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To Save Animals' Lives, Florida Lawmaker Proposes New Rules, Taxing Ability

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at the Paws and More No Kill Animal Shelter in Washington, Iowa.
Wikimedia Commons

Florida animal shelters could have to wait longer before destroying stray and abandoned pets. Legislation being pushed by a South Florida lawmaker would also let voters approve special animal care taxing districts.

Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Springs) says she isn't a pet owner, but she she's heartbroken by statistics that show nearly 700 animals are euthanized every day in Florida.

The legislation would ban shelters from automatically killing an animal at the end of its designated holding period. Before putting an animal down, shelters would have to prove that there are no empty cages available and no chance for animals to double up.

The legislation also allows county commissions to create 14-member Pet's Trust councils funded by special taxing districts. The taxing districts would have to be approved by voters and the councils would have to have at least two veterinarians and three representatives from non-profit animal rights groups.

First Coast No More Homeless Pets Development Director Nicole Brose says Jacksonville is already a "no-kill" community.

She says,"We try to save them all. At least 90 percent of all animals that come to the shelters leave the shelters alive." The only time animals do not leave the shelter alive is when they are "extremely aggressive and/or they are suffering medically, and it would not be humane to keep them alive," Brose says.

Photo Credit: "Dog in animal shelter in Washington, Iowa" By Nhandler [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Ray Hollister can be reached at, 904-358-6341 or on Twitter at @rayhollister.
Jim Ash is a reporter at WFSU-FM. A Miami native, he is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.