1) Section 828.073, F.S. provides procedures by which a neglected or mistreated animal can be removed from custody or ordered to be cared for by its owner.
The bill amends s. 828.073, F.S., to:
• Create a timeframe of within 10 days after an animal is seized or upon issuance of an order to provide care, that law enforcement officers and animal cruelty prevention agents must file petitions for custody proceedings involving neglected animals.
• Consolidate the current timeframes of the scheduling and commencement hearings of the court to both be held within 30 days after such petitions are filed.
• Direct county courts to expedite the commencement of such custody proceedings and exempt the owner from payment of care provided for the animal during any period of delay caused by the officer or agent involved.
• Decrease the period from five to three days within which written notice must be served to the owner of the animal before the hearing date of such custody proceedings.
• Delete the order to serve notice in accordance with chapter 49, F.S., service of process, relating to when the owner of the animal is residing outside of the county where the animal was taken.
• Authorize the court, upon judgment that the owner of the animal is unable or unfit to adequately provide for the animal, to take certain actions regarding the disposal of the animal.
• Delete the provision requiring the testimony of the agent who took custody of the animal, or the testimony of other qualified witnesses in order for the court to order an animal destroyed or remanded into custody.
• Provide clarifying technical changes.
2) Section 828.28, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
828.28 Local animal licensing ordinances; notices.—
(1) Any county or municipality that has a licensing requirement for dogs must provide notice to dog owners at least 45 days prior to any licensure renewal deadline. The notice must contain information describing the licensing requirements and any associated penalties.
(2) Counties and municipalities with licensing requirements are encouraged to develop online licensing systems to provide a convenient and cost-effective licensing process.