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Going to the dogs: Bill would make shelter animals official ‘state pet’

Kevin Rader, who represents Senate District 29, filed the bill Monday.

Democratic state Sen. Kevin Rader is attempting to give forgotten pets a little bit of the spotlight with a new bill designating shelter animals as the “state pet.”

“Any shelter animal that resides at or has been adopted from an animal shelter or an animal rescue organization is designated as the official Florida state pet,” the legislation reads.

Rader, who represents Senate District 29, filed the bill (SB 240) on Monday.

The bill was filed just a day after reports said nearly 300 dogs and cats were killed at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama because of the destruction of Hurricane Dorian.

Florida already has a state animal (the Florida Panther), a state bird (the Mockingbird) and even a state butterfly (the Zebra Longwing), among other animal-related symbols.

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But Rader’s measure would add “state pet” to the list of state symbols.

Shelter animals are stray or lost animals that are kept and rehabilitated. Those shelters then attempt to find a home for those animals.

Rader’s push isn’t the only proposed addition to the state symbol list.

State Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed a bill in August (SB 38) that would designate coconut patties as the official state candy.

Should Rader’s bill win support, the measure would take effect immediately upon being signed into law.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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