For the second year in a row, Representative Emily Slosberg-King (D-Boca Raton) and Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) have filed legislation making it illegal to tether an unattended domestic cat or dog. This legislation is named after the three-month-old puppy depicted below found abandoned, eating trash at a Tampa area cemetery, with a metal chain embedded in her neck, and was adopted from the Humane Society of Tampa and named “Penny” by former professional wrestler and Marvel Cinematic Universe actor Dave Bautista. Surgery was performed on the puppy to remove the chain, and recovery is underway. Mr. Bautista and others have offered a significant reward for information leading to information on the abuser.
With the passage of HB 1075/SB 1508 the owner of an unattended tethered dog or cat would get a warning for the first offense, a $250 fine for the second offense, and a $500 fine for every offense after that. Last session this bill passed its first committee with unanimous bipartisan support but ultimately stalled. With opportunities for open conversation, SB 1508 and HB 1075 can be a great success in keeping not only our beloved pets safe but also our children.
“As a dog lover, Floridian and adopter of Penny, a dog who has been horribly victimized by the cruelty of being chained, I am in full support of Senate Bill 1508 and House Bill 1075 to ban this inhumane practice,” said Dave Bautista.
“When dogs are tied up for 24/7, it makes them more aggressive and extremely dangerous,” said Senator Annette Taddeo. “We’ve had several incidents where kids have been killed because they got near a dog that was tied up. One kid’s death should be enough for us to do something about it, let alone multiple ones.”
Dogs should get lots of human interaction and love, and she says, with the backing of research based evidence, that long-term tethering can lead to many dangers for animals and humans.
“Unfortunately, we have repeatedly seen dogs and cats tethered in inhumane conditions across the state. Many are kept in deplorable conditions for their entire lives. Imagine living your entire life chained up, without clean water, without social contact,”Representative Slosberg-King said. “These bills are crucial to fighting these cruel living conditions and creating safer environments for our household dogs and cats.”
Renee Rivard, the Legislative Representative for The League of Humane Voters Florida Chapter stated: “Countless chained dogs have strangled themselves and died from heat exhaustion, not to mention the neglect of living on a chain 24/7. The two goals that we want to accomplish with an anti-dog chaining law are public safety and safety for the dog. A law that requires an able bodied person to be present while the dog is tethered will prevent the tragedies and neglect we have seen.”