Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act
by Elisa Black-Taylor
The Delaware Companion Animal Protect Act (DCAPA) was passed last summer (2010) and was the first such Act to ratify our nation’s constitution.
I’ve studied the benefits of having such a law and sincerely hope other states will follow Delaware as it can save thousands of cat lives lost yearly in our nation’s shelters.
Under this new law, there are many conditions which must be met before a shelter can euthanize an animal.
* Holding period for the animal must be expired
* There is no room for the animal, including empty cages, kennels or other living environment
* The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately sized primary living space with another animal. There are many cases where kittens can be combined in one cage to free up more cages to prevent euthanasia due to lack of space.
* A foster home is not available
* Organizations are not willing to rescue the animal
* The animal care/control manager certifies the above conditions are met and no other alternative is available
The benefits of the DCAPA go even deeper. It forces the shelter to commit to the animals. That they are there in order to save the animals. NOT to kill them unnecessarily. Shelters will not be allowed to euthanize an animal, even at the owners request, without putting the animal up for rescue or adoption. Humane euthanasia is still permitted, but not the downright murder of thousands of cats and dogs each year.
The Act also protects the rights of feral cats under a definition of No Kill. Finally, the ferals of Delaware will be given a chance to be rescued and not killed for the simple fact they are feral.
The shelter must also provide fresh food and water, environmental enrichment, exercise, vet care, and a clean living environment.
Delaware’s law may lead to being the first No Kill state in the union. Delaware is also leading the nation as being one of five states where there’s no exception to spay/neuter. It MUST be done. This law was passed in June of 2006 and clearly states that all dogs and cats adopted from private animal welfare or rescue groups, adoption clinics or animal shelters must be spayed/neutered and vaccinated against rabies prior to adoption unless it would endanger the animals health. (src: .
It is estimated that 8-12 million pets will find their way into a shelter each year with up to 60% being euthanized for the crime of being unwanted. No one will adopt them in time to save them. Some shelters only hold a lost pet for 72 hours.
The No Kill Advocacy Center states that if our nation could embrace the no kill philosophy, it would save nearly 4 million cats and dogs per year.
I’d like to ask every reader to read up on the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act. If there are any negatives, please comment at the end of this article. It sounds like a solid, reasonable and obtainable plan to stop the killing of millions of animals each year.
We need to do all we can to have this law passed nationwide. A list of each state and it’s leaders can be found here along with their fax numbers. Let’s make good use of this information. This is not an impossible goal.