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Property Taxes For Pet Neutering Backed By Senate Committee

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Measures intended to reduce the number of unwanted animals put down each year, including a bill that allows voters to support using property taxes for neutering costs, were advanced without opposition in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday.

The “Pet Services and Welfare Programs” proposal (SB 1738) by Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, allows counties to create “Pets’ Trusts,” that would be similar to the special taxing districts that have been questioned for accountability by Gov. Rick Scott.

Voters in a county would have to support the local trust’s ability to impose property taxes, of which about 80 percent of the costs would go for spay and neuter programs.

The proposal comes from Pets’ Trust Miami, which has worked to reduce the spread of unwanted animals and the number of euthanized pets in Miami-Dade County.

The committee also backed a measure (SB 872) by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Royal Palm Beach, to require animal shelter operators that receive public money to publish the number of dogs and cats they receive, where the animals come from and what happens to them, and to publish the numbers online. The online requirement is facing opposition from small rural counties due to time and costs.

Advocates for humane animal treatment say the numbers are needed to determine where overpopulation of dogs and cats is occurring, but the aim is also to reduce the number of euthanized animals by making the actual numbers known.

Due to the death former state Sen. Larcenia Bullard, the committee postponed for a week a pair of bills (SB 1706, SB 1708) by her son, Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay. The bills seek to require restaurants in Florida to label the use of “lean finely textured beef” – also known as pink slime – and urge Congress and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of pink slime in meat products or at least require labels on meat products containing pink slime. The committee held a moment of silence for the late senator.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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