1003.42 Required instruction.— . . .
“(j) Kindness to animals.”
“(s) A character-development program in the elementary schools, similar to Character First or Character Counts, which is secular in nature. Beginning in school year 2004–2005, the character-development program shall be required in kindergarten through grade 12. Each district school board shall develop or adopt a curriculum for the character-development program that shall be submitted to the department for approval. The character-development curriculum shall stress the qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship; kindness; respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal property; honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and religious tolerance; and cooperation.” (Source)
Reported Animal Abuse Cases
WTSP.com reported that a teenager had been charged with taking an alligator without a permit after a social media video circulated showing a group of teens allegedly force-feeding a baby alligator alcohol and tossing the animal around. Reportedly, the alligator was repeatedly gripped by the neck and thrown onto the hot pavement of a parking lot.
WFTV.com reported on the arrest of a 14-year-old who allegedly shot his family’s dog, Autumn, with a BB gun multiple times while she was “just sitting on the porch and not showing any aggression.” The teen reportedly posted a video of the assault on Snapchat.
Ocala-News.com reported that a 15-year-old was allegedly arrested and charged for attending the fighting or baiting of animals after a cockfighting operation was reportedly discovered in a home. According to news outlets, 28 roosters were found dead throughout the property and three were found alive but had to be euthanized.
FirstCoastNews.com reported that five high school students had gutted a bull shark and hung the animal up in the rafters of their school, presumably as part of a senior prank.
IBTimes.com reported that a 16-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after his friend uploaded videos in which the boy aggressively beat a dog with a leather belt.
Local10.com reported that a group of kids were recorded on video running over an iguana with a shopping cart and throwing objects at the animal as he or she tried to escape.
NorthEscambia.com reported that a Ransom Middle School student had allegedly abused a rabbit by tossing the animal into the air and allowing him or her to fall to the ground repeatedly. The alleged incident was recorded with a camera and shared on social media.
ClickOrlando.com reported that a teacher in Forest High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program reportedly drowned an opossum and two raccoons, while students in an agriculture class assisted, because he believed that the animals were “nuisances” to the agricultural program.
AJC.com reported that a teenager had been sentenced to a month in jail, a year of house arrest, and another two years of probation for fatally beating his 4-month-old pit bull. A veterinary examination discovered bruising on the puppy’s head, broken teeth, and a lacerated liver, which is believed to have led to the dog’s death.
NBC-2.com reported that a teenager had been accused of filming himself kicking a cat and then later bragging about it on social media.
OrlandoSentinel.com reported that a University of Central Florida student had been arrested and charged after allegedly tormenting, mutilating, and killing his puppy, Julian. The suspect allegedly admitted to hitting the dog multiple times because he had urinated in the house. The dog, who appeared to have been beaten to death, reportedly sustained head injuries, traumatic lesions, and fractured bones.
ActionNewsJax.com reported that three teenage girls had been charged with cruelty to animals after a Snapchat video surfaced that appeared to depict a rabbit being repeatedly thrown against a wall. The teens responsible were reportedly between the ages of 13 and 14. The animal allegedly sustained a fractured leg and other injuries.
FOX13News.com reported that a dead deer had been found hanging from a flagpole on a local high school campus, and some students suspected that it was a “prank” committed by students at a rival high school. The case was being investigated by authorities.
WFTV.com reported that a teenager had been arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after admitting that he poisoned his neighbor’s 10-year-old dog because she barked at his birds. The teen put antifreeze into a boiled egg and fed it to her through the fence. She was reportedly in critical condition after ingesting the poison and died that day.
USAToday.com reported that two teenagers had been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after allegedly abusing a dog named Cabela, who was tied to railroad tracks and shot multiple times. One of her legs was shattered by a bullet, but she survived surgery and was recovering from the attack.
NBCMiami.com reported that a group of teenagers had been accused of killing a pelican. The attack was reportedly caught on video by a security camera, and the teens allegedly killed the bird by restraining him and repeatedly blowing fumes from an e-cigarette into his beak and eyes, then holding his beak closed so that he couldn’t breathe.
News4Jax.com reported that an 11-year-old Middleburg Elementary School student had been charged with cruelty to animals after admitting to killing his mother’s dog. The dog had reportedly been found in a shallow grave on the family’s property and was missing his head and paws.
NYDailyNews.com reported that two teenage girls—ages 18 and 15—had been arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after allegedly torturing and killing a gopher tortoise and then posting a video of the act on Facebook. The video reportedly shows them laughing while dousing the tortoise with a flammable liquid, kicking him, lighting him on fire, and stomping him to death.
NorthEscambia.com reported that two teenagers and two 20-year-olds had been charged with felony cruelty to animals, among other offenses, after allegedly killing a family’s caged cockatoo with a knife while burglarizing their home.
NBCMiami.com reported that a 17-year-old had been charged with cruelty to animals after a video surfaced on social media sites that appeared to depict him shooting and killing a caged raccoon and opossum. The case was reportedly still under investigation.