Florida Senate - 2024 SB 22 By Senator Harrell 31-00001-24 202422__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to animal cremation; creating s. 3 501.961, F.S.; providing a short title; defining 4 terms; requiring a provider of companion animal 5 cremation services to provide certain individuals and 6 entities with a written description of the services 7 the provider offers; requiring the written description 8 to include a detailed explanation of each service 9 offered; providing that the written description may 10 not contain false or misleading information; requiring 11 certain persons or entities that make referrals to 12 providers or accept deceased companion animals for 13 cremation through a provider to make a copy of the 14 provider’s written description of services available 15 to owners or their representatives; providing 16 construction; requiring certain providers to include a 17 certification with the returned animal’s cremation 18 remains; specifying requirements for the 19 certification; providing that certain acts are 20 unlawful; providing civil penalties for initial and 21 subsequent offenses; providing circumstances under 22 which a person commits an unfair or deceptive act or 23 practice or an unfair method of competition in 24 violation of certain provisions; providing for a 25 private right of action; providing powers of the 26 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; 27 requiring that certain fines collected by the 28 department be paid into the General Inspection Trust 29 Fund; authorizing the department to adopt rules; 30 providing an effective date. 31 32 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 33 34 Section 1. Section 501.961, Florida Statutes, is created to 35 read: 36 501.961 Animal cremation.— 37 (1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as “Sevilla’s 38 Law.” 39 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 40 (a) “Commingling of significant amounts of cremation 41 remains from different companion animals” means the commingling 42 of remains such that specific cremation remains cannot be 43 attributed to a particular animal or the cremation remains 44 attributed to one companion animal contain more than 1 percent 45 by weight of cremation remains from one or more other companion 46 animals. The term does not include the presence, in the 47 cremation remains of a companion animal, of the remains of any 48 creature that was on or contained within the body of that animal 49 at the time of cremation, including parasites, insects, food, or 50 creatures eaten by that companion animal. 51 (b) “Communal cremation” means a cremation process in which 52 companion animals are cremated together without effective 53 partitions or separation during the cremation process such that 54 the commingling of significant amounts of cremation remains from 55 different companion animals is likely or certain to occur. 56 (c) “Companion animal” or “animal” means a deceased animal 57 that had a companion relationship or a pet relationship with its 58 owner at the time of the animal’s death. 59 (d) “Cremation remains” means the material remaining after 60 the cremation of an animal, which may include ashes, skeletal 61 remains, and other residue resulting from the incineration 62 process, and which may be pulverized or otherwise processed by 63 the provider of cremation services. 64 (e) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and 65 Consumer Services. 66 (f) “Individually partitioned cremation” means a cremation 67 process in which the commingling of significant amounts of 68 cremation remains from different companion animals is unlikely 69 to occur and: 70 1. Only one companion animal at a time is cremated in the 71 incinerator; or 72 2. More than one companion animal is cremated in the 73 incinerator at the same time, but each of the animals is 74 completely separated from the others by partitions during the 75 cremation process. 76 (g) “On a regular basis” means that the person or business 77 entity referring animal owners or bringing business to a 78 provider: 79 1. Has an ongoing contractual or agency relationship with 80 the provider relating to the cremation of companion animals; 81 2. Regularly receives compensation or consideration from 82 the provider or animal owners relating to the cremation of 83 companion animals by the provider; or 84 3. Refers or brings to the provider the business of more 85 than five animal owners in an average month. 86 (h) “Provider” means a person, company, or other entity 87 engaging in the business of cremating deceased companion animals 88 in this state. 89 (3) WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES.— 90 (a) A provider of companion animal cremation services shall 91 provide, without charge, to all of the following a written 92 description of the services that the provider offers: 93 1. The owner of each deceased animal for whom the provider 94 agrees to provide cremation services, or the person making 95 cremation arrangements on the owner’s behalf. 96 2. All veterinarians, pet shops, and other business 97 entities or persons known to the provider who refer animal 98 owners or bring deceased animals to the provider on a regular 99 basis. 100 3. The department. 101 4. Any other person, upon request. 102 (b) The written description of services: 103 1. May be in the form of a brochure; 104 2. Must be provided in quantities sufficient to allow its 105 distribution to animal owners whose business is being referred 106 or brought to the provider; 107 3. Must include a detailed explanation of each service 108 offered for each type or level of cremation service offered. If 109 any part of the deceased companion animal will be removed, used, 110 or sold by the provider before or after the cremation, the 111 written description of services must disclose that fact; and 112 4. May not include false or misleading information. A 113 written description of services is misleading if it: 114 a. Fails to include a detailed explanation of the cremation 115 services offered or fails to include, for each type or level of 116 cremation service offered, any of the disclosures required under 117 this subsection; 118 b. Uses the terms “private” or “individual” with respect to 119 any communal cremation procedure or with respect to an 120 individually partitioned cremation procedure that will cremate 121 more than one companion animal at the same time; 122 c. Uses the terms “individually partitioned” or “separate” 123 with respect to a communal cremation process; or 124 d. Includes any text, picture, illustration, or combination 125 thereof, or uses any layout, typography, or color scheme, which 126 reasonably causes confusion about the nature of the services to 127 be provided or obstructs certain parts of the written 128 description of services. 