By: Gina Pitisci
Tallahassee, FL – A bill presented in the Senate today would require animal shelters that accept public funding to document how many animals they take in and what ultimately happens to those animals.
This information would be available to the public and supporters of the bill say the data will not only educate the community but hopefully help save the lives of thousands of unwanted animals as well.
Jack Cory with Fix Florida, was one of many supporters that attended the senate hearing in support of SB 674 which passed unanimously. He says "there are 250,000 shelter pets killed a year in the state of Florida, we think we can reduce that by at least 100,000 a year just by educating people on the high kill shelters."
Chair and Bill Sponsor, Senator Bill Montford says "What we desperately need in Florida is good sound data in terms of how many animals we take into the animal shelters and what happens to them. Quite frankly, we don't have that type of data throughout Florida."
Senate Bill 674 would require public and private animal shelters and control agencies that accept public funds to collect simple data on how many cats and dogs they receive into the shelter, where the animals come from, what happens to those cats and dogs (adopted, euthanized, transferred to another shelter, etc.) and make that data available for the public to review for up to 3 years.
President of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs supports the bill and says "all we're asking for at this point and the first step is to collect information. There are no penalties in this bill, it doesn't punish anybody, if they say they don't have a computer do it with pencil and paper, the old fashion way...one, two, three, four, hash."
Cory and James say this bill requiring shelters to report data about the animals and have that data accessible to the public will provide transparency and help educate citizens. Cory says "we just do not believe that it is in the conscience of Tallahassee and Leon County to continuously kill 50 percent of the shelter pets each and every year, we just don't think they know it." James asks the questions "where do we have a real population problem with the animals, what kind of animals are the problem, where did they come from, where did they end up going. It is purely data gathering."
Senator Montford also says the data collected by shelters will help them make better decisions in the future on how to handle potential animal over population problems.