Florida Senate - 2022 CS for SB 226 By the Committee on Appropriations; and Senators Powell, Burgess, Perry, Pizzo, and Stewart 576-03394-22 2022226c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to care for retired police dogs; 3 providing a short title; creating s. 943.69, F.S.; 4 providing legislative findings; defining terms; 5 creating the Care for Retired Police Dogs Program 6 within the Department of Law Enforcement; requiring 7 the department to contract with a nonprofit 8 corporation to administer and manage the program; 9 specifying requirements for the nonprofit corporation; 10 specifying requirements for the disbursement of funds 11 for the veterinary care of eligible retired police 12 dogs; limiting annual funding available for an 13 eligible dog; prohibiting the accumulation of unused 14 funds from a current year for use in a future year; 15 prohibiting reimbursement in certain circumstances; 16 providing for use of appropriated funds for 17 administrative expenses; requiring the department to 18 adopt rules; providing an appropriation; providing an 19 effective date. 20 21 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 22 23 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Care for Retired 24 Police Dogs Program Act.” 25 Section 2. Section 943.69, Florida Statutes, is created to 26 read: 27 943.69 Care for Retired Police Dogs Program.— 28 (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that: 29 (a) Police dogs are an integral part of many law 30 enforcement and correctional efforts statewide, including the 31 apprehension of suspects through tracking and searching, 32 evidence location, drug and bomb detection, and search and 33 rescue operations. 34 (b) Law enforcement and correctional agencies agree that 35 the use of police dogs is an extremely cost-effective means of 36 crime control and that police dogs possess skills and abilities 37 that frequently exceed those of existing technology. 38 (c) The service of police dogs is often dangerous and can 39 expose them to injury at a rate higher than that of nonservice 40 dogs. 41 (d) Police dogs provide significant contributions to the 42 residents of this state. 43 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 44 (a) “Correctional agency” means a lawfully established 45 state or local public agency having primary responsibility for 46 the supervision, protection, care, custody, control, or 47 investigation of inmates at a correctional institution. 48 (b) “Law enforcement agency” means a lawfully established 49 state or local public agency having primary responsibility for 50 the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of 51 penal, traffic, highway, regulatory, game, immigration, postal, 52 customs, or controlled substance laws. 53 (c) “Retired police dog” means a dog that was previously in 54 the service of or employed by a law enforcement agency or a 55 correctional agency in this state for the principal purpose of 56 aiding in the detection of criminal activity, enforcement of 57 laws, or apprehension of offenders and that received 58 certification in obedience and apprehension work from a 59 certifying organization, such as the National Police Canine 60 Association, Inc., or other certifying organization. 61 (d) “Veterinarian” has the same meaning as in s. 474.202. 62 (e) “Veterinary care” means the practice, by a 63 veterinarian, of veterinary medicine as defined in s. 474.202. 64 The term includes annual wellness examinations, vaccinations, 65 internal and external parasite prevention treatments, testing 66 and treatment of illnesses and diseases, medications, emergency 67 care and surgeries, veterinary oncology or other specialty care, 68 euthanasia, and cremation. 69 (3) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Care for Retired Police 70 Dogs Program is created within the department to provide a 71 stable funding source for the veterinary care for retired police 72 dogs. 73 (4) ADMINISTRATION.—The department shall contract with a 74 nonprofit corporation organized under chapter 617 to administer 75 and manage the Care for Retired Police Dogs Program. 76 Notwithstanding chapter 287, the department shall select the 77 nonprofit corporation through a competitive grant award process. 78 The nonprofit corporation must meet all of the following 79 criteria: 80 (a) Be dedicated to the protection or care of retired 81 police dogs. 82 (b) Be exempt from taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal 83 Revenue Code as an organization described in s. 501(c)(3) of 84 that code. 85 (c) Have maintained such tax-exempt status for at least 5 86 years. 87 (d) Agree to be subject to review and audit at the 88 discretion of the Auditor General in order to ensure accurate 89 accounting and disbursement of state funds. 90 (e) Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently 91 disseminate information and to assist former handlers and 92 adopters of retired police dogs in complying with this section. 93 (5) FUNDING.— 94 (a) The nonprofit corporation shall be the disbursing 95 authority for funds the Legislature appropriates to the 96 department for the Care for Retired Police Dogs Program. These 97 funds must be disbursed to the former handler or the adopter of 98 a retired police dog that served for 5 years or more as a police 99 dog upon receipt of: 100 1. Valid documentation from the law enforcement agency or 101 correctional agency from which the dog retired which verifies 102 that the dog was in the service of or employed by that agency; 103 and 104 a. That the dog served 5 years or more with that agency; 105 b. Documentation showing that the dog served a total of 5 106 years or more with two or more law enforcement agencies or 107 correctional agencies; or 108 c. That, notwithstanding the length of service requirements 109 elsewhere in this paragraph, the dog served 3 years or more with 110 one or more law enforcement agencies or correctional agencies, 111 was injured in the line of duty while serving with a law 112 enforcement agency or correctional agency, and retired from the 113 agency the dog was serving with at the time of the injury due to 114 such injury; and 115 2. A valid invoice from a veterinarian for veterinary care 116 provided in this state to a retired police dog and documentation 117 establishing payment of the invoice by the former handler or the 118 adopter of the retired police dog. 119 (b) Annual disbursements to a former handler or an adopter 120 to reimburse him or her for the cost of the retired police dog’s 121 veterinary care may not exceed $1,500 per dog. A former handler 122 or an adopter of a retired police dog may not accumulate unused 123 funds from a current year for use in a future year. 124 (c) A former handler or an adopter of a retired police dog 125 who seeks reimbursement for veterinary care may not receive 126 reimbursement if funds appropriated for the Care for Retired 127 Police Dogs Program are depleted in the year for which the 128 reimbursement is sought. 129 (6) ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.—The department shall pay to 130 the nonprofit corporation, and the nonprofit corporation may 131 use, up to 10 percent of appropriated funds for its 132 administrative expenses, including salaries and benefits. 133 (7) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to 134 implement this section. 135 Section 3. For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, and each fiscal 136 year thereafter, the sum of $300,000 in recurring funds is 137 appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of 138 Law Enforcement for the purpose of implementing and 139 administering the Care for Retired Police Dogs Program. 140 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.