Success - For Now
Sponsor of A05449A agrees to remove "quick kill" clause, but more action may be needed
February 24, 2012
The New York State Assembly Agriculture Committee has passed A05449A. The bill contains troubling provisions that make it easier for shelters to euthanize cats suspected of being feral, and that fail to clarify the right of animal welfare organizations to practice TNR in NY.
The main thrust of the bill is to set rules for giving animal rescue groups access to animals in shelters who would otherwise be euthanized. While there is much to question over whether A05449A is adequate in providing such access, of great concern to us as feral cat advocates is a clause which would allow the euthanizing of an animal immediately upon intake if it is deemed to be experiencing irremediable "psychological" pain. This is a dangerous new precedent which on its face is vague and obviously subject to arbitrary determinations, unlike a physical condition. Almost any animal entering a shelter will be frightened and exhibit psychological trauma, at least at first, so this new clause becomes a potential catch-all way to get around the mandatory holding period and would mean every feral cat could be put down at once as their temperament could be deemed "irremediable".
In addition the bill fails to clarify that shelters or animal rescue groups are allowed to release cats for purposes of a TNR program. This same lack of clarity on the current, corresponding law (Agriculture & Markets sec. 374-2(e)) has resulted in many communities, especially upstate, deciding not to support TNR programs. Because the proposed law deals specifically with the allowable dispositions of lost, stray or homeless animals, it should clear up the matter and make it as plain as can be that TNR is a permitted disposition.
UPDATE! On 2/23/12 Assembly Member Amy Paulin, sponsor of A05449A announced she is willing to revise the bill by removing the clause allowing shelters to euthanize animals based on a determination of "psychological pain". Her decision follows a massive protest during which thousands of people from across NY State contacted Ms. Paulin and other members of the Assembly to voice concern and dismay over a provision that would lead to the unnecessary deaths of many innocent animals.
To read the NY Times article about this development please click here.
A05449A will now be reviewed and revised by Ms. Paulin and other members of the Assembly. We will continue to monitor the bill's progress and will issue further Action Alerts as needed.
We thank each and every one of you who stepped up to protest a cruel measure; your action has saved lives and we are grateful for your support.