Groundbreaking Legislation Passes for Homeless Companion Animals in NYS; Care Standards Will Be Raised at Shelters and Rescues Across the State
June 2, 2022
By: NYS Animal Protection Federation’s Libby Post, (518) 857-6788
The Companion Animal Care Standards Act for Shelters and Rescues was passed by a vote of 149-0 in the State Assembly on Tuesday, May 31st after it passed by a similar margin of 61-0 in the State Senate on Wednesday, May 25th. The bill, A6245c/S6870b, provides comprehensive, uniform facility and animal care standards for shelters and rescue organizations.
The basis for much of the provisions related to such standards is the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ (ASV) 2010 Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. The bill covers all aspects of shelter and rescue operations including training requirements, recordkeeping, facilities standards, housing, sanitation, management protocols, animal husbandry, veterinary care, behavior and transportation.
The effective date of the bill is three years after the bill is signed by the Governor. “This time frame will give shelters and rescues the time they need to meet these standards,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Our sister organization, the Federation’s Education Fund, will receive $147,000 in grant funding to provide low cost/no cost consulting to help these organizations reach and maintain these standards. We’re not leaving folks out in the cold—we’ll be with them every step of the way to help them provide the best care for homeless companion animals. It is essential that we raise the standard of care for homeless companion animals. We hope that Governor Hochul agrees on this point and urge her to sign this important bill.”
“The Federation began working on this bill over 10 years ago,” said Stacie Haynes, the Federation’s president and Executive Director of the Susquehanna SPCA. “This is one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for animal shelters and rescues. The Federation’s Companion Animal Capital Fund initiative which has now brought $28M in state funding to capital projects at shelters across the state will be integral in helping both shelters and rescues reach these standards.”
Under the bill, all shelters and rescues would be licensed as animal shelters because the bill creates a licensing and inspection program that will be administered by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Animal Industry.
“I’m thrilled that the Companion Animal Care Standards Act (A.6246C/S.6870B) has passed in the Legislature! This legislation, which provides comprehensive standards of care for animal shelters and rescues, seeks to protect and improve the lives of animals in these organizations throughout New York State,” said Assembly sponsor Amy Paulin (D-Westchester). “I thank my sponsor in the New York State Senate Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the New York State Animal Protection Federation, and the many other advocates who worked relentlessly to bring this bill to passage. So many of our homes and families have been blessed by the companionship of a loving animal. It’s wonderful to now be one step closer to ensuring that they’ll receive the high degree of care they deserve.”
“We have made tremendous strides on behalf of homeless companion animals across New York. Since not all facilities are monitored by the state, this legislation will require all shelters and rescues to be licensed by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, to ensure safe and humane conditions, with proper cleaning, nourishment, and veterinary care,” said Senate sponsor Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens). “By creating a universal system for training personnel, recordkeeping, and a written outline of practices and responsibilities, we are addressing ineffective and unenforceable laws while further protecting innocent animals.”
“The passage of this long-awaited measure marks the beginning of a new era in animal sheltering and rescue in New York State,” said Bill Ketzer, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA. “Conceived and championed by shelter directors, veterinarians, behaviorists and other welfare professionals, these uniform facilities standards will directly support and enhance the lifesaving work of all organizations serving homeless and abused animals in communities statewide. We greatly appreciate the hard work of Assemblymember Paulin and Senator Addabbo in passing this bill, and urge Governor Hochul to sign it into law.”
New York’s animal shelters are committed to saving lives and making a difference in the towns, cities and villages they serve,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State director for the Humane Society of the United States. “This legislation is based on standards established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) guidelines, which were developed to raise the standards of care throughout the sheltering community. The HSUS applauds the work of Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Joe Addabbo for bringing this important legislation over the finish line. We respectfully urge Governor Kathy Hochul to sign this bill into law.”
The New York State Animal Protection Federation is the advocacy voice of New York’s network of animal shelters. Founded in 2010, the Federation now has over 100 members comprised of municipal and nonprofit shelters, brick and mortar rescues, local and national animal welfare organizations.
–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer