Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kent & Sussex Get Short Shrift from Task Force

As the elections approach, it's certainly nice to see what our Governor and state legislators think of residents in the slower lower 2 counties with their appointments to the new Animal Welfare Task Force.  The times and locations for the meetings also show that this task force has no intent to gather public input from anyone other than the same individuals that brought us CAPA.

Appointed by:
Appointment Date:
Rep. Earl Jaques
Speaker of House
New Castle
Rep. Lincoln Willis
Speaker of House
Sen. Patricia Blevins (Chair)
President Pro Tempore
New Castle
Sen. Karen Peterson
President Pro Tempore
New Castle
Mr. Andy Lippstone
New Castle
Ms. Hetti Brown
Public Member
New Castle
Ms. Jennifer Ranji
Public Member
New Castle
Ms. Kathy Gallagher
Public Member
New Castle
Dr. Caroline Hughes
Public Member
New Castle
Mr. Verne Smith
Public Member
New Castle
The Hon. Ed Kee
Dept. of Agriculture
Dr. Morgan Dawkins
DE Veterinary Medical Assoc.
Windcrest Animal Hospital
New Castle
Ms. Kristin Dwyer
NCC Policy Coordinator
New Castle
Mr. Michael Petit de Mange
Kent County Levy Court
Mr. Hal Godwin
Sussex County
Deputy County Administrator
Mr. John Rago
City of Wilmington
Deputy Chief of Staff, Mayor Baker
New Castle
Mr. Patrick Carroll
DE Humane Assoc.
New Castle
Ms. Jane Pierantozzi
Faithful Friends Animal Society
New Castle
Ms. Anne Gryczon
Safe Haven Animal Shelter
Ms. Anne Cavanaugh
Delaware SPCA
New Castle
Mr. Kevin Usilton
Kent County SPCA
Dr. Michael Moyer
UPenn Shelter Animal Medicine Program
Out of State

NCC – 15
KC – 3
Sussex – 3

Next Scheduled Meeting: 
Thursday, Sep. 20th at 2:00 p.m. will be held at Appoquinimink State Service Center (122 Silver Lake Rd., Middletown, DE 19709)

The following meetings are scheduled with the Buena Vista Conference Center 
Thursday, Oct. 18th at 2:00 p.m. in the Buck Library
Thursday, Nov. 15th at 2:00 p.m. in the Dining Room
Thursday, Dec. 13th at 2:00 p.m. in the Dining Room
Friday, Jan. 18th at 2:00 p.m. in the Buck Library
Thursday, Feb. 21st at 2:00 p.m. in the Buck Library

New Castle County To The Rescue?

It was bad enough that the task force ignored common sense appointments referenced in my previous post, by not including those that enforce the law and protect the public safety, like other grown up states do.  Now we find out that 15 of the 22 members are from New Castle, and that Kent and Sussex were only afforded 3 members each.  And to no surprise, ALL the meetings are scheduled to be held in New Castle County.  Sadly, nothing surprises me anymore.  

So lets review where most of the problems under CAPA have occurred.  
  • The shelter most impacted financially was Kent County SPCA in Kent County, since they handled dog control for all 3 counties until recently.  
  • What county didn't have dog control for several weeks when our county chose to hand over dog control to a shelter that isn't open yet - Kent County.  
  • What counties residents have to make an appointment pick up their dog 40 miles away if it gets loose, because the shelter Safe Have took over our dog control contract and has missed another promised open date (mid August) - Kent County.
  • What county has had to watch cats suffer longer, since to the new contractor handling dog control that has no moral compass to help a suffering cat, even though they are the ones with officers patrolling our county - Kent County.
  • What county has a shelter with a number of board members and law abiding citizens that previously volunteered, who walked away because they question the practices of that shelter - Sussex County.
  • What county has a resident charged for cruelty because she dropped off 2 cats at an animal shelter, which is generally an accepted practice in the normal world - Sussex County.

