Web Non-Alert: DE Saving the Lives of Shelter Pets

I recently posted about what is really a pretty big deal for shelter pets in Delaware and potentially for shelter pets in every state in the country which might choose to follow suit.  Basically, Delaware is affording multiple, mandatory statewide protections to pets in shelters including the stipulation that killing is a last resort.  For those of us hoping to see no kill become a nationally embraced philosophy in our lifetimes, this is huge.  H-U-G-E.

I wanted to check out the reactions of the big national animal welfare groups to the great news in Delaware.  I began by doing a Google search but came up with nothing beyond local and regional coverage.  So I went to the websites of the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Best Friends Animal Society.

HSUS wants the public to know how to help butterflies keep cool in the heat, ASPCA tells us how we can win tickets to Lilith Fair, and BFAS is promoting spay-neuter on puppies and kittens (which I oppose, but that’s for another post).  I know all three of these organizations to be extremely web savvy.  So why couldn’t I find even a mere mention of the groundbreaking legislation to protect shelter pets in DE?  Did I simply miss it?  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Perhaps even more curious, BFAS did post a link to an article in 2008 where Nathan Winograd talks about the possibility of Delaware becoming a no kill state.  If Best Friends was interested in this issue for DE in 2008, why are they not reporting on this giant leap forward for the state now?

After failing to find anything from the “big three” animal welfare groups, I continued searching the web for other reactions.  I found something from the Animal Law Coalition praising the DE legislation but cutting on those who supported Oreo’s Law in NY at the same time:

The Delaware law focuses on building working relationships between shelters and rescues to save as many animal lives as possible and at the same time ensuring that they don’t end up in a hoarding or other situation where they are abused or neglected.  It’s unfortunate the proponents of Oreo’s Law would not consider amendments similar to the Delaware law.

Is this a fair criticism?  Are the proponents of Oreo’s Law who allegedly refused to consider these amendments different from those who worked on the DE legislation?  Of course there will be state differences as far as who worked on the two laws – animal advocates in NY and those in DE.  But what about the national group behind these two laws?  Wasn’t the No Kill Advocacy Center behind both?  And is it necessary to buzzkill the wonderful success in DE by throwing sand in the eyes of fellow animal advocates?

Nathan Winograd also mentions Oreo’s Law and the DE Companion Animal Protection Act but has a very different take:

Like Oreo’s Law sought to do, the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act mandates collaboration between shelters and rescue groups. A shelter cannot kill an animal if a rescue group is willing to save that animal’s life.

To read more about the exciting news from Delaware – including the law itself – visit the No Kill Advocacy Center.

5 thoughts on “Web Non-Alert: DE Saving the Lives of Shelter Pets

  1. You looked for an endorsement from the Big Three? Isn’t that a bit unfair? They weren’t able to say “…look at the good we did, now send us money.” So, no financial incentive. Further, they lost, rather than gained, control there. So, there’s just no good reason for them to talk about this and you’re not being very fair.

    Of course, if animal welfare had been their goals, this story would have been different.

    1. heh, well I wasn’t expecting them to throw a party exactly – but I thought they coulda mentioned it somewhere in the “animal welfare legislation by state” section of the website at least. I mean, it does qualify as THAT, if nothing else, in their view.

  2. Honest question: Why do you believe this is groundbreaking?

    We have mandatory hold periods that exceed three days in California, vaccination of all incoming animals, and posting of found and adoptable animals on the intarwebz. We also require that dogs and cats only be euthanized after all reasonable avenues of placement be pursued. I’m sure other states do as well.

    This just does not seem like it’s a particularly novel idea.

    Am I missing something?

    1. CA shelter pets are very lucky to have the Hayden Act. Living in the South, the DE law is worlds away from where most of our shelters stand so I’m sure that influences my perception of DE’s legislation. But to answer your question, the DE law is the most comprehensive piece of legislation to protect shelter pets that I am aware of. Please share – anyone – if you know of a state with something more comprehensive. Of specific interest to me is this:
      Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:

      (i) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;

      (ii) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;

      (iii) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately sized primary living space with another animal;

      (iv) A foster home is not available;

      (v) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to §8003(d) are not willing to accept the animal; and

      (vi) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that he/she has no other reasonable alternative.

      This goes beyond what’s contained in the Hayden Act as I understand it. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t know of any states that mandate the shelters in their state meet these qualifications in addition to the numerous other benefits in the law. Again, it’s the comprehensive nature of the DE law that got me so excited.

      1. You are not wrong, it contains more stipulations than the Hayden Act which requires a 4-7 business day holding period, a public listing of available/found animals, and that animals be made available to non-profits prior to killing them. There is an unenforceable statement that no treatable animal be killed as well.

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