Proposed legislation on euthanasia at animal shelters

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - There's only one no-kill animal shelter in the state of Florida.

No-kill Advocacy group Fix Florida says most shelters in the state are classified as high-kill.

"They're killing anywhere from 50 percent of the pets who come in the door," said Jack Cory from Fix Florida.

As shelters fill up, they euthanize unadopted would-be pets to make space. Sometimes they're put down before no-kill private animal rescues are able to adopt them.

New legislation would prohibit shelters from euthanizing an animal if a rescue says it intends to adopt.

Some animals would be exempt from the protections if they're exhibiting signs of rabies, classified as dangerous, or if they're experiencing extreme suffering.

Shree Brown with Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue says despite sounding good on paper, she's concerned the legislation could open the door for illegitimate rescues to get in over their head.

"You could have someone who's just a hoarder, in fact, show up and claim to be a rescue," said Brown.

The Florida Animal Control Association is concerned the bill doesn't specify how long a shelter would have to hold an animal for a rescue.

"If a rescue organization has a willingness to take an animal then the shelter would have to hold that animal indefinitely. That could definitely lead to overcrowding," said Diana Ferguson from the Florida Animal Control Association.

Fix Florida says the concerns are worth the possible payoff.

"It saves the processing of the euthanasia. More importantly, it has a live happy pet in a home in the community and they're spending money in the community," said Cory.

A similar bill was proposed last year. It came with numerous restrictions on shelters.

This year's version focuses only on euthanasia.