Jason Pizzo joins Dan Daley, Scott Plakon on measure requiring vets to report suspected animal abuse
The measure is dubbed “Allie’s Law” after a Boston terrier from Orlando who survived abuse.
By Ryan Nicol on November 25, 2019
State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Miami Democrat, has filed legislation (SB 1044) that would require veterinarians who see signs of animal abuse of a dog or cat to report that abuse to law enforcement.
The measure is dubbed “Allie’s Law” after a Boston terrier from Orlando who survived abuse. According to a group pushing for the measure, that abuse was recognized by a veterinarian but never reported.
That’s because Florida law does not place a duty on vets to report suspected abuse. Allie’s Law would change that.
State Rep. Dan Daley, a Coral Springs Democrat, and Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican, have filed a version of the measure in the Florida House (HB 621).
“The cycle of abuse must end. Animal abuse is an indicator that a home is not safe and is usually correlated with family dysfunction including domestic, child, and elder abuse,” Daley said in a statement on the bill.
“I am honored to work on this bipartisan legislation this year in Tallahassee and intend on working to stop the unfair treatment of innocent animals and to break the cycle of abuse.”
The law applies to veterinarians who “knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a dog or cat showing visible signs of cruelty … has been or is being subjected to animal cruelty by its owner or under its owner’s care.”
If the vet sees those signs they are required to “report such knowledge or suspicion within 48 hours after obtaining such knowledge or suspicion to a local law enforcement or animal control agency for investigation.”
The law also covers scenarios where another employee at an animal treatment center sees such signs of abuse.
If a non-vet employee sees those signs, they are to report them to a veterinarian within 24 hours. The vet would then seek permission from the owner to examine the animal within 24 hours from being notified.
“If the owner or caretaker refuses to permit a veterinarian to examine” the animal, “then the veterinarian shall report the suspected cruelty to a local law enforcement or animal control agency for investigation.”
If successful, the measures would go into effect on July 1, 2020.
Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you’d like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]