129 (4) BUSINESS ENTITIES OR PERSONS REFERRING OR BRINGING 130 BUSINESS TO A PROVIDER.— 131 (a) A veterinarian, pet shop, or other business entity or 132 person referring owners of deceased animals, or persons making 133 arrangements on an owner’s behalf, to a provider on a regular 134 basis shall, at the time of the referral, make a copy of the 135 provider’s written description of services available to such 136 person. 137 (b) A veterinarian, pet shop, or other business entity or 138 person accepting, on a regular basis, deceased companion animals 139 for cremation through services obtained from a provider shall 140 make a copy of the provider’s written description of services 141 available to each animal owner, or person making arrangements on 142 the owner’s behalf, from whom a deceased companion animal is 143 accepted. 144 (c) A copy of the written description of services may be 145 given to the animal owner, or the person making arrangements on 146 the owner’s behalf, at the time the services are offered. 147 (d) For purposes of this subsection, publishing or 148 otherwise disseminating advertising for a provider of companion 149 animal cremation services does not, in and of itself, constitute 150 referring or bringing business to that provider. 151 (5) CERTIFICATION; PENALTY FOR FALSE CERTIFICATION.—If a 152 provider’s services include the return of the cremation remains 153 of the animal, the provider must include a certification along 154 with the returned cremation remains. The certification must 155 declare, to the best of the provider’s knowledge and belief, 156 that, except as otherwise specifically indicated on the 157 certificate, the cremation and any other services specified were 158 provided in accordance with the representations of the provider 159 in the applicable portions of the provider’s written description 160 of services. 161 (6) UNLAWFUL ACTS.—It is unlawful: 162 (a) For a provider to prepare or distribute a written 163 description of services which the provider knows or should know 164 to be false or misleading. A first offense is punishable by a 165 fine of at least $1,001 but not more than $1,500, and each 166 subsequent offense is punishable by a fine of at least $2,000 167 but not more than $2,500. 168 (b) To intentionally fail to prepare or distribute a 169 written description of services as required by this section. A 170 first offense is punishable by a fine of at least $1,001 but not 171 more than $1,500, and each subsequent offense is punishable by a 172 fine of at least $2,000 but not more than $2,500. 173 (c) To knowingly make a false certification under 174 subsection (5). A first offense is punishable by a fine of at 175 least $1,001 but not more than $1,500, and each subsequent 176 offense is punishable by a fine of at least $2,000 but not more 177 than $2,500. 178 (7) VIOLATION AS A DECEPTIVE ACT OR PRACTICE OR UNFAIR 179 TRADE PRACTICE.—In addition to any fine imposed under subsection 180 (6), a person who commits an act or a practice declared to be 181 unlawful under subsection (6) or who violates this section 182 commits an unfair method of competition or an unfair or 183 deceptive act or practice in violation of part II of chapter 501 184 and is subject to the penalties and remedies provided for such 185 violations. 186 (8) PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.—In addition to any other 187 penalties or remedies provided by law, a person injured by a 188 violation of this act may bring a civil action to recover 189 damages or punitive damages, including costs, court costs, and 190 attorney fees. This act may not be construed to limit any right 191 or remedy provided under law. 192 (9) POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT.— 193 (a) The department may conduct an investigation of any 194 person or provider if there is an appearance, either upon 195 complaint or otherwise, that a violation of this section or of 196 any rule adopted or order issued pursuant to this section has 197 been committed or is about to be committed. 198 (b) The department may issue and serve subpoenas and 199 subpoenas duces tecum to compel the attendance of witnesses and 200 the production of all books, accounts, records, and other 201 documents and materials relevant to an examination or 202 investigation. The department, or its duly authorized 203 representative, may administer oaths and affirmations to any 204 person. 205 (c) The department may enter an order imposing one or more 206 of the penalties set forth in subsection (6) if the department 207 finds that a provider or a person or business entity that 208 regularly refers animal owners to a provider, or an agent, a 209 servant, or an employee thereof: 210 1. Violated or is operating in violation of this section or 211 department rule or order; 212 2. Refused or failed, or any of its principal officers 213 refused or failed, after notice, to produce any records of such 214 provider, person, or business entity or to disclose any 215 information required to be disclosed under this section or 216 department rules; or 217 3. Made a material false statement in response to any 218 department request or investigation. 219 (d) Upon a finding as set forth in paragraph (c), the 220 department may enter an order that does one or more of the 221 following: 222 1. Issues a notice of noncompliance pursuant to s. 120.695. 223 2. Issues a cease and desist order that directs the 224 provider, person, or business entity to cease and desist 225 specified activities. 226 3. Imposes an administrative fine in the Class II category 227 pursuant to s. 570.971 for each act or omission. 228 4. Imposes an administrative fine in the Class III category 229 pursuant to s. 570.971 for each act or omission that involves 230 fraud or deception. 231 (e) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the 232 administrative proceedings that could result in the entry of an 233 order imposing any of the penalties specified in paragraph (d) 234 are governed by chapter 120. 235 (f) All fines collected by the department under paragraph 236 (d) must be paid into the General Inspection Trust Fund. 237 (10) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—The department may adopt rules 238 pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section. 239 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.