Update: NY State Assembly Bill A05449A
ASPCA says "psychological pain" clause should be amended
February 22, 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.
Now one step closer to being law, the bill has been sent to the Assembly Codes Committee. In its present form it has the potential to threaten innumerable lives. Your action is needed to stop "Quick Kill" bill A05449A.
UPDATE: On 2/15, Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol released a statement indicating he was aware of widespread opposition to the bill among constituents, that he shared those concerns, and did not intend to send the bill to the floor for a vote (see the Chairman's statement, below). Unfortunately, A05449A can still reach the floor. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is empowered to overrule the Chair's decision and force a vote - and as the only option left, this is undoubtedly the route the opposition will attempt.
If - and ONLY if - you are a NY State resident, please contact NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and politely ask him not to allow this bill to reach the Assembly floor. Tell him you oppose A05449A because:
- the bill's allowance of immediate euthanasia based on "psychological pain" will lead to the unnecessary deaths of many animals, including feral cats entering shelters
- it fails to clarify the right of any animal welfare organization to practice Trap-Neuter-Return, the most humane and effective way of managing feral cat populations
Sheldon Silver (64th District)
Correspondence opposing A05449A should be sent to Speaker Silver and other members of the Assembly by NY State residents only, as the NY legislature is known to be sensitive to interference from "outsiders". Out of state supporters can lend much-needed help by thanking Assemblymember Lentol for his leadership, and by contacting the bill's sponsor, Assemblymember Amy R. Paulin to let her know there is growing nationwide opposition to this cruel legislation.
Statement from Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol, released 2/15/12:
"On Wednesday, February 15th, the NYS Assembly Committee on Agriculture reported this bill to the NYS Codes Committee. I am the Chairperson of the Codes Committee. I have received many calls and messages from individuals opposed to this legislation.
I am not a sponsor of this bill and have not had any part in its drafting. Those who have voiced their opposition against this bill have raised legitimate questions and I, too, am concerned. Therefore, I do not intend to report this legislation at this time. I believe a great deal more study and work must be done on this issue before legislation can be moved to the floor."
Chairman Lentol's position is a positive development, but action is still urgently needed! Please contact the members of the Assembly Codes Committee and tell them to OPPOSE A05449A.
Joseph R. Lentol (50th District)
Codes Committee Chair
Phillip Boyle (8th District)
James Brennan (44th District)
Vivian Cook (32nd District)
Steven Cymbrowitz (45th District)
Joseph Giglio (149th District)
Al Graf (5th District)
Hakeem Jeffries (57th District)
Tony Jordan (112th District)
Rory I. Lancman (25th District)
Charles Lavine (13th District)
Michael Montesano (15th District)
Daniel O'Donnell (69th District)
N. Nick Perry (58th District)
J. Gary Pretlow (87th District)
Edward P. Ra (21st District)
Robin Schimminger (140th District)
Michele R. Titus (31st District)
Lou Tobacco (62nd District)
Helene E. Weinstein (41st District)
Keith L.T. Wright (70th District)
Kenneth Zebrowski (94th District)
LentolJ@assembly.state.ny.us; BoyleP@assembly.state.ny.us; BrennanJ@assembly.state.ny.us; CookV@assembly.state.ny.us; CymbroS@assembly.state.ny.us; GiglioJ@assembly.state.ny.us; firstname.lastname@example.org; JeffriesH@assembly.state.ny.us; JordanJ@assembly.state.ny.us; LancmanR@assembly.state.ny.us; LavineC@assembly.state.ny.us; MontesanoM@assembly.state.ny.us; OdonnellD@assembly.state.ny.us; PerryN@assembly.state.ny.us; PretloJ@assembly.state.ny.us; email@example.com; SchimmR@assembly.state.ny.us; TitusM@assembly.state.ny.us; TobaccoL@assmbly.state.ny.us; WeinstH@assembly.state.ny.us; WrightK@assembly.state.ny.us; ZebrowskiK@assembly.state.ny.us
To verify you are a NY State resident, please remember to include your name, town and state in your communications with the Assembly!
In addition to contacting members of the Code Committee it would also be helpful to write your District Assemblymember, to start to educate them about concerns regarding A05449A, in case the bill reaches the general Assembly. Beause hard copy communications tend to carry greater weight than emails, we strongly suggest you send a letter to your appropriate representative. To locate the Assemblymember from your District please click here.
Thank you for your support!