Gov. DeSantis Signs SB 96, Protecting Search and Rescue Animals

Jordan Kirkland - May 1st, 2019

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will increase the penalties for causing harm to search and rescue animals used by the Police and Firemen in the Sunshine State.

The bill () will make it a second-degree felony -- up from the third-degree -- for "intentionally and knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or death to, or using a deadly weapon upon, police canines or horses, fire canines, or SAR canines," according to the language of the law

The change will also boost the amount of potential prison time from five years to 15 years. In 2017, 140 police departments and 65 sheriff’s offices in Florida used specially trained dogs for purposes such as tracking criminal suspects and detecting drugs and bombs.

The bill will take effect on Oct.1.

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