dog and vet

Allie’s Law (Florida)

Imposes mandatory veterinary reporting of suspected animal abuse (SB 216/HB 47)

Allie’s Law, SB 216/HB 47, sponsored by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-38) and Representative Dan Daley (D-97), requires veterinary professionals to report suspected animal cruelty to law enforcement. It also holds veterinary professionals liable for altering animal medical records to cover up abuse.

Updated

January 12, 2021

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

Veterinarians play a critical role in fighting animal cruelty. They are uniquely positioned both to witness animal abuse and identify signs of abuse. Allie’s Law, SB 216/HB 47, sponsored by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-38) and Representative Dan Daley (D-97), requires veterinary professionals to report suspected animal cruelty to law enforcement. It also holds veterinary professionals liable for altering animal medical records to cover up abuse.

Allie’s Story

Allie’s Law is named in honor of a Boston terrier named Allie who was removed from a backyard breeding operation in Florida after the breeder took a then-pregnant Allie to a veterinarian for an emergency C-section. The breeder surrendered Allie, stating he couldn’t pay for the surgery. Despite Allie’s visible scars, the veterinarian’s office did not report the breeder to police. Allie’s puppies were returned to the breeder, and a staff member sold Allie on Craigslist. Ultimately, Allie was adopted by Dave Heine, a member of the Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida, and his wife, after Dave saw her online. Dave, who passed away in 2020, was a driving force behind the bill.

Combatting All Forms of Abuse

Violence against humans and violence against animals are intertwined. There is an established link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans — regularly referred to as “The Link.” For example, an investigation by 10TampaBay revealed that 42 Tampa Bay area residents who had been arrested for animal abuse had also been arrested for domestic violence since 2015. Veterinary reporting allows law enforcement to intervene in situations where multiple members of the family may be experiencing violence.

Veterinary Reporting Across the Country

As of 2019, 19 states mandate veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty. The remaining states permit, implicitly or explicitly, veterinary reporting.

Learn more about veterinarians’ role in reporting abuse.

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