Senator Jeff Brandes has filed Senate Bill 504, which will help prosecutors more easily pursue individuals who abuse multiple animals and engage in animal fighting. “Violence against animals is a serious problem, and I’m committed to ensuring that our law enforcement and prosecutors have the necessary tools to bring animal abusers to justice,” Brandes said. “I believe it’s important to prevent this type of violence, and I look forward to swift approval by the Senate.”
The bill clarifies court interpretations of current statutes governing the prosecution of those found possessing animal-fighting paraphernalia. It also eliminates an obstacle that effectively blocked prosecutors from charging animal fighters without observing the offense first-hand. The bill allows prosecutors to charge offenders with multiple counts of animal abuse when multiple animals are involved; whereas, under the current law, offenders are typically only charged once.
“The Humane Society of the United States commends Senator Brandes for introducing this important bill that cracks down on animal fighting in our state,” stated Kate MacFall, Florida state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Animal fighting is an inhumane, barbaric activity that the public strongly opposes, and SB 504 sends a clear message to animal abusers that they will face a vigorous prosecution under the law.”