FINALLY - a story out of Florida that does not include some drunken man and his shotgun texting the police and riding an alligator down I-75 to confront his ex (and second cousin) because she stole his last beer. In honor of #DogsInPoliticsDay, I wanted to discuss a pending law in Florida that could really benefit and save the lives of many dogs. The Florida Senate is now reviewing the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act (P.A.W.S. Act). Ultimately, if approved, this bill could become a law that "permits individuals to use reasonable force to remove animals under certain circumstances." Fla. SB 200 (2015).
I know what you're thinking - that the law is super vague and what constitutes reasonable force and why would you ever have to use reasonable force to remove Foofy from your neighbor's shaded patio. Well, you are partially right - "rescuing Foofy" is not really the circumstance that this bill is aimed it. This bill is aimed at rescuing dogs from unattended vehicles. SAVING DOGS FROM HOT CARS! This is wonderful news - no dog should ever have to suffer and die trapped in a car that has been baking in the Florida sun.
|Here is a GREAT info-graphic from the ASPCA.|
While this tragedy happens nationwide (and worldwide), it is a particularly common headline in Florida given the extreme heat that our state experiences during the summer (and let's not kid ourselves, spring, fall, and winter, too). Most recently was the incident where a K-9 Officer left his two K-9s in his unattended vehicle at his home and the dogs died. THE K-9 DOGS DIED. How can someone have a profession as a K-9 officer and negligently kill their K-9 partners? (I am pretty mad about this one). Would these dogs be alive today if the P.A.W.S. act was in place? Perhaps. And here's why.
Under the P.A.W.S. Act, leaving a dog in an unattended vehicle would be a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. I am pretty sure a "police officer" (and I use that term lightly) would think twice about leaving his partners in a hot car if he could go to jail for doing so. I am pretty sure EVERYONE (well, not everyone - we are still in Florida, folks) will think twice before leaving their dog for "just a minute" while they go shopping for two hours at the mall. Just saying.
I think this bill marks a huge step in the right direction for animal rights and welfare in the State of Florida. Those of us that have a voice need to continue to push for legislation like this in all states and countries to ensure that animals are granted a higher quality of life. So, in honor of #DogsInPoliticsDay, put on your best bow-tie and GET INVOLVED. (OK, bow-tie is not necessary, just fashionably awesome). Become a dog in politics (or a dog loving human in politics). Oh, and if you vote for me, FREE BACON FOR ALL!