Animal abuser registry bill on the table in Florida

Florida State Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) is on a mission to put all of the animal abusers in his state on notice. If Fasano gets his way, Florida Senate Bill 618 would allow for the creation of a complete animal abuser registry within the Department of Law Enforcement.

Similar to the National Sex Offender Registry, Fasano wants to make available to the public a searchable database of the names, addresses, and offenses of any individual over the age of 18 that has been convicted of animal cruelty and abuse. Animal abusers would be required to submit their information to the state along with a current photograph and an annual $50 fee. They would also have to notify the state of any change in address so that the information could be updated on the registry.

Senator Fasano is calling SB 618 “Dexter’s Law,” after a black-and-white kitten was brutally beaten with a metal baseball bat by woman and her two small children. Onlookers tried to rescue Dexter, but due to the severity of his injuries, Dexter had to be euthanized.

If SB 618 passes, it would be the first law of its kind in the state of Florida and only the fourth of its kind in the nation; animal abuse registry laws have passed in Suffolk County, New York, Rockland County, New York, and Albany County, New York.

Similar laws have been introduced in Ohio, California, and Colorado, but have so far failed to gain enough support.

If passed, Florida SB 618 would go into effect October 1st, 2012.

For more information on animal abuse registry efforts, visit the Animal Legal Defense Fund.


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