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Ponce’s Law Signed By Governor

March 27th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

Increased penalties for animal abusers will take effect later this year under legislation signed by the Governor.

When Travis Archer led police into his back yard last year they were horrified by the scene they came upon.



“The dog was gagged, bleeding from the mouth and dead,” said Representative Thomas Leek.

Archer is charged with felony animal cruelty and is awaiting trial. He faces up to five years in prison.

Kate Mcfall with the Humane Society says, the tragic death of Ponce, Archer’s 9-month-old Labrador retriever sparked outrage in the community.


“The public is behind this. It was a wave of support,” said McFall.

That outrage resulted in Ponce’s Law, signed by the Governor on National Puppy Day.

It raises felony animal cruelty from a level 3 to a level 5 offense.

While the increase doesn’t guarantee an offender does time in prison, it makes it more likely if other charges are combined.


“It’s a predictor. People who commit animal cruelty are very, very likely to commit cruelty to violence to humans, children,” said McFall. “In the coming years we will see even more and more momentum to perhaps make this a second degree felony.”

The law also gives judges the option to prohibit users from owning or even having contact with animals for a period time.

McFall says enforcing those court orders will take community involvement.


“People, advocates, just neighbors, people in the community, if you see something just say something,” said McFall.

The bill signed by the Governor also includes new requirements for animal shelters in the state to take extra steps to locate owners of lost pets after hurricanes.

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