Fourth attempt to institute accountability in pet cremations fails this Session

Gayle Harrell first proposed the bill after one cat cremation turned into 'a catastrophic failure in process.'

Sine Die Friday closed the curtain on a fourth attempt to memorialize a beloved cat whose end galvanized an effort to keep a similar story from happening again.

“Sevilla’s Law,” first proposed for the 2020 Session, died without a committee hearing, despite bipartisan sponsors. Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell and Democratic Rep. Joe Casello filed legislation (SB  60, HB 1061) that would regulate animal crematoriums and provide consequences for something like what happened to Sevilla.

Laury Sullivan of Palm City has been to Tallahassee and appeared in front of the Martin County legislative delegation to describe her experience.

“I am Sevilla’s mom,” is how Sullivan has begun her testimony over and over, to shine a light on an industry that has been allowed to take people’s money without delivering the purchased services.

In Sullivan’s situation, she said she was promised she could say her last goodbyes to the 15-year-old tabby she rescued as a kitten, abandoned in an alley. Upon her arrival at the crematorium, though, she discovered the cat had already been cremated — “a catastrophic failure in process,” she was told, according to her testimony.

The remains went to the University of Florida Maples Center for Forensic Medicine for analysis. That’s when Sullivan said she learned that the ashes were likely not a cat’s and there was human DNA in what purported to be Sevilla’s remains.

Sullivan said she doesn’t know the truth of what happened, she told a Senate committee in 2021.

“Imagine discovering there are absolutely no laws to prevent this tragedy from happening to anybody,” Sullivan said. “The crematorium pet industry does not have to answer to anybody. The reality is it’s based solely on trust and the proprietors’ moral compass.”

Sullivan had to struggle to keep from crying.

“Sevilla was our cat,” she said. “She was a very beloved member of our family. … And when she died of cancer, we didn’t stop loving her. And we expected her to be treated with dignity and respect. And now she’s lost forever.”

Harrell said she worked with the Agriculture Department to come up with regulations that aren’t too burdensome but also give pet owners rights.

Businesses that fail to provide the written description of services as required by the bill could face $1,001 to $1,500 fines for a first offense and $2,000 to $2,500 for any subsequent violations. Violations are considered unfair and deceptive trade practices, which open businesses to private causes of actions or lawsuits and potential punitive damages.


Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts American

    May 6, 2023 at 9:01 am

    Good morning America,
    I’m mad as #EII.
    Man up America!
    Dig a hole out back, drop Fluffy in there, and move on with your life right after you tamp the dirt down nice and level with your shovel. Put a rock over the hole, or plant a bush, only if you got cry baby kiddies in the house. Man [Or Woman Up America].
    Creamating Pets? My Big ‘Ole Butt!
    Man Up America!
    Get another Fluffy if you must and move on with your life!!!
    This proposed legislation will find another “sponser” and raise it’s head again but the adults in the Legislature will never pass it into law.

    “Queue Up obnoxiously loud Patroitic American music to further whizz off bleeding heart dook 4 brains lefties”

    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “Grief Counslor” American

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 6, 2023 at 9:06 am

      For cats and small (fake) dogs, I would like to suggest larger toilets. As U.S. Americans we most all need a larger toilet anyways, so why not go “dead cat disposal” size and solve #2 problems?

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 6, 2023 at 9:38 am

        Good Morning Dont Say,
        Thank you for your support and the great knowledge you just dropped on the majority of our readership ( you know: the dook 4 brains leftist majority ).
        I, Earl Pitts “Grief Counslor” American, am sure our dook 4 brains readership will find some words of wisdom in your post to take home with them and hold near and dear to their hearts.

        Thank you again Oh Wise and Learned Dont Say,
        Earl Pitts ” Grief Counslor” American

        • Elliott Offen

          May 6, 2023 at 9:51 am

          👆Report this Mike Lindell crackhead to Florida Politics for vandalizing the website with stupidity. Yeah stupid parody and dumb dumb troll.

          • Dont Say FLA

            May 6, 2023 at 10:12 am

            I for one am sick and tired of the super stackers piling up above the water level and smelling horrible, the log jams that won’t flush like the toilet paper flushed, the ball knockers that hit the bottom and stand up straight till the break off an timmmmmberrrrrr slap the balls before, landing against the inner bowl edge. standing up out the water smelling terrible. We AMmericans need bigger toilets and they might as well accommodate dead cats and the fluffy little Paris Hilton handbag sized dogs too.

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Comments are closed.


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