Florida

Updates about legal issues facing animals in the state

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the federal, state and local levels to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals. This page is meant to be used as a resource to see what is happening in your state and what actions you can take for animals.

State Rankings

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. It is the longest-running and most authoritative of its kind, assessing the strength of each state’s animal protection laws by examining over 3,400 pages of statutes. Each state is ranked based on 19 different categories of animal protection.

Florida
Overall Rank: #10 (Top Tier)

  • +Felony animal fighting provisions for all species, and animal fighting is a RICO offense
  • +Court may require convicted offenders to undergo mental health evaluations or treatment
  • +Has “Good Samaritan” law allowing civilians to rescue animals left unattended in cars
  • -Care requirements/standards are not well defined
  • -No felony provisions for animal neglect or abandonment

Active Legislation

dog

Oppose: Pet Protection Act (Florida)

Would preempt new local retail sales bans for cats and dogs and would also prohibit municipalities from enacting any further safeguards against puppy and kitten mills. (SB 994/HB 849)
cat and dog

Retail Pet Sale Ban (Florida)

Prohibits retail pet stores from selling puppies and kittens (H.B. 253)
H.B. 253, sponsored by Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-41), would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats. Instead, stores would be able to partner with animal shelters and rescue organizations to offer animals for adoption. More than 70 local governments in Florida have already banned the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
law enforcement dog

Provide Funding for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs’ Veterinary Care (Florida)

Florida’s Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program Act would provide funding for retired law enforcement dogs’ vet care
The Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program Act would create a program to provide funding for the veterinary care of dogs formerly used in law enforcement. (H.B. 25/S.B. 226)
Empowering Local Governments to Pass 'Rights of Nature' Initiatives (Florida)

Empowering Local Governments to Pass ‘Rights of Nature’ Initiatives (Florida)

Provides local governments the power to recognize certain legal rights related to the natural environment (HB 6003)
In 2020, Orange County, Florida passed a groundbreaking “rights of nature” initiative, the first time county voters considered this type of charter in the country. Unfortunately, the Florida state legislature enacted a statute in 2020 that contains language stripping local governments of the power to pass these types of ordinances. HB 6049, introduced by Representative Anna Eskamani (D-47), removes this provision.
Cat

Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (Florida)

Courtroom Animal Advocates (SB 172)
Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) laws allow advocates — supervised law students or volunteer lawyers — to advocate for animal victims in criminal cruelty cases.

Active Cases

Challenging a Florida Kitten Breeder’s Cruelty and Fraud

Challenging a Florida Kitten Breeder’s Cruelty and Fraud

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Orlando-based kitten breeder and seller, Adorable Stars, for practicing veterinary medicine without a license, animal cruelty and neglect, and contract and tort claims.

Recent Victories

stray puppy

Cross-Reporting Suspected Abuse (Florida)

Requires cross-reporting of suspected abuse by child protective investigators and animal control officers (SB 96)
SB 96, sponsored by Senator Lauren Book (D-32), would require child protective investigators and animal control officers to report suspected animal and child abuse. Additionally, the bill strengthens penalties for the sexual abuse of animals.
shark

Racketeering of Aquatic and Wild Animal Life (Florida)

Adds wildlife crimes to the list of racketeering offenses (HB 783/SB 776)
Racketeering of Aquatic and Wild Animal Life (HB 783/SB 776) would add wildlife crimes to the list of racketeering offenses, allowing further penalty to those who illegally take, kill, sell, purchase, or possess wild animals under Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization) Act.
river

Recognizing the Right of Waterways to Be Free of Pollution (Orange County, Florida)

'Right to Clean Water Initiative,' Charter Question 1 — Public Vote
Recognizes waterways in Orange County, Florida have a right to exist, flow, be protected against pollution, and maintain a healthy ecosystem
shark

Ending the Shark Fin Trade (Florida)

The Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act (SB 680)
Limiting the sale, import, and export of shark fins
pigs

Challenging Backyard Butchers in Florida

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to shut down four black market backyard slaughter operations outside of Fort Myers, Florida.
greyhounds

Ending Greyhound Racing in Florida

Amendment 13 – public vote
The end of the Florida greyhound racing industry ensures that thousands of dogs will no longer be subjected to cruelty in the name of entertainment.

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

dog

Florida: Urge Your Representative to Oppose the Misleading ‘Pet Protection Act’

SB 994/HB 849 would preempt new local retail sales bans for cats and dogs and would also prohibit municipalities from enacting any further safeguards against puppy and kitten mills.
cow

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.
dog

No More Puppy Mills

Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible. As a result, unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect are rampant. Sign our pledge to boycott puppy mills. Together we can end cruel puppy mills.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but prime state legislation.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Learn how wild animals are exploited in circuses and traveling shows, and how you can help!
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Learn how to fight back against the cruel fur industry by passing a fur ban in your community! Led by Animal Legal Defense Fund Campaigns Manager Elizabeth Holtz, this webinar will walk you through the mechanics of fur production, the policy issues, including animal cruelty, environmental impacts, and public health, and more.