Ponce Inlet, FL - A new law goes into effect today that could prevent animal abusers from owning animals. Ponce's Law is a direct result of the beating death of a young Labrador named Ponce by his Ponce Inlet owner. The incident got Florida legislators to look at current laws and make some changes. Halifax Humane Society Community Outreach Director Barry Kukes said that Debbie Dario, who spearheaded the law, contacted CEO Miguel Abi-Hassan several times about steps to take to create this law.
The purpose of the law is a change to the classification of aggravated animal abuse from a Level 3 third-degree felony to a Level 5 third-degree felony. It also clarifies that judges can prohibit convicted abusers from owning or even having contact with animals. When Ponce was killed, allegedly by his owner, there was no prison time involved. Kukes said that the law is meant to distract and dissuade people from abusing animals.
Another change was added to the law. It establishes a set of procedures for animal shelters to follow after a natural disaster to help reunite lost pets with their owners.
The legislature approved Ponce's Law in March of this year.