NY Governor Kathy Hochul agrees that shelter animals ASSESSED as suffering mentally can be killed

Shelter dog
Shelter dog. Image in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Nathan Winograd, a US attorney and major animal welfare advocate, has written an open letter on Facebook to New York State’s governor, Kathleen Hochul, urging her to veto a proposed bill (S6870/A6246) in the state of New York (Companion Animal Care Standards Bill – now an Act – see below). Winograd argues that the bill, which is intended to provide increased protections for animals in shelters, will actually result in fewer animals surviving in those facilities.

He argues that the bill does not require shelters to make animals available for adoption or to work with animal rescue organizations, and instead creates new incentives for municipal pounds (shelters run by local governments) to kill animals.

The bill also imposes new burdens on non-profit rescue organizations, without providing additional funding, and expands the duties of the Department of Agriculture & Markets without providing additional resources.

He also objects to the inclusion of a provision in the bill that allows for the killing of animals based on their perceived “mental suffering,” as there is no definition of this term and no standards for how it will be applied, leaving the decision to kill animals at the discretion of the pound.

Winograd argues that this provision sets a dangerous precedent and that most animals classified as having “behavior” issues in pounds can be helped through common-sense measures such as socialization, exercise, and getting them out of the shelter, none of which are required by the bill.

He also claims that the bill limits the lifesaving capacity of non-profit organizations by imposing annual licensing and home inspections on rescue groups, and argues that these organizations should not be treated like municipal shelters as they are not funded by the government and work to save animals at their own expense.

His letter was to no avail. She signed off the bill. Nathan also states:

“There is no definition of “mental suffering” and no standards for applying it. All animals can experience stress on entry to a pound. Many of these animals are used to sleeping on beds and couches in homes or even living on the street and will find their familiar routines upended in a confined place that is loud, often dirty, unfamiliar, and disorienting.”

He should know. He is America’s most prominent animal advocate (I would include Carole Baskin of BCR in this category) and the world’s most Knowledgeable on animal shelters through the non-profit ‘No-Kill Advocacy Center’.

This is Winograd’s full FB letter (sometimes these stop working please note):

The following appears to be the offending clause which opens the door to unnecessary euthanasia or healthy and adoptable shelter animals:

“Any animal in the custody or possession of a licensed animal shelter that is observed to be experiencing mental suffering or behavioral deterioration shall be assessed and appropriately treated. If treatment sufficient to alleviate mental suffering or behavioral deterioration cannot be provided and alternative placement for the animal is unavailable humane euthanasia can be performed.”

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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