It's ironic that state leadership thinks Kent County and Sussex County residents should trust the same legislators and governor who brought us their brilliant CAPA law, and the resulting issues that are impacting our counties. Isn't it nice that they brought in the New Castle County folks, so they can save us below the canal Delaware hicks with more of their bad tasting medicine.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cruelty Again - We Are In Another Dimension

Yesterday, I discussed the cruelty taking place as shelters pass the buck, and cats are suffering longer as a result.  A story in the paper today reveals that CAPA is not only harmful to animals, but also to residents of the state.

In the real universe, people who find a stray or have a companion animal that they can no longer care for take the animal to an animal shelter.  It was done to make sure these animals were not left to starve or suffer if they had never learned to care for themselves.

Unfortunately Delaware is no longer in the realm of the real universe.  All I could think when I saw the following story is that we've entered that other eerie dimension mentioned in the beginning of each Twilight Zone episode.

In this strange new dimension we've found ourselves in, it's apparently acceptable for a shelter who patrols a county under a dog control contract to ignore a cat suffering when it is hit by a car, but we've come to find out that it's also a crime to drop of cats at the animal shelter.
"Her crime -- saving the lives of two abandoned cats.
Watson, 52, brought two cats living in crates on her former property to the Delaware SPCA in Georgetown. Because the shelter had already reached its capacity, the SPCA had to point Watson in another direction.
Homeless and ill, Watson had no choice but to leave the cats at the shelter, knowing she had committed a crime. In turn, she was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and has a trial set for 9 a.m., Aug. 30." - DelmarvaNow.com article
You definitely need to read the article to see what our new dimension looks like.
"We are not an unlimited admission shelter, so we don't euthanize to make space," Motoyoshi said. "When we're full, we're full. In this case we didn't have any available space. We just can't do anything about it." 
As you'll recall, we did have one shelter that was still open access to dogs and cats prior to CAPA, and when it was down to only one shelter that was open admission, the no-kill shelters and their elected official friends chose to use CAPA to change that.

I don't take issue with any shelter who chooses to pursue the no-kill path, even if it's usually harmful to the financial well being of that shelter, because their board has every right to operate the entity in a manner that they see fit and that it's membership supports.  What I find ridiculous here is that the no-kill shelters wouldn't be faced with animals being abandoned on their property if Kent County SPCA was not financially forced by CAPA to no longer accept cats, except when they have room.

So make no mistake, the situation this poor woman is faced with is a result of CAPA.  I've said all along that the cat situation was being passed off by the shelters to residents, many of which can't afford to deal with the problem, but for this woman to be faced with criminal charges is just insane.  Personally, I think the judge should arrest the politicians that created this situation, and give this woman a medal for caring.

I understand that Delaware SPCA wants to make an example out of her to make sure people don't just dump animals, but this is ridiculous. The fact is, KCSPCA was willing to take cats before CAPA was shoved down their throats, so if the no-kill shelters didn't push KCSPCA into not taking cats, we wouldn't be where we are now.  I still think Delaware SPCA is a great organization, but the answer to the issue of too many cats isn't going to be found by making this woman a criminal, and she shouldn't suffer as a result of mistakes by our no-kill shelter leadership and our legislature that passed CAPA. The answer is to admit CAPA was a mistake, and for everyone to spend time saving animals rather than the constant games and legal wrangling currently taking place.

And let's not forget what a bad example is being made by prosecuting this woman. The next person will know they can't abandon the cats at the shelter, so instead they'll just deal with it in their own way.  I won't mention the many ways we know people have done that in the past, but it means that the cruelty will escalate because residents have nowhere to to take cats to.  No-kill advocates can say CAPA is the compassionate alternative, but those of us stuck in this alternative dimension know otherwise.  Both animals and humans are suffering as a result.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Passing The Buck - Cruelest State In The Nation

CAPA has put Delaware to the top of the class, it's just not in a class that most of us wanted to be in.  What was created as essentially a harassment tool against one shelter, the Kent County SPCA, has also become a weapon of cruelty to the very animals that the no-kill movement claims to be fighting for.

It wasn't surprising when we saw the hypocrisy in the state, when it was stated by Safe Haven that CAPA did not cost more despite the fact that Kent County SPCA's financials and common sense show it did.  While at the same time watching the Wilmington contract, where the no-kill shelter tied to so many of our state politicians, advocated for more money for a fellow no-kill shelter.  In that case the no-kill shelter apparently needed a 37% increase in their contract.  It wasn't even surprising when we saw the Kent County Levy Court wash their hands of the humane care portions of Title 9 under their new contract with Safe Haven, and try to claim everything in the humane care section should be considered cruelty and stay in Kent County SPCA's hands, who is not paid for that service they perform on behalf of the state.  I guess when politicians start making decisions that essentially said we don't want to deal with humane care as a citation offense under Title 9, we'll just sit back and wait until it escalates to cruelty, then we should have known we were headed down an ugly slope into a cruel world for our companion animals.

Over the last week there have been 2 cases that show the cruel world that has been created by our state legislators, governor, and Kent County Levy Court commissioners.  In our new no-kill aspired world, cats have been left to fend for themselves.  As previously discussed, there is no doubt that our cat population is on the increase due to the misguided forces that made it too expensive for a shelter to pick them up even if they think it's more humane, since each animal has to be treated at great cost if they are sick or injured in any way.  Below you will see just how cruel our state has become.

Two Cats Hit By Cars

The first cat story I saw last week was regarding a Milford cat.  The woman called Safe Haven, Kent County Levy Court, and the Delaware State Police.  The police finally got the KCSPCA to respond.  Keep in mind that the page below is run by the very people making complaints against the KCSPA discussed previously.  And if you go to this Facebook page, you will see the they have Liked our commissioner that lead the way down this path in Kent County.  So it's no surprise that they think KCSPCA should bring their officers away from their posts in New Castle County or Sussex County County to come help a cat injured and in need of assistance, since our new dog control contractor Safe Haven and the Kent County Levy Court apparently does not have the same compassion for an injured cat.  Thank you KCSPCA for being the organization that cares.

The second case I saw was posted on the WBOC Facebook page.  According to the post below, the individual contacted KCSPCA, who as noted previously would have their officers in the other 2 counties, so the shelter referred them to Safe Haven who has the contract in Kent County.  For those out of state, here is a link to the state map showing the various dog control contracts.  Safe Haven referred them back to KCSPCA yet again, just like in the Milford case.  The post shows how frustrating it is to see a severely injured cat (back half of body smashed, ribs back) and not be able to find help for the cat.   She mentions being transferred around, and eventually ends up contacting the Dept of Agriculture.  There the state vet apparently contacted the KCSPCA to see if they could respond.  And yes, yet again, KCSPCA did bring one of their officers to the area to pick up the cat, despite the fact that their officers are not patrolling this county.  So again, Kent County residents should be grateful that one shelter cared enough to pick up this gravely injured cat in our county, rather than allow it to suffer even longer, and sadly it wasn't the shelter that our tax dollars are going to.

If this is just a couple cases found on the internet within a few days of each other, I can only imagine the unspeakable horrors that animals are facing in this state, especially here in Kent County, as the no-kill shelters continue to pass the buck onto KCSPCA.  I understand the intent of CAPA is to drive KCSPCA out of business, so the no-kill shelters can extort an endless supply of funds from the state and county taxpayer for their no-kill adventure, just like Austin.  But how many animals are they, and their political partners, willing to allow to suffer like this to gain a little notoriety in the no-kill circles? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Former WCRAS Director To Rescue Kent County Dog Control??

Word has it that Mitch Schneider, former Washoe County Regional Animal Services Director was to be in town to consult in Delaware.  Since it doesn't appear that he was on the agenda for the 1st meeting of Delaware's Animal Welfare Task Force, I wonder if he is consulting on behalf of Safe Haven who was awarded dog control for Kent County beginning July 1, especially since the Safe Haven's director did mention Nevada to the Kent County Commission previously.
"Now I do some consulting,  I'm going off to Delaware right after today." Mitch Scheider, Animal Wise Radio 8-12-12
Since there have been reports on a couple Facebook pages that one of the new animal control officers for Kent County arrived in shorts and flip flops to capture a dog, I hope Mr. Schneider advises them that this isn't a recommended uniform.  Setting aside the lack of professionalism, Kent County residents really don't want to our county's liability rates to increase because our commission was foolish enough to hand our dog control over to the flip flop brigade.  I wouldn't want Kent County residents to pay the price when a few of those little piggies are bit off, or for that matter a foot.

