New bill would punish owners who leave pets during hurricanes


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new bill making its way through the Florida legislature would punish owners who leave pets behind when a hurricane threatens the state.

SB 1738, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota, easily cleared the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee Monday.

The bill would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to leave a dog restrained or unattended during hurricanes, The Florida Times-Union reports.

A first-degree misdemeanor could send the person found guilty to jail for up to one year, and also a $5,000 fine.

According to the report, 49 dogs were rescued in Palm Beach County after Hurricane Irma in 2017.