Two Competing New York Bills Affect Shelter Pets

February 16, 2012  

By Michael Mountain

After the uproar over “Oreo’s Law” in New York two years ago, a new piece of legislation has been introduced to the New York State Assembly to protect shelter animals from being killed when a rescue group offers to care for them.

The Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act (CAARA) – NY A7312C – has been put together by state Rep. Micah Kellner, who co-sponsored the original “Oreo’s Law” that would prevent shelters from killing homeless pets when another charitable organization is offering to care for them. The bill failed, back then, largely because of staunch opposition from the ASPCA, which had killed a pit bull named Oreo in spite of the fact that other reputable organizations had offered to care for her.

Rewritten as the new CAARA, and supported by many organizations including Best Friends Animal Society (which had declared itself “neutral” on Oreo’s Law), it should be a slam-dunk. CAARA would require New York shelters to provide better care, to make reasonable efforts to identify owners of strays, and reunite them with their families, and to work with qualified rescue organizations to make unclaimed shelter pets available to rescue groups rather than proactively killing them.

Instead, a competing bill has been submitted, sponsored by state Rep. Amy Paulin and backed by the ASPCA, that would that would, instead, allow New York State shelters to kill animals immediately if staff determine that the animals are in “psychological pain.”

Psychological pain by whose definition? Shelters would be allowed to kill animals with no holding period, leaving it to shelter directors at their own personal discretion. If you’re a shy dog or a scared cat, let alone a non-socialized feral cat, you can be diagnosed with “psychological pain” within the first five minutes.

(And have you ever even met a lost dog or cat who isn’t in “psychological pain” when brought in to the shelter?)

The Paulin/ASPCA bill would also allow animals to be killed to prevent unspecified and undiagnosed “deadly and contagious” diseases. It allows shelters that don’t want to work with rescues to set and change the requirements that the rescues need to meet. And, among other things, it does not protect animals who are brought in by people requesting that their pet be killed. (And “their” pet might well, in fact, be someone else’s pet.)

And a great many of the dogs who can be killed as a result of the Paulin bill will, of course, be pit bulls.

What you can do:

  • Post comments to the A’s Twitter page: @aspca
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3 Responses to “Two Competing New York Bills Affect Shelter Pets”
  1. This is why we must educate these ignorant thinking individuals who have very little control over their personal lives and come to work to abuse what little power they have. We must get off our fannies as my grandmother used to say and make our voices heard & known to those that lack knowledge.

  2. be0921 says:

    I am the proud mama of that dog in the picture w/ Nicole. Photo was taken moments before we adopted him from Super Adoption SLC. His name is now Hank & he is thriving. Please support this bill so more dogs like Hank get a chance. Hats off to the SLCo Pitcrew & Melissa Woof SLC for seeing through his horrible condition, stepping up & saving an incredible dog. They truelly work for the betterment of the animal. Love them & Hanky tons!

    • StubbyDog says:

      @be0921 So glad you let us know about Hank. We knew it was a matter of time before someone recognized their dogs in photos we use from Melissa! Kisses to Hank!