Saturday, October 29, 2011

MN CAPA - Complicated Regulations Harm Pet Care

The question to Minnesota legislators should be - “If you were a person working in a shelter, could you determine in what case a stray animal would need to be released to a rescue immediately (364.62e), or 2 days (364.62c), or 3 days (364.62d) ??

• Keep in mind that most shelter personnel are a combination of low pay paid positions and volunteers, so most do not have a law degree.

• Also taking into consideration the large volume of animals, that his convoluted decision would need to be made for in each case.

Tax Code is Less Complicated than MN CAPA (HF1735)
Most tax code is less complicated than HF1735 (MN CAPA) .  Hopefully each legislator fully reads the bill to see if they could make these decisions in a high volume quick paced animal shelter that provides such a necessary service to your communities.

If the legislator’s answer is “No, but you still want to support it because you don’t want to see animals euthanized”, then the legislator should also be asked - “What cost will you be placing on the taxpayers of Minnesota to have an army of personnel to administer the requirements in this legislation, to have a department to investigate allegations of violations, and costs to other departments if cases also go to state attorney general office and court system?”

If Minnesota’s open access animal shelters are forced to abandon their service to your communities and begin to limit what animals they will accepted, your animal control agencies will face the burden of more animals surrendered to them.  Animal control agencies will need to not only hire additional personnel to handle the increased volume, but they will also have to hire additional personnel to contend with the various complicated requirements established under MN CAPA.  Legislators need to decide whether it's fiscally responsible to place that cost on taxpayers to appease a vocal minority that regularly encourages it's followers to be "the squeaky wheel".  No one wants animals to be euthanized, but the answer is not using taxpayer dollars to complicate the processes.  If you want to provide more funding to animal welfare, the answer is in proactive funding of spay neuter and adoption public service announcements.

How could this affect pet owners in Minnesota?
MN CAPA would require animal shelters to release stray animals to unregulated rescue groups before they can euthanize an animal. Sounds simple, but this is what it means to you.  If the shelter is full and there are unadoptable animals that have been held for some time when your cute and cuddly pet goes stray, the shelter can’t euthanize those unadoptable animals before they would need to let a rescue take your more adoptable pet since that rescue won't want the unadoptable one.  Section 364.62(e) states - (e) Stray animals may be transferred to a private sheltering agency or rescue group immediately after impound, subject to the same rights of redemption by the owner

Below are just some of the issues that your pet could face if he gets loose and your local animal shelter is forced by MN CAPA to release your pet to an unregulated animal rescue group:

• Your pet could be transferred to a small rescue group that does not properly track their placements and may lose track of your beloved pet in their exuberance to transfer animals out of animal shelters.

• The rescue group may be not be accessible to get your animal back. Many small rescues are part time endeavors. Their jobs, vacations and other parts of their life may severely limit how accessible they are.

• An out of state rescue could take your pet to another state where the 5 day redemption requirement of this statute would not apply, and you would be at that rescue’s whim if they decided to not return your animal.

• The law does not state that the rescue group would be required to transport your pet back to you, so you may have to go get your animal out of state.

• Considering the ease of setting up a non-profit, you should be especially concerned that your animal could be transferred to an unscrupulous dealer who is using the law to get free animals that could be sold on Craiglist or laboratories, or something even more ominous like dog fighting. This law opens the states door to animal flippers and dog fighters, jeopardizing the safety of your pets.

Above are just some of the issues that you could face as a pet owner if your animal escapes if MN CAPA is passed. 

MN CAPA - Impact on Animal Care
In addition to the transfer issues listed above, consider the fact that the requirements under this legislation are so complicated and convoluted, chances are that this law would increase mistakes that occur in the handling of your pet. We all know too well, from any workplace, that when there are alot of hoops to jump through, you will eventually trip on one of them.  The shelter will be so busy focusing on the various requirements of this law, that there’s an increased chance that some aspect of your pet's basic care will get overlooked by an overwhelmed shelter staff.  Don't just take my word about it, read MN CAPA and ask yourself if you could  follow these regulations while you are caring for animals, servicing pet owners, and trying to adopt out animals.  Do you really want your local shelter or animal control to be concerned and distracted by nonsensical regulations and legal ramifications, or would you rather have the shelter focus on the care of your pet until you can pick up your precious stray?