Florida Democrat Lauren Book Introduces Bill to Ban Dogs From Sticking Head Out Car Window

Florida pet owners could soon find themselves in the dog house thanks to a new bill from Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Broward. Senate Bill 932 would make it illegal for dogs to stick their head out of the windows of a moving car or sit in the driver’s lap. SB-932, entitled the “Animal Welfare” bill, would also impose a long list of restrictions on how dogs can be transported and outlaw cats’ declawing.

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Under the bill, pet owners could face penalties for “taking specified actions relating to the transportation of dogs on public roadways.” Some of those actions include “allow[ing] a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway” or placing a dog “in such a position as to interfere with the person’s control over the driving mechanism of a motor vehicle.”

Additionally, dogs riding in a motor vehicle would need to be restrained with a safety harness, secured in the lap of someone other than the driver, or would need to be secured in a crate appropriate for its size.

The bill would also clamp down on owners who allow their dogs to ride in the bed of their pickup trucks. Owners would be required to secure a dog crate to the bed “to prevent the dog from escaping.” The bill specifies that the crate would need to be “Large enough to allow the dog to turn around normally, stand and sit erect, and lie in a natural position” and would need to offer protection from inclement weather and “direct sunlight.”

Failure to follow the new laws would be considered a noncriminal traffic infraction “punishable as a moving violation.”

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In addition, SB-932 would make the declawing of cats illegal without a necessary medical or “therapeutic” justification. Veterinarians guilty of performing declawing on a cat could face a $5,000 penalty for each offense and risk revoking their license. They may also be forced to undergo “remedial education” and be placed on probation. Cat owners could face a $1,000 penalty per violation.

The bill would also prohibit Florida businesses from “manufacturing, importing for profit, selling, or offering for sale” any cosmetic products developed through “animal testing.” Florida businesses would also be banned from “conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing.” The bill would impose an initial $5,000 penalty for violations, followed by an additional $1,000 fine for each additional day businesses do not comply.
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The Florida Department of Law enforcement would be required to maintain a publicly accessible registry starting Jan. 1, 2024, “which includes each person convicted of an animal abuse offense on or after that date.”

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If the bill were to pass both houses and receive the governor’s signature, it would be scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2023. The bill currently has not been assigned to any senate committees.

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