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Harsher Penalties for Animal Abusers Under Florida’s New Animal Cruelty Law

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A sad and disturbing case involving a badly abused dog has changed the law in Florida with harsher penalties for those who abuse animals. The new law gives judges the ability to ban a person convicted of animal abuse from owning another animal in the future. Harsher prison sentences have been passed as well. The new law that was signed by Governor Rick Scott in late March is taking a stand for animals and is set to take effect later in the year.

The law is known as Ponce’s Law, named after a 9-month old Labrador puppy that was found beaten to death in a Ponce Inlet backyard last year. The horrible abuse was a wake-up call for representatives in the state – both the Senate and the House passed the law unanimously.

Photo by Ola Olsson, All CC

Animal Rights advocates pushed for harsher and stricter punishments for those abusing animals. While they wanted animal abuse to be considered a second-degree felony, the new law is still a win. Under the new law, animal abuse is a level 5 offense, up from the original standing of level 3, increasing prison time for those found guilty. Over 80,000 people supported Ponce’s Law, which was introduced by the Ormond Beach Republican State Representative Tom Leek.

Photo by Ricardo Sato, All CC

Florida Courts have seen many animal abusers become repeat offenders and hope that this new law will help eliminate new cases of animal cruelty and abuse. If convicted, an animal abuser is no longer able to own animals. The new law will save innocent lives by blocking future ownership and allow the courts to punish offenders with harsher, longer prison sentences.

As Florida sets an example, animal lovers everywhere are hoping that other states will follow.

Feature image by Josh Rook , All CC

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