And I certainly hope Mr. Schneider wasn't consulting for Safe Haven when the following post was occurring.  If he was, then I certainly see why Washoe County residents are having concerns over the recent audit report concerning past issues at WCRAS.

The above discussion was disturbing by any standard.  If Safe Haven intends to ask residents to foster animals, they should not place them in a position where they have to spend "4 figures" on behalf of an animal the resident doesn't own.  Later in the day, the foster later commented on the FB page that dog was treated at the vet that the shelter arranged in Ocean City, and that can still be found on their FB page, but I wanted to include the earlier part of the conversation that was eventually deleted.  And that doesn't negate the fact that this foster has spent a great deal of money in the last 6 months on a dog that is still under the care of the shelter, or that they have to resort to using Facebook to get into contact with the shelter.

I also wonder if this is the same dog named Brady from an earlier post that was the result of a mistaken pregnancy, that resulted when the shelter placed two unaltered animals of the opposite sex into the same foster home.  If this is the same dog, then the shelter should be ashamed  of placing the financial responsibility onto the foster caregiver for an animal that wouldn't have even been born were it not for the shelter's carelessness.

As we're now past the mid-August point and there is still no word of a grand opening, I have to imagine it will be pretty difficult to get dogs adopted out on an appointment basis only.

"The Safe Haven shelter is slated to open mid-August in Georgetown, but for now residents can make appointments to adopt animals" - Cape Gazette 7-18-12
That may explain why the Safe Haven posted a call-out for more foster caregivers Friday.  So if residents become reluctant to foster dogs for fear that they will have to bear the financial costs themselves, then what happens next?  If the shelter is filling with dogs under the contract, and not going out, will the shelter stop picking up under the contract, or will the shelter become overcrowded?  I certainly hope our Kent County Levy Court is monitoring the situation, because they bear just as much responsibility for these animals by choosing to switch dog control to a shelter that wasn't even open for business yet.  

Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force

The task force met for their first meeting this week.   Although there is chatter among several Facebook pages about who has been appointed to the task force, they have yet to update the task force page on  the State of Delaware website to confirm.

It is curious that the task force meeting wasn't posted to the state site until 8/10/12, which was only 5 days prior to the meeting.  And it's certainly ironic that state officials would violate their own FOIA law which requires public meetings to be posted 7 days prior.  Especially since one of the Senators that is reported to be leading the task force is the same one that had requested 2 FOIA opinions against the KCSPCA.  

So a non-profit KCSPCA is supposed to follow their FOIA law, but the state task force doesn't. That certainly is the "Delaware Way".  Of course I'm sure the hate pages will say the state had a reason to circumvent their own law, and I'm sure it couldn't be because the senator leading the way on this task didn't want the public there.  They would neeeever do that ;)   

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A No-Kill Conference - What's On The Agenda?

With the No-Kill Conference under way, I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the items on their agenda and see how it relates to the last year.  Usually annual conferences for organizations are a celebration of the year that past, and a time to map out the strategy for the year to come.  While I have no doubt that the "no-kill" advocates will be mapping out their sinister plots to create chaos in more communities in the year to come, but I can't imagine they have a whole lot to celebrate from the past year.

Shelter Access Laws

The core concept that "no-kill" has tried to inflict on communities is CAPA (Companion Animal Protection Act or Animal Rescue Act), and it's many variations from state to state. CAPA itself is a variation of the California Hayden Act. While their advocates proclaim the success of Hayden, it has been anything but a success.  It has been nearly 14 years since it was signed into law, and despite millions spent, California's euthanasia rate is no better than the national average.   If it hasn't worked yet, you would have to be delusional to think that it will suddenly work now with the economic strain that California is under.
"For example, California has perhaps the most extensive and productive network of rescue organizations in the country, supported by provisions of the 1997 Hayden Bill that mandated shelter access and extended hold times for strays, but it has a weak network of low-cost or free spay/neuter services. Between 2004 and 2008, the state saw a rise of 54,000 in the number of animals killed annually in shelters (from 378,445 to 432,412) while shelter intake jumped by 106,404 (from 729,238 to 835,642)." - Best Friends Blog
So how has the "no-kill" community made out with their goal of inflicting the same CAPA mess here in Delaware onto other states?  Well, I will give them credit for getting legislation proposed in a number of states - FL, MN, NY, TX, WV, and even a different strategy of mandating the one city of Baltimore in MD.  But it was also encouraging to see that so many states had the good sense to realize that the claims of cost savings, mandating collaboration, and protecting public safety were fiction, and the section below highlights just how far they are willing to go to ignore the safety of the public.  So while the "no-kill" community may have been able to celebrating the chaos that they were inflicting on Delaware at last years conference, there was not one state above that they could claim as a success this year.

