Delaware Passes Landmark Legislation

23/7/10

Dear Friends,

The Governor of Delaware just signed the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States. The law was modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center's Companion Animal Protection Act and spearheaded by the non-profit No Kill shelter Faithful Friends, in Wilmington, Delaware, and involved groups like Stray Haven Animal Sanctuary.

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. But that is just the beginning. It also makes convenience killing illegal—shelters can no longer kill an animal when there are available cages or the animals can share a cage or kennel with another one.

Specifically, the Delaware CAPA states:

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.
The law also requires posting "all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow them to be recognized and claimed by their owners," requires shelters to maintain registries of rescue groups willing to save lives, and requires shelters to post statistics (intake, adoption, reclaim, transfer and killing rate).

While the law is now the most progressive companion animal protection legislation on record in this country, and can only be considered an unqualified victory for the No Kill movement, some of the No Kill Advocacy Center's recommendations were not accepted. Nonetheless, Delaware, the first state to ratify our nation's constitution, continues to lead the way in embracing the legislative framework necessary to ensure justice. And we will build upon this framework in the coming years to strengthen protections for animals even more.

Kudos to you, Faithful Friends, for being true to your name, and our deepest gratitude to the animal loving citizens and legislators of the great state of Delaware. 

Nathan J. Winograd
Director, No Kill Advocacy Center
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