Florida Lawmakers Propose Bills to Appoint Courtroom Animal Advocates in Cruelty Cases

Florida legislators have introduced two bills, SB 272 and HB 297, proposing the appointment of courtroom animal advocates for criminal cases involving cats and dogs. Inspired by Connecticut's Desmond's Law, the bills aim to address light sentences for animal cruelty by having law students or attorneys with animal law backgrounds volunteer as advocates. Representative Berny Jacques, supporting the bills, highlights the correlation between animal abuse and subsequent violent criminal activity. The proposal, set for the 2024 Legislative Session, offers free advocacy services to monitor cases, review records, and ensure appropriate sanctions for animal abuse. If passed, the bills would go into effect by July 1, 2024.