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A proposed bill in Florida would ban dogs from hanging their heads out of car windows

Zeus looks out of the car window as his owner picks up pet food at a Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department Drive-Thru Pet Food Bank, Thursday, June 4, 2020, at Lake Stevens Park in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee
/
AP
Zeus looks out of the car window as his owner picks up pet food at a Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department Drive-Thru Pet Food Bank, Thursday, June 4, 2020, at Lake Stevens Park in Miami Gardens, Fla.

A new bill has been proposed in Florida that would enact a series of animal protections and guidelines, such as banning cat declawing, animal testing for cosmetics and dogs hanging their heads out of windows.

Florida Senate Bill 932, filed by state Minority Democratic Leader Lauren Book, says that dogs would not be allowed to stick any part of their bodies out of the window, ride in the driver's lap or ride on motorcycles.

Dogs traveling in motor vehicles would not be able to ride on roofs, fenders or hoods. They would need to be secured in a size-appropriate crate, be in a harness or pet seat belt, or be under the supervision of someone other than the driver, the bill says.

Dogs would be able to ride in the beds of pickup trucks, but only in a crate that is secured to the truck and is big enough for the dog to sit, stand and turn around.

Violators would be subjected to noncriminal traffic infractions, according to the bill.

The bill also would make it illegal to declaw cats unless "for a therapeutic purpose," such as an illness or injury, the bill says. Cats should not be declawed, as it is their primary way to defend themselves in an attack, and the procedure can alter a cat's behavior and how they walk, according to PETA.

Veterinarians practicing declawing procedures could have their license revoked, be suspended or be subjected to a $5,000 fine under the bill.

Additionally, manufacturers would not be able to test cosmetics on animals, unless it is necessary under federal or state law, and in that case, manufacturers would have to indicate animal testing on product labels.

Floridians also would not be able to "tether" animals without supervising it. Tethering means to "tie a domestic dog or a domestic cat to a stationary or inanimate object with a rope, a chain, or another means to restrict, confine, or restrain the animal's movement," the bill says.

Exceptions apply, such as if the animal is being serviced by a vet or groomer, is participating in livestock herding or is being trained for use in law enforcement.

Sales of pet rabbits would also get an overhaul. They would not be permitted to be sold on any streets, flea markets or open-air venues, or during the months of March and April. Violations would be considered second degree misdemeanors under the bill.

Finally, the bill would establish a registry for people convicted of animal abuse. Registrants would remain on the list for three years after a first misdemeanor offense, five years after a first felony offense and 10 years after any further offenses.

Registrants also would not be allowed to own or work with animals.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: February 23, 2023 at 12:00 AM EST
An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the proposed registry of people convicted of animal abuse would include Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers. In fact, those numbers would not be included. Also, an earlier version incorrectly said that under Florida Senate Bill 932, dogs in motor vehicles would need to be in a crate, be in a harness or pet seat belt, and be under the supervision of someone other than the driver. In fact, dogs would need to ride under only one of those three conditions.
Ayana Archie

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