JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida will soon begin cracking down on animal abuse under a measure signed into law Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.
The measure, known as Ponce’s Law, takes its name from a Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death at his owner’s Ponce Inlet home last April.
The law ratchets up the penalties for convicted abusers, increasing the likelihood of prison time and empowering judges to ban abusers from owning animals.
Ponce’s owner, Travis Archer, is currently awaiting trial on a third-degree felony charge of cruelty to animals, according to Volusia County court records.
According to Archer’s arrest report, a neighbor called police shortly after midnight April 7, saying he could hear the dog yelping during what sounded like a beating.
Officers found the dog’s lifeless body in the yard with its head resting against a blood-stained fence. Ponce was bound by the neck and bleeding from the mouth.
Archer told police the nine-month-old dog had bitten him. In retaliation, he said he threw the dog against a wall and hit him twice with his hand, the report stated.
He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.