Monday, April 8, 2013

NRA lobbyist, Kennel Club fighting Florida pet services bill

Animal services agencies across the country have been hurting since the recession, both with the explosion of pets from people who can no longer care for their pets, and funds being cut.

A Florida lawmaker wants to let voters decide if more money should go to animal service agencies.

But a powerful lobbyist, and veterinarians, are fighting the bill.

Miami-Dade County lawmakers are pushing HB 1127, the Pet Trust Bill. The county's voters supported the idea last year. FL Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, thinks other counties should have the right to do it.

The bill creates a special taxing district, and uses the tax money for all sorts of pet services, and specifically spaying and neutering pets. About 80 percent of the funds have to go to Spay and Neuter Programs.

Supporters say the spaying and neutering programs, in the long run, is cheaper than euthanasia, and is better at controlling the pet population.

But this bill didn't even get voted on in committee Thursday, because opposition was so strong.

Who was opposing?

Marion Hammer, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, and National Rifle Association lobbyist.

According to the Miami Herald, Hammer told the committee that Florida would become a dumping ground for unwanted pets from other states.
“If this bill passes, Florida could become the pet welfare state of the nation,” she said. 
Veterinarians in Florida are also against this bill. The Florida Association of Kennel Clubs also opposes the bill. They don't like that property can be taxed to find these programs.

So it's not known what will happen to the bill in the Florida House. The companion bill in the Senate already passed its first committee. FL Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, is sponsoring the Senate's version.

If you want this bill passed in Florida (or you want it to fail), contact the members of the House committee on Local and Federal Affairs to try and get the bill back on the agenda for a vote. It has to pass the committees before it can get anywhere.

Here are the committee members and their contact information:

Gonzalez, Eduardo "Eddy" [R]   Chair
Pilon, Ray [R]   Vice Chair
Campbell, Daphne D. [D]   Democratic Ranking Member
Bracy, Randolph [D]   
Dudley, Dwight Richard [D]   
Ingram, Clay [R]   
La Rosa, Mike [R]   
Magar, MaryLynn "ML" [R]   
Moraitis, Jr., George R. [R]   
Powell, Bobby [D]   
Pritchett, Sharon [D]   
Rangel, Ricardo [D]   
Raschein, Holly Merrill [R]   
Rodríguez, José Javier [D]   
Santiago, David [R]   
Smith, Jimmie T. [R]   
Stone, Charlie [R]   
Van Zant, Charles E. [R]   

Also, if you live in Florida, you can find your state representative HERE. You can also find your state senator HERE.

Later this week we'll talk about other animal-related bills up for a vote in Florida's 60-Day Legislative Session.


  1. You know I really want to like this bill, but a quick reading left me cold...It's a good start, but not fully thought out and needs work...Right now if put before the voters it would probably fail

    1. Well I think a lot of those particulars would be left up to the individual counties who want to enact the bill. All this does is authorize the counties to create the idea and put it for a vote. Still three committees to go through, so there's still time.


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