823.15 Dogs and cats released from animal shelters or animal control agencies; sterilization requirement.—
(1) The Legislature has determined that the importation of dogs and cats into, and the uncontrolled breeding of dogs and cats in, this state pose risks to the well-being of dogs and cats, the health of humans and animals, and the agricultural interests in this state. Importation of dogs and cats from outside the United States could result in the transmission of diseases that have been eradicated in the United States to dogs and cats, other animals, and humans living in this state. Uncontrolled breeding results in the birth of many more puppies and kittens than are needed to provide pet animals to new owners or to replace pet animals that have died or become lost. This leads to many dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens being unwanted, becoming strays and suffering privation and death, being impounded and destroyed at great expense to the community, and constituting a public nuisance and public health hazard. It is therefore declared to be the public policy of the state that every feasible means be used to reduce the incidence of birth of unneeded and unwanted puppies and kittens. Determining which programs result in improved adoption rates and in reduced euthanasia rates for animals in shelters and animal control agencies is crucial to this effort.
(2)(a) Each public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane organization or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision, shall prepare and maintain the following records and make them available for public inspection and dissemination for the 3 preceding years. The following data will be available on a monthly basis commencing July 31, 2013:
1. The total number of dogs and cats taken in by the animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency, divided into species, in the following categories:
a. Surrendered by owner;
e. Transferred from within Florida;
f. Transferred into or imported from out of the state; and
g. Born in shelter.
Species other than domestic cats and domestic dogs should be recorded as “other.”
2. The disposition of all animals taken in by a public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision, divided into species. These data must include dispositions by:
b. Reclamation by owner;
c. Death in kennel;
d. Euthanasia at the owner’s request;
e. Transfer to another public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision;
g. Released in field/Trapped, Neutered, Released (TNR);
h. Lost in care/missing animals or records; and
i. Ending inventory/shelter count at end of the last day of the month.
3. A public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society, or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision which routinely euthanizes dogs based on size or breed alone must provide a written statement of such policy. Dogs euthanized due to breed, temperament, or size must be recorded and included in the calculation of the total euthanasia percentage.
(b) Records of a public animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society must be made available to the public pursuant to provisions in chapter 119.
(3) In furtherance of this policy, provision shall be made for the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released for adoption from any public or private animal shelter or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, city, or other incorporated political subdivision, by either:
(a) Providing sterilization by a licensed veterinarian before relinquishing custody of the animal; or
(b) Entering into a written agreement with the adopter or purchaser guaranteeing that sterilization will be performed within 30 days or prior to sexual maturity. The shelter or animal control agency shall require a sufficient deposit from the adopter or purchaser, which deposit shall be refundable upon presentation to the shelter or animal control agency of written evidence by the veterinarian performing the sterilization that the animal has been sterilized. The deposit or donation may be based upon recommended guidelines established by the Florida Federation of Humane Societies. Failure by either party to comply with the provisions of this paragraph shall be a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08(3), punishable by a fine, forfeiture, or other civil penalty, and, in addition thereto, the deposit or donation shall be forfeited to the shelter or animal control agency. Any legal fees or court costs used for the enforcement of this paragraph are the responsibility of the adopter. Upon the request of a licensed veterinarian, and for a valid reason, the shelter or animal control agency shall extend the time limit within which the animal must be sterilized.
(4) All costs of sterilization pursuant to this section shall be paid by the prospective adopter unless otherwise provided for by ordinance of the local governing body, with respect to animal control agencies or shelters operated or subsidized by a unit of local government, or provided for by the humane society governing body, with respect to an animal control agency or shelter operated solely by the humane society and not subsidized by public funds.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 80-87; s. 1, ch. 2013-32.