April 24, 2018 Photos by: Kidd Silencer/Shutterstock
Ponce’s law will give the authorities power to work towards ending the vicious cycle of animal abuse.
When a puppy was found beaten to death in Ponce Inlet last year, enraged Floridians realized that animal abusers often tend to get off too lightly for their heinous crimes. So they organized an online petition in hopes it will stir the government officials to impose stricter and harsher punishments for people who abuse the state’s four-legged citizens. 80,000 signatures and some months later, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed Ponce’s Law: a bill that will increase criminal penalties for animal cruelty charges.
Florida’s new animal cruelty law increased the severity ranking of an animal abuse-related crime, meaning that the offender is much more likely to serve jail time for their crimes. However, while the greater likelihood of prison time for animal abusers is certainly much-needed, it’s not what makes Ponce’s Law stand out among other animal welfare laws. The bill that was signed into the state law enables judges to prohibit the offender from owning an animal for a court-ordered period of time. So, not only that the authorities address the current crime, but they also take necessary steps to prevent another one from happening in the future.
To make sure that the animal abusers are keeping away from pets, animal control officer can be making periodic checks of their home to see if they’re complying with their sentence.
While it’s sad that it took a puppy being beaten to death to motivate the authorities to revisit the state’s animal cruelty laws, one can only hope that Florida’s actions will inspire others to act preventatively, rather than after the fact. By introducing harsher penalties instead of punishing animal cruelty with a slap on the wrist, as well as taking steps to prevent future abuse, we might be seeing a significant drop in animal-related crimes.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she’s not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.