2022 Legislature                                   CS for SB 226
    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.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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         943.69Care 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.