Lawmakers looking to make it harder for shelters to euthanize animals

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
December 28, 2017

Photo: Univision KXLN-TV 45

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Nationally, 1.5 million animals are euthanized in animal shelters each year. Newly-filed legislation is looking to make it harder for shelters in Florida to add to that number.

There’s only one no-kill animal shelter in the state of Florida.

No-kill advocacy group 'Fix Florida' says, most shelters in the state are classified as high-kill.

“They’re killing any where from 50% of the pets who come in the door,” said Fix Florida member, Jack Cory.

As shelters fill up, they euthanize unadopted would-be pets to make space. Sometimes they’re put down before no-kill private animal rescues are able to adopt them.

The new legislation would prohibit shelters from euthanizing an animal if a rescue says it intends to adopt.

Some animals would be exempt from the protections; if they’re exhibiting signs of rabies, classified as dangerous or if they’re experiencing extreme suffering.

Shree Brown with Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue says, despite sounding good on paper, she’s concerned the legislation could open the door for illegitimate rescues to get in over their head.

“You could have someone who’s just a hoarder, in fact, show up and claim to be a rescue,” said Brown.

Diana Ferguson, with the Florida Animal Control Association, is concerned the bill doesn’t specify how long a shelter would have to hold an animal for a rescue.

“If a rescue organization a willingness to take an animal then the shelter would have to hold that animal indefinitely… that could definitely lead to overcrowding,” said Ferguson.

Cory says the concerns are worth the possible payoff.

“It saves the processing of the euthanasia… more importantly, it has a live, happy pet in a home in the community… and they’re spending money in the community,” said Cory.

A similar bill was proposed last year. It came with numerous restrictions on shelters. This year’s version focuses only euthanasia.

After passing similar legislation, California taxpayers saved $1.8 million.

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