Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate passes bill making slaughter of horses a felony

TALLAHASSEE — Without a single legislator voting "nay," a bill toughening laws against those who butcher horses or sell or purchase their meat is galloping to the desk of Gov. Charlie Crist.

The bill, which cleared the Senate chambers Thursday, had been a legislative priority for the South Florida delegation, where at least 22 pet horses were found slaughtered last year. They are presumably sold for their meat, sometimes even marketed to buyers as beef.

Rep. Luis Garcia, the Miami Democrat who sponsored the measure, said he hoped stiffer penalties would make the crime less likely. If approved by Crist, such acts would become felonies, punishable by a $3,500 fine and a year in jail. Selling horse meat is currently a misdemeanor.

The bill also would criminalize butchering horses for personal use.

"A lot of people are getting hurt, a lot of animals are getting hurt," Garcia said, referring to testimony from animal rights advocates.

Earlier this session, animal advocates predicted that this would be the year for tougher animal protection laws. Several lawmakers filed bills — dealing with snakes, horses, dogs and cats — that would not cost the state any money but would curry favor from voters back home.

That prediction won't necessarily pan out. With only a week to go, a bill banning the sale and import of Burmese pythons and anacondas is still pending in both chambers. And a bill allowing local governments to ban certain breeds of dangerous dogs, such as the pit bull, was killed.

Legislators also have passed over, again, a bill that would ban human-animal sex.

The horse slaughter bill is the first major piece of animal protection legislation to be sent to Crist's desk. But its importance and urgency had to be highlighted for some lawmakers, who were skeptical about why it is necessary.

Rep. Maria Sachs, a Democrat from Delray Beach, spoke of the ''scoundrels" who have broken kids' hearts by stealing and butchering their pet ponies. And Miami Republican Sen. Alex Villalobos relayed the story of a friend who found her pet horse chopped to bits in a forest.

Senate passes bill making slaughter of horses a felony 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?


    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
  2. What ever happened to the Zika epidemic?


    Remember Zika?

    The last time Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians about the potential threat of the mosquito-borne virus was in July, when he urged residents to still be vigilant against bug bites and standing water. At the time, doctors and researchers were bracing for what was supposed to be another active summer …

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Brazil. Cases of the virus are down dramatically this year in Florida, the result of awareness efforts, experts say. But the public, they add, should not let its guard down. [Associated Press]
  3. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again


    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  5. Craig Butz, executive director of Pepin Academies and former professional hockey player, died in a crash with a boat Saturday. His daughter Teagan, 4, remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TIMES, 2013]