RESOLUTION 2017 - 02

Regarding Enforcement of Florida Statute 413.081 Concerning Rights of an Individual with a Disability; Use of a Service Animal

 

Whereas Florida Statute 413.081(1) provides that "a person who, with reckless disregard, interferes with, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to interfere with, the use of a service animal by obstructing, intimidating, or otherwise jeopardizing the safety of the service animal or its user commits a misdemeanor of the second degree for the first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree for each subsequent offense"; and

Whereas Florida Statute 413.081(2) provides that "A person who, with reckless disregard, injures or kills, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to injure or kill, a service animal commits a misdemeanor of the first degree"; and

Whereas Florida Statute 413.081(3) provides that "A person who intentionally injures or kills, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to injure or kill, a service animal commits a felony of the third degree"; and

Whereas Florida Statute 413.081(4)(b) provides that "restitution includes the value of the service animal; replacement and training or retraining expenses for the service animal and the user; veterinary and other medical and boarding expenses for the service animal; medical expenses for the user; and lost wages or income incurred by the user during any period that the user is without the services of the service animal"; and

Whereas law enforcement and/or animal control officers who have jurisdiction to write a citation or citations to persons who own or are in immediate control of a dog who injures or kills a service animal, often refuse or neglect to write the citations to these persons; and

Whereas, this refusal to write the necessary citations results in the service animal user’s inability to gain satisfaction from due process under the Statute; and

Whereas State Attorney’s throughout Florida often refuse to prosecute such violations of the Statute when there has been no previous citations written;

Now therefore Be it resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this 29th day of May 2017 in the City of Orlando Florida, that this organization call upon the offices of the State Attorneys Offices throughout the state of Florida to ensure enforcement of this statute so service animals and their users are given equal protection under the law for violations of Florida Statute 413.081 to protect service animals and their users from intimidation, injury and/or death by owners or persons in immediate control of dogs that intimidate, injure or kill service animals;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the Florida state attorney general to work with the National Federation of the Blind of Florida and the Florida Association of Guide Dog Users to educate all states attorneys about the current legislation concerning attacks on service animals and that we call upon the attorney general to work with the National Federation of the Blind of Florida and the Florida Association of Guide Dog Users to develop training materials about Florida service dog attack laws to be disseminated to all state attorneys.