complain, they would not be allowed to rescue animals, thus allowing those inhumane conditions to continue.

Shelters should reflect the humane values of the public. Yet, every year, thousands of healthy animals are killed in Florida's shelter facilities. It makes no sense to kill animals in the face of cost-effective alternatives, nor does it make sense that taxpayers are spending money to kill animals when non-profit organizations are willing and able to save them at private expense.

The Florida Animal Rescue Act will save lives, save taxpayer money, and improve public satisfaction with the job shelters are doing. 

SOURCE No Kill Nation