FL Legislature Passes S504 to Prevent Cruelty to Animals


In these tough times, when our government often seems too entrenched in party line protection than working together, the passage of S504 is especially encouraging.  This bill, which has now successfully passed both the House and the Senate, cracks down on animal abusers by counting every animal involved, or every act of cruelty as a separate offense and in some cases invokes the RICO act so that the abusers’ assets can be confiscated.


In the past, if someone were to be caught fighting dogs, for instance, they would be charged with one count of animal cruelty that could often be pled down to a $500.00 fine.  Now every dog involved can be a separate charge ($5,000.00 each) and the cars, jewelry and other assets of the dog fighters and spectators can be seized.



Florida Senate - 2013                       CS for CS for SB 504

       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Criminal Justice; and
       Senators Brandes, Gardiner, Lee, and Sachs

       576-04639-13                                           2013504c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to animal cruelty; amending s. 828.12,
    3         F.S.; specifying that a person who commits multiple
    4         acts of animal cruelty against one animal or acts of
    5         animal cruelty against multiple animals may be charged
    6         with a separate offense for each such act of animal
    7         cruelty; amending s. 828.27, F.S.; providing for
    8         additional uses by certain counties of proceeds of
    9         surcharges on animal control or cruelty violations;
   10         providing for expiration; amending s. 895.02, F.S.;
   11         including illegal animal fighting or baiting as an
   12         offense within the definition of the term
   13         “racketeering activity” for purposes of the Florida
   14         RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization)
   15         Act; providing an effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1.?Section 828.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   20  read:
   21         828.12?Cruelty to animals.—
   22         (1)?A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives,
   23  torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or
   24  unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same
   25  to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any
   26  animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, commits animal cruelty, is
   27  guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
   28  provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or
   29  both.
   30         (2)?A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal
   31  which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated
   32  infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same
   33  to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, is guilty of a
   34  felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082
   35  or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
   36         (a)?A person convicted of a violation of this subsection,
   37  where the finder of fact determines that the violation includes
   38  the knowing and intentional torture or torment of an animal that
   39  injures, mutilates, or kills the animal, shall be ordered to pay
   40  a minimum mandatory fine of $2,500 and undergo psychological
   41  counseling or complete an anger management treatment program.
   42         (b)?A Any person convicted of a second or subsequent
   43  violation of this subsection shall be required to pay a minimum
   44  mandatory fine of $5,000 and serve a minimum mandatory period of
   45  incarceration of 6 months. In addition, the person shall be
   46  released only upon expiration of sentence, is shall not be
   47  eligible for parole, control release, or any form of early
   48  release, and must serve 100 percent of the court-imposed
   49  sentence. Any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a
   50  conviction for purposes of this subsection.
   51         (3)?A person who commits multiple acts of animal cruelty or
   52  aggravated animal cruelty against an animal may be charged with
   53  a separate offense for each such act. A person who commits
   54  animal cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty against more than
   55  one animal may be charged with a separate offense for each
   56  animal such cruelty was committed upon.
   57         (4)(3)?A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state
   58  shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability
   59  for any decisions made or services rendered under the provisions
   60  of this section. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this
   61  subsection, immune from a lawsuit for his or her part in an
   62  investigation of cruelty to animals.
   63         (5)(4)?A person who intentionally trips, fells, ropes, or
   64  lassos the legs of a horse by any means for the purpose of
   65  entertainment or sport shall be guilty of a third degree felony,
   66  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
   67  As used in this subsection, “trip” means any act that consists
   68  of the use of any wire, pole, stick, rope, or other apparatus to
   69  cause a horse to fall or lose its balance, and “horse” means any
   70  animal of any registered breed of the genus Equus, or any
   71  recognized hybrid thereof. The provisions of this subsection
   72  shall not apply when tripping is used:
   73         (a)?To control a horse that is posing an immediate threat
   74  to other livestock or human beings;
   75         (b)?For the purpose of identifying ownership of the horse
   76  when its ownership is unknown; or
   77         (c)?For the purpose of administering veterinary care to the
   78  horse.
   79         Section 2.?Paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of section
   80  828.27, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   81         828.27?Local animal control or cruelty ordinances;
   82  penalty.—
   83         (4)
   84         (b)1.?The governing body of a county or municipality may
   85  impose and collect a surcharge of up to $5 upon each civil
   86  penalty imposed for violation of an ordinance relating to animal
   87  control or cruelty. The proceeds from such surcharges shall be
   88  used to pay the costs of training for animal control officers.
   89         2.?In addition to the uses set forth in subparagraph 1., a
   90  county, as defined in s. 125.011, may use the proceeds specified
   91  in that subparagraph and any carryover or fund balance from such
   92  proceeds for animal shelter operating expenses. This
   93  subparagraph expires July 1, 2014.
   94         Section 3.?Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
   95  895.02, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   96         895.02?Definitions.—As used in ss. 895.01-895.08, the term:
   97         (1)?“Racketeering activity” means to commit, to attempt to
   98  commit, to conspire to commit, or to solicit, coerce, or
   99  intimidate another person to commit:
  100         (a)?Any crime that is chargeable by petition, indictment,
  101  or information under the following provisions of the Florida
  102  Statutes:
  103         1.?Section 210.18, relating to evasion of payment of
  104  cigarette taxes.
  105         2.?Section 316.1935, relating to fleeing or attempting to
  106  elude a law enforcement officer and aggravated fleeing or
  107  eluding.
  108         3.?Section 403.727(3)(b), relating to environmental
  109  control.
  110         4.?Section 409.920 or s. 409.9201, relating to Medicaid
  111  fraud.
  112         5.?Section 414.39, relating to public assistance fraud.
  113         6.?Section 440.105 or s. 440.106, relating to workers’
  114  compensation.
  115         7.?Section 443.071(4), relating to creation of a fictitious
  116  employer scheme to commit reemployment assistance fraud.
  117         8.?Section 465.0161, relating to distribution of medicinal
  118  drugs without a permit as an Internet pharmacy.
  119         9.?Section 499.0051, relating to crimes involving
  120  contraband and adulterated drugs.
  121         10.?Part IV of chapter 501, relating to telemarketing.
  122         11.?Chapter 517, relating to sale of securities and
  123  investor protection.
  124         12.?Section 550.235 or s. 550.3551, relating to dogracing
  125  and horseracing.
  126         13.?Chapter 550, relating to jai alai frontons.
  127         14.?Section 551.109, relating to slot machine gaming.
  128         15.?Chapter 552, relating to the manufacture, distribution,
  129  and use of explosives.
  130         16.?Chapter 560, relating to money transmitters, if the
  131  violation is punishable as a felony.
  132         17.?Chapter 562, relating to beverage law enforcement.
  133         18.?Section 624.401, relating to transacting insurance
  134  without a certificate of authority, s. 624.437(4)(c)1., relating
  135  to operating an unauthorized multiple-employer welfare
  136  arrangement, or s. 626.902(1)(b), relating to representing or
  137  aiding an unauthorized insurer.
  138         19.?Section 655.50, relating to reports of currency
  139  transactions, when such violation is punishable as a felony.
  140         20.?Chapter 687, relating to interest and usurious
  141  practices.
  142         21.?Section 721.08, s. 721.09, or s. 721.13, relating to
  143  real estate timeshare plans.
  144         22.?Section 775.13(5)(b), relating to registration of
  145  persons found to have committed any offense for the purpose of
  146  benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal
  147  gang.
  148         23.?Section 777.03, relating to commission of crimes by
  149  accessories after the fact.
  150         24.?Chapter 782, relating to homicide.
  151         25.?Chapter 784, relating to assault and battery.
  152         26.?Chapter 787, relating to kidnapping or human
  153  trafficking.
  154         27.?Chapter 790, relating to weapons and firearms.
  155         28.?Chapter 794, relating to sexual battery, but only if
  156  such crime was committed with the intent to benefit, promote, or
  157  further the interests of a criminal gang, or for the purpose of
  158  increasing a criminal gang member’s own standing or position
  159  within a criminal gang.
  160         29.?Section 796.03, s. 796.035, s. 796.04, s. 796.05, or s.
  161  796.07, relating to prostitution and sex trafficking.
  162         30.?Chapter 806, relating to arson and criminal mischief.
  163         31.?Chapter 810, relating to burglary and trespass.
  164         32.?Chapter 812, relating to theft, robbery, and related
  165  crimes.
  166         33.?Chapter 815, relating to computer-related crimes.
  167         34.?Chapter 817, relating to fraudulent practices, false
  168  pretenses, fraud generally, and credit card crimes.
  169         35.?Chapter 825, relating to abuse, neglect, or
  170  exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult.
  171         36.?Section 827.071, relating to commercial sexual
  172  exploitation of children.
  173         37.?Section 828.122, relating to fighting or baiting
  174  animals.
  175         38.37.?Chapter 831, relating to forgery and counterfeiting.
  176         39.38.?Chapter 832, relating to issuance of worthless
  177  checks and drafts.
  178         40.39.?Section 836.05, relating to extortion.
  179         41.40.?Chapter 837, relating to perjury.
  180         42.41.?Chapter 838, relating to bribery and misuse of
  181  public office.
  182         43.42.?Chapter 843, relating to obstruction of justice.
  183         44.43.?Section 847.011, s. 847.012, s. 847.013, s. 847.06,
  184  or s. 847.07, relating to obscene literature and profanity.
  185         45.44.?Section 849.09, s. 849.14, s. 849.15, s. 849.23, or
  186  s. 849.25, relating to gambling.
  187         46.45.?Chapter 874, relating to criminal gangs.
  188         47.46.?Chapter 893, relating to drug abuse prevention and
  189  control.
  190         48.47.?Chapter 896, relating to offenses related to
  191  financial transactions.
  192         49.48.?Sections 914.22 and 914.23, relating to tampering
  193  with or harassing a witness, victim, or informant, and
  194  retaliation against a witness, victim, or informant.
  195         50.49.?Sections 918.12 and 918.13, relating to tampering
  196  with jurors and evidence.
  197         Section 4.?This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.


  • Show Comments (2)

  • Dirk A Dartsch

    A good thing, and yet they are slow to learn. Kudo's to Florida!

  • Susan Haughey

    This is good news. Hope it s enforced to the max. Every state should be uniform with these laws.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Namibia honors the cheetah with new postal stamp

To see the stamp, go to: http://www.namibstamps.com/namibia2006otjiwarongo.htm

Pair of Siberian tiger cubs born into zoo family

Pair of Siberian tiger cubs born into zoo family THERE were two noteworthy births ...

Leopard dies at Kansas zoo

Published Friday, August 25, 2006Topeka Capital-Journal Buta, a 16-year-old African leopard, died Wednesday evening ...