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Miami-Dade backed 'Pet Trust' bill stalls in committee after cat fight with NRA

A bill that would allow local taxpayers to create special taxing districts for the purpose of spaying and neutering animals stalled in a House Committee on Thursday, after the National Rifle Association and others voiced opposition. 

The bill, HB 1127, seeks to use property tax dollars to help reduce the number of animals euthanized each year in Florida, which some say is as high as 800,000. 

Last year, a majority of Miami-Dade voters supported the idea of a small new tax for helping to control the pet population. The bill would have made it easier for voters in other counties to do the same. 

But the clock ran out at the House Committee on Local and Federal Affairs before a vote could take place. No one on the committee requested an extension of the meeting, the customary practice in the Legislature when there’s a time crunch for a vote. Instead, the meeting ended abruptly. 

It was not clear if the bill would pass -- it faced strong opposition from gun rights groups and veterinarians. 

Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the NRA and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said the bill would make Florida a dumping ground for other states to offload unwanted pets. 

“If this bill passes, Florida could become the pet welfare state of the nation,” she said. 

Michael Rosenberg, director of Pet’s Trust—the organization that launched the successful ballot initiative in Miami-Dade County—told lawmakers that a small increase in property tax (about $20 per home) would save money on expensive euthanasia  on the back end. 

He said government’s already pay hundreds of dollars for each pet that is eventually euthanized, and spaying and neutering is a cheaper alternative. 

“The actual killing moment, the shot, that’s $10 or $15,” he said. “But there are things that happen  way before that. You have to pick the animal off the street, you have to take it to the shelter, you have to treat them…When they all add up, that’s $250 to $300.” 

It’s not clear what will happen to HB 1127 next.

Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, is the sponsor. Thursday’s non-vote was the second time in the last week that Artiles has had a bill cut off by the clock in committee.

Last week, an insurance bill pushed by Artiles died in the Insurance & Banking Committee when time ran out and no one made a motion for an extension.

@ToluseO

Comments

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Pets' Trust Supporter

Ms. Hammer is much better suited to handle gun issues than animal welfare issues. Her statement is just plain inaccurate & other cities and states that have enacted pro-pet policies have not experienced the result she predicts. She should stick to what she knows best.

Sharon Macivor

As vets we oppose a bill that would long term be a demise to the community. It is fundamentally flawed in theory and in practice to expect that a quasi governmental agency with no oversight should handle 25 million dollars in taxpayer monies. Additionally who is pet trust anyway ? Follow the money to the pockets that will be filled.

Vauna G

Since when did the NRA suddenly become a part of Federal, State, & Local government. I don't remember anyone deciding that we have Congress, made up of the House, the Senate, & now the NRA. Now they have stepped in & managed to get a little tax bill that would benefit the unwanted animals of Florida. What they don't have enough to shot so they think Florida will have open season on strays? Someone needs to put their foot down & stop them, right down on their mouth.

sharon macivor

The NRA is not the problem or solution.

Their brilliant lobbyist Marion Hammer only pointed out the obvious- this is a tax increase pure and simple.

Attention Miami Dade Property Owners and Taxpayers-PET TRUST/aka Animal Services problems is a TAX INCREASE.

If this tax bill passes- MIAMI DADE will become the DUMPING GROUND of the State for homeless pets.

If this law passes Miami Dade could become the pet welfare CAPITAL of the State. Every county will want to send their excess and unwanted pets to Miami DADE so our homeowners can pay TAXES to support them.

This law sents up an ongoing tax burden for a pet welfare system that will encourgage even more dumping.

We all know it's getting hard to pay for welfare programs for our needy deserving human families and homeless citizens- and now more taxes on homeowners to pay for pet welfare?

These taxes will not be for schools, children or healthcare- YOU will be paying for other people's pets.

We already have a new 70,000 square foot building (picture 3 PUBLIX groceries) for our new ANIMAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT.

PET TRUST WANTS TO BUILD 2 more 20000 square foot facilities with your money to provide indigent care for pets.

How many of you are struggling to pay your own healthcare insurance?

Now we have to pay for other people's pets?

As a taxpayer?
________no !!!

caretakercat

Sharon Macivor:Are you a vet whose education or college was funded via loans, grants, etc by taxpayers? Do you only care about saving lives of animals whose owners can pay your inflated high fees, expensive tests and treatment that often only buys months of extended suffering to animals of hopeful owners?Don't talk about taking money from the poor. Poor and low income people love their animals also and helping them keep their pets saves the community money. You don't mind spending tax dollars to kill healthy animals daily with no end in sight. You use govt to force pet owners to get vaccinations to line your pockets (for years vets insisted on an annual vaccination when the center for disease control and the vaccine manufacturer certified the vaccination was good for 3 years.
I'm sure there will be plenty of watchdogs to keep use of these funds on the straight and narrow, even if that was not their intention. and re the NRA, how much money are they costing taxpayers who via the court system, medical costs to treat gunshot victims and criminal justice system with their opposition to reasonable gun control regulation. I don't know why anyone would go to a vet who doesn't care about all animals.

caretakercat

Sharon Macivor: what kind of a vet are you that if you had an indigent pet owner who loved their pet and went to you for medical care (for something maybe that needed a simple antibiotic) but after you insist they run up hundreds of dollars in tests) who can't afford your excessive costs and your profiteering off of medications. Wouldn't a decent veterinarian who cared for animals say, there is an alternative, thanks to the generosity of property owners (of which I am one) you can go to this public clinic and get your pet cared for for tens of dollars or less not the hundreds i will charge you. And as a taxpayer, I gladly will pay my $20 every year for animals to live not die and for poor children to not have to lose their pets. The NRA is not moved by the deaths of children by guns so i would not expect them to care for animals either but a veterinarian (I guess this is a different day and age) . Vets years ago used to clean ears, clip nails all for the some low exam fee. Those poor pet owners probably paid for your college education (low cost loans, etc university funding) with their sales and other tax dollars). I am sick of veterinarians who think like this one. and I hope everyone else who cares about animals will start speaking up about the lack of compassion and ethics in such veterinarians.

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