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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVI
Chapter 828
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F.S. 828.122
828.122 Fighting or baiting animals; offenses; penalties.
(1) This act may be cited as “The Animal Fighting Act.”
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Animal fighting” means fighting between roosters or other birds or between dogs, bears, or other animals.
(b) “Baiting” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals. In addition, “baiting” means the use of live animals in the training of racing greyhounds.
(c) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.
(3) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following acts commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:
(a) Baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting;
(b) Owning, possessing, or selling equipment for use in any activity described in paragraph (a);
(c) Owning, leasing, managing, operating, or having control of any property kept or used for any activity described in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b);
(d) Promoting, staging, advertising, or charging any admission fee to a fight or baiting between two or more animals;
(e) Performing any service or act to facilitate animal fighting or baiting, including, but not limited to, providing security, refereeing, or handling or transporting animals or being a stakeholder of any money wagered on animal fighting or baiting;
(f) Removing or facilitating the removal of any animal impounded under this section from an agency where the animal is impounded or from a location designated by the court under subsection (4), subsection (5), or subsection (7), without the prior authorization of the court;
(g) Betting or wagering any money or other valuable consideration on the fighting or baiting of animals; or
(h) Attending the fighting or baiting of animals.

Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, possession of the animal alone does not constitute a violation of this section.

(4) If a court finds probable cause to believe that a violation of this section or s. 828.12 has occurred, the court shall order the seizure of any animals and equipment used in committing the violation and shall provide for appropriate and humane care or disposition of the animals. This subsection is not a limitation on the power to seize animals as evidence at the time of arrest.
(5) If an animal shelter or other location is unavailable, a court may order the animal to be impounded on the property of its owner or possessor and shall order such person to provide all necessary care for the animal and to allow regular inspections of the animal by a person designated by the court.
(6) If a veterinarian finds that an animal kept or used in violation of this section is suffering from an injury or a disease severe enough that it is not possible to humanely house and care for the animal pending completion of a hearing held under s. 828.073(2), final disposition of the criminal charges, or court-ordered forfeiture, the veterinarian may euthanize the animal as specified in s. 828.058. A veterinarian licensed to practice in this state shall be held harmless from criminal or civil liability for any decisions made or services rendered under this subsection.
(7) If an animal can be housed in a humane manner, the provisions of s. 828.073 shall apply. For the purpose of a hearing provided pursuant to s. 828.073(2), any animal baited, bred, trained, transported, sold, owned, possessed, or used for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting shall be considered mistreated.
(8) In addition to other penalties prescribed by law, the court may issue an order prohibiting a person who is convicted of a violation of this section from owning, possessing, keeping, harboring, or having custody or control over any animals within the species that are the subject of the conviction, or any animals kept for the purpose of fighting or baiting, for a period of time determined by the court.
(9) This section shall not apply to:
(a) Any person simulating a fight for the purpose of using the simulated fight as part of a motion picture which will be used on television or in a motion picture, provided s. 828.12 is not violated.
(b) Any person using animals to pursue or take wildlife or to participate in any hunting regulated or subject to being regulated by the rules and regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(c) Any person using animals to work livestock for agricultural purposes.
(d) Any person violating s. 828.121.
(e) Any person using dogs to hunt wild hogs or to retrieve domestic hogs pursuant to customary hunting or agricultural practices.
(10) This section shall not prohibit, impede, or otherwise interfere with recognized animal husbandry and training techniques or practices not otherwise specifically prohibited by law. 1, 2, ch. 76-59; s. 1, ch. 81-224; s. 2, ch. 82-116; s. 1, ch. 85-289; ss. 1, 3, ch. 86-179; s. 202, ch. 91-224; s. 7, ch. 93-13; s. 230, ch. 99-245; s. 2, ch. 2002-51; s. 1, ch. 2003-188.