Saturday, February 25, 2012

Florida Animal Rescue Act (the bill)

If you aren’t familiar with it please go here: and here’s the bill itself: If you don’t want to read it (although I highly recommend it) basically FARA is intended to protect animals slated for euthanasia that eligible rescues are interested in saving. It would make it illegal for the shelter to kill an animal that a qualified non-profit rescue is willing to take over custody. Many times in the past rescue groups have been denied access to animals they wanted to save only to have the shelter turn around and put the animal to sleep. This bill is intended to help save more animals, free up space in shelters for other pets, and reduce costs by transferring animals from public tax funded shelters into privately funded rescues and shelters.
I just read the bill in its entirety. I’m not a lawyer but it looks pretty good to me. Some of the concerns I’ve heard/read about are already addressed within the bill. It seems to be that its just a big fight between animal advocates (and maybe some animal “advocates”) at this point.
One of the concerns was that hoarders posing as rescues would come adopt the animals since there aren’t a lot of regulation on non-profit rescues. But within the bill it states that the shelter may create their own regulations for rescues to be eligible on their euthanasia rescue list. So each shelter can determine what makes another rescue/shelter able to take over guardianship of their animals. That seems fair.
*2/28/12 edit: I made an error when I stated that the shelters would be able to create there own criteria, they are not but they are allowed to request records for all pets within a rescue and the outcome of said pets. The shelter is also permitted to refuse any rescue that has or had any staff/volunteers with animal abuse or neglect charges. These records they are also permitted to request. They are not allowed to have any other reasons for refusing a rescue as long as they have FL 501c non profit status. So not quite as good as I thought, but its still a step towards saving more lives. Which is what matters. (I just printed the bill and am reading it line by line, highlighting things. I may dissect the bill for you all at some point, although I have no law/legal background...maybe  River's old owner will hook a girl up)*
Another concern was that animals medically hopeless would suffer having to wait for a rescue to take them. Line 148-161 prevents this from happening:
  148       (7)The requirements of subsection (6) do not apply in the
  149  following cases:
  150         (a)An irremediably suffering animal may be euthanized
  151  without delay under s. 828.05.
  152         (b)A dangerous dog may be euthanized without delay under
  153  s. 767.13.
  154         (c)Upon the impoundment of an unweaned animal without its
  155  mother, an animal control agency or animal shelter that has not
  156  placed the animal into foster care or is not able to provide
  157  supplemental feeding shall immediately make an emergency appeal
  158  to a rescue group or person on the euthanization registry who
  159  has indicated a willingness to care for unweaned animals, and
  160  shall give the rescue group or person a reasonable amount of
  161  time, but not less than 8 hours, to respond to the appeal.
Subsection 6 states that they are not allowed to euthanize an animal until all efforts have been made to contact the rescues on their list. Ok problem solved right?
I think those are the main concerns but ask me or read the bill, I’m sure its covered. The thing that I think it really cool and holds shelters accountable for their actions is the end part where each shelter or animal control agency is required to provide monthly and annual reports for the public to view about all their intakes and the outcome in statistic form of course. However, I would like to see this kind of thing for ALL animal rescue groups. 
The recent status of FARA: As of January 26, 2012 the Florida Animal Rescue Act passed unanimously in the State Senate Committee on Community Affairs. The next step is the State House. Please urge your State House Representatives to vote for this bill.
Peace Love and Pawprints. 


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