Florida Strengthens Animal Cruelty Law

On March 23, National Puppy Day, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed “Ponce’s Law” to increase penalties for animal abusers. Named after a Labrador puppy found beaten to death, the new law raises animal cruelty from a level three to a level five offense. Under Florida’s sentencing guidelines, which assign points to offenses, this change increases the likelihood of an offender going to jail. Ponce’s Law also allows judges to prohibit abusers from having contact with animals, and requires shelters to take additional steps to reunite owners and lost pets after hurricanes. Ponce’s accused killer awaits trial on felony cruelty charges.