Florida bill would punish people abandoning their dogs during hurricanes

Dog. (Credit: CBS News)

Animals left behind to face devastating storms as their owners flee to safer areas is not uncommon in our state. But a Florida senator wants to change that.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota wants to make it a first-degree misdemeanor to leave behind an unattended, restrained dog during hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions. The person would face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Gruters bill, SB 1738, would revise animal cruelty standards. It would make leaving a dog “outside and unattended by use of a restraint during a manmade disaster or a natural disaster” included in those standards.

“We want to give these dogs a fighting chance,” said Gruters during a committee hearing on his bill Monday.

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