TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are looking to enact stricter penalties for people who abuse animals.
On Tuesday The House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee met to consider a bill that would change the state’s animal cruelty laws.
HB 121 would create two new criminal offenses under current Florida animal cruelty statutes.
Under the bill, anyone who “unlawfully kills any animal that is in the care, possession, or control of a family or household member” will be charged with a third degree felony.
The bill would also make it a felony for someone to “intentionally and knowingly, without lawful cause or justification, cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or death to any animal” during a domestic violence crime.
Under the proposed changes, anyone convicted would be required to complete psychological counseling or anger management as well as pay a minimum $2,500 fine for a first conviction.
Anyone convicted a second time faces a minimum of six months in jail, a minimum $5000 fine and is not allowed to own any animal for any length of time determined by the court.
If passed, the bill would take effect October 1, 2022.
A copy of HB 121 can be found here.
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