Bill would punish people who leave behind dogs during hurricanes

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that would make it a crime for residents to leave their dog behind when a hurricane threatens the Sunshine State. 

Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota filed a bill, SB 1738, which would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to leave a dog restrained or unattended during a hurricane, according to The Florida Times-Union. The individual could end up in jail for up to one year and face a $5,000, if found guilty.

There are Florida counties, the Times-Union reports, that already “prohibit animals from being tethered in extreme weather, including but not limited to hurricanes, tropical storm, or tornadoes,” according to a Senate state analysis of the bill. Those counties include Sarasota and Palm Beach. 

However, the legislation would revise those standards to include leaving a dog “outside and unattended by use of a restraint during a manmade disaster or a natural disaster.” On Monday, the bill cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously. 

Read SB 1738 here.