New bill proposed to make leaving animal during a natural disaster a crime in Florida

Howling wind and pounding rain send families seeking shelter during hurricanes, but you better make sure to take your furry friend with you.

A new bill moving through the Florida Senate would punish pet owners who abandon their dogs during the storms.

Dog owner Mike Webb said, “They can’t take care of themselves they’re dependent on you.”

Under the proposed legislation leaving a dog outside, unattended, and restrained during a natural or manmade disaster is considered animal cruelty, a first degree misdemeanor.

“I don’t like a dog tied up at any time and especially during a hurricane when they can’t get free to at least try and save themselves if something happens,” explained dog owner Roger Paul.

The canine’s owner could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $5,000.

Webb told Action News Jax, “There are too many people that have dogs and cats and other animals and they don’t take care of them … They should be penalized and then the dog or cat shouldn’t even be with them anymore.”

Families said it’s a struggle to find places to stay that allow dogs, but it’s worth the extra effort.

If passed the law would take effect on July 1st.


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