RESOLUTION 2004-05

Concerning Strengthening Statutes to Protect Service Animals from Attack

 

WHEREAS

The fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are guaranteed by the United States Constitution; and

 

WHEREAS

The purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is the removal of the social, legal, and economic barriers faced by the blind; and

 

WHEREAS

The goal of the Federation is the full integration of the blind into society on terms of equality; and

 

WHEREAS

Many blind and otherwise disabled Floridians use service animals to mitigate their disabilities; and

 

WHEREAS

Florida Statute 413.081 provides criminal penalties to those who distract service animals from their work or who, intentionally or  through reckless disregard, cause injury or death, or allows an animal under the control of such person to cause injury or death  to a service animal; and

 

WHEREAS

This Statute provides restitution of lost wages, medical, veterinarian, retraining or replacement of the service animal, and other costs incurred as the result of such an attack; and

 

WHEREAS

A number of cases in which a service animal and handler were so attacked have occurred during the past year; and

 

WHEREAS

Law enforcement and State’s Attorneys have failed to prosecute such cases due to apparent inadequacies of the language of the Statute; and

 

WHEREAS

The failure to prosecute these cases have limited the legal remedies available to these persons under the law; 

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED IN CONVENTION ASSEMBLED IN JACKSONVILLE THIS 30 DAY  OF MAY, 2004 THAT
 This Organization urges the Legislature, State’s Attorneys, and Law Enforcement Agencies, along with the Florida Association of guide Dog Users (FLAGDU) a Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida to form a task force to create enforceable language to effectively protect service animals from distraction, injury, or death due to the negligent or intentional actions of another or an animal under their control; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT

The Federation strongly urges the Florida Legislature to amend Florida Statute 413.081 as recommended by this task force; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT

This Organization pledges its resources to educate the Legislature, State’s Attorneys, law enforcement Agencies, and the general public about the value of service animals, the laws that protect our safe travel, and the penalties for violating these rights.