Florida Bill Would Establish Courtroom Animal Advocate Program

Florida Senate Bill 172 would establish a “courtroom animal advocate program,” requiring the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar to maintain a list of legal practitioners who are eligible to be appointed as an advocate for the interests of an animal in certain civil and criminal court cases. Advocates would be given access to all aspects of the case and would provide services including information and recommendations to the court as well as animal victim impact statements. At this time, Connecticut and Maine are the only states that have instituted courtroom animal advocate programs. If enacted, the bill would become effective July 1, 2022.