Today, Governor Rick Scott visited Ponce Inlet to sign SB 1576, “Ponce’s Law” which creates harsher penalties for animal abusers. “Ponce’s Law” is named for a 9-month-old Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in Ponce Inlet last year. This legislation allows a judge to bar someone convicted of animal cruelty from owning a pet, and makes it more likely that an offender would to go prison.
A new Florida law allows judges to prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning Dogs or other pets in the future and makes it more likely that such individuals will serve time in prison.
Introduced last Fall by State Representatives Tom Leek and Jason Brodeur, HB 473, or “Ponce’s Law,” allows judges to bar anyone convicted of animal cruelty from owning an animal for a time determined by the court. It also increases a convicted person’s sentencing guidelines score for felony animal cruelty from Level 3 (16 points) to Level 5 (28 points), thus improving the chances of incarceration. Under current guidelines, 44 points results in an offender receiving prison time; judges who do not order incarceration must explain their departure from the guideline.