Bill would punish owners who leave pets behind during disasters

Violators could face jail time, $5,000 fine

By Kelly Pepperman - Producer
Associated Press

Hurricane season is a few weeks away, but preparations like tree removal and trimming are already underway in parts of Central Florida.

Preparedness is just part of living in the Southeast in the months leading up to June 1. However, dozens of pets are still left behind during evacuations.

A bill introduced by State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, would punish pet owners for leaving a dog tied up and unattended outside during man-made or natural disasters. That includes hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes.

Associated Press

FILE- This Sept. 10, 2017 file photo shows waves crashing over a seawall at the mouth of the Miami River from Biscayne Bay, Fla., as storm surge from Hurricane Irma impacts Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The first-degree misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to a year in jail. The bill would also impose a fine of up to $5,000. Gruters’ bill (SB 1738) would take effect July 1.

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