Litigating No-Kill

This must be one of the most attended seminars at their conference based on the actions in recent years, especially since attorneys seem to be at the forefront of the movement.  It certainly makes one wonder whether the law industry is looking for revenue sources .  Whether it's here in Delaware, or communities across the U.S, the movement has certainly managed to clog up the legal system.  I may be a numbers person, but I couldn't begin to estimate the millions being wasted across the nation on official complaints, lawsuits and investigations across the country.  Here is just one example:

Stockton Animal Shelter, CA - Pat Claerbout
For those that don't watch the business news, Stockton is a municipality in California that filed for bankruptcy in recent months, so the shelter has had to dealing with budget cuts and furloughs in recent years. Pat Claebout has been operating the shelter for the last year, and she has been under fire since taking over.  Note the progression of this story and how the "no-kill" movement will go to great lengths to harass directors, and the political powers that oversee them.  It's apparent that the activists are throwing one accusation after another to see if they can get at least one to stick.  
"The city of Stockton's animal services is overseen by the police department. Police spokesman Pete Smith said the department was aware of the online petition and the chief supported Claerbout's decision.  "It was a situation where, unfortunately, they were overpopulated out there," Smith said. "They simply had too many animals at that time."
Make sure to read the comments on this story.  There are rescues that defend this director, so there are transfers being done.  And I tend to believe that the more professional tone of the rescues dealing with the shelter vs. the comments like "are you okay with killing animals" and "I guess I can copy and paste too" show the lack of professionalism and maturity of the rescues that were probably justifiably banned in most cases.
Note the appearance of the same attorney shown in Story 2!!  Apparently the attorney wasn't getting anywhere in Stockton, so decided to dredge up some story from the director's previous shelter from 2 years earlier, and filing a lawsuit on behalf of a rescue that claims to have wanted a dog named Zeus.  Here's the kicker, according to the story, this attorney Jill Telfer is representing Susan Wallace of Scooter's Pals, and I'll be darned, this same pair has also filed a lawsuit against Placer County regarding a dog named Charlie, a dog that bit a child requiring dozens of stitches. I'll let you judge whether this is ambulance chasing or a political agenda, but with thousands dogs dying everyday that this rescuer could have taken that day, "no-kill" advocates don't seem to be too concerned about public safety to me.  And how sad is it that the reporter of this story didn't address this other lawsuit.  It's shoddy reporting at best.
The police have begun an investigation due to the political pressure.  I certainly hope they take a look at the multiple lawsuits and the history of these complaints.  Maybe the Stockton Police need to investigate those making the complaints as well, and whether the group Central California Pets Alive who also commented on these cases has had any part in both the Stockton and Placer County lawsuits.
Just what we all need, more attorneys taught how to go after animal shelters who care for the animals dumped in communities.  Rescues could accept those animals directly, but it's easier to file lawsuits against cities and counties to make these governments submit to the movements demands, whether it's in the public's best interest or not.  It's clear from their analysis that the intent of these suits is to circumvent current laws and force municipalities to hold owner relinquished animals longer, whether or not the city can afford to.  Clearly a city like Stockton who just filed bankruptcy cannot afford budget increases that cities like Austin have endured.

Rethinking Hoarding

There wasn't a description for this seminar, but I find the implication of the name a little scary.  As many times as we've heard "no-kill" justify CAPA, and state that there isn't a concern with handing out animals like they are election leaflets, I can't imagine where they are going with the hoarding issue next.  I think this is one where it would be interesting to attend, and hear whether they will be stating it isn't a problem.  Whether it has been individuals or rescues that got out of hand, we've all seen to many cases recently, and the hoarding issue is becoming far too common.

The Austin No-Kill Plan

I have discussed the fact that the Austin model  is unsustainable on several occasions.  It should be interesting to see how the "no-kill" plan will work out for them after the grim budget news came out yesterday.  The one advantage that Austin has it that they have far more funding than many shelters handling a similar intake.  While I'm sure national leadership will blame the community for not continuing to throw more money at the shelter, we will get a chance to see how long this can last when you don't have an unlimited budget.  I can't imagine that "no-kill" will be celebrating the budget news at their conference either.

It will be interesting to see what the next year will bring on all these fronts.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another Unenforceable Law & Photo Op Minute

If readers thought the recent arguments regarding Title 9 bordered on ridiculous, today's new photo opportunity will show you how Delaware got to this point, with laws scattered around various Titles in our code books. Animals suffer in our state because our politician are more interested in a photo op minute than creating laws that will protect animals, which is truly unfortunate.

Today various legislators and our governor had a nice little photo op for the signing of a bill that placed restrictions on tethering.

While most would think that having a bill that restricts tethering is an accomplishment, the issue with this bill is that everyone knows it is for the most part unenforceable.

There have be a number of attempts to place limitations on tethering dogs over the years.  Previously we had SB 156, which applied to Title 9.  As previously discussed, Title 9 applies to county dog control enforcement.  This bill stated the following concerning the tethering restriction:
b. Tethering is prohibited under the following circumstances:
        (v)  Between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., unless the tether is used for less than a 15 minute period of time.”
While this version made more sense, the reason SB156 didn't go through was in part because the counties balked at having another unfunded mandate placed on them.  Since some of our counties don't pay for dog control during overnight hours, they were correct in recognizing this bill as an unfunded mandate (for once).  And as usual, the state doesn't want to pay for this service either, but they want to create the illusion that they are doing something, so another option had to be found.

Gimme My Photo Op!! (SB211)

So what are state politicians to do when they can't get the counties to pay for their photo ops?  The answer is to introduce another version (SB211) that nobody pays for (maybe).  Under Title 11, Delaware's dog cruelty statute, there are two shelters empowered to perform cruelty investigations, Delaware SPCA and Kent County SPCA. Neither are paid for their service investigating cruelty, so essentially cruelty investigations are paid for by their donors. That might even be a workable solution if it wasn't for 2 major factors - both shelters have had substantial deficits, and the unenforceability of the bill.

If you look at the most recent financials available on Guidestar for these 2 organizations, you will see that Delaware SPCA lost $573,154 (ending 6/30/10) and Kent County SPCA lost $454,237 (ending 9/30/11).  Did these losses coincide with the "No-Kill" aspirations within the state - absolutely.  At this rate, state officials may bankrupt every shelter in our state with their unfunded laws that allow the politicians stand pretty with a cute puppy dog and say "cheese".

The other factor is the language in the bill, and the fact that it's unenforceable.  As you can see below, I've highlighted the language that will make this legislation a fiasco.
Section 1.  Amend §1325(a)(6), Chapter 5, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by making insertion as shown by underlining as follows:                (6) "Cruelty to animals" includes mistreatment of any animal or neglect of any animal under the care and control of the neglector, whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused. By way of example this includes: Unjustifiable beating of an animal; overworking an animal; tormenting an animal; abandonment of an animal; tethering of dog for 18 hours or more in any 24 hour period, except on land owned or leased by the dog’s owner that is not less than ten acres; tethering any dog for any amount of time if the dog is under four months of age or is a nursing mother while the offspring are present, except on land owned or leased by the dog’s owner that is not less than ten acres; and failure to feed properly or give proper shelter or veterinary care to an animal.
(13) “Tethering” shall include fastening or restraining with a rope, chain, cord, or similar device creating a fixed radius; tethering does not include walking a dog on a leash, regardless of the dog’s age.Section 2. Amend §1325, Chapter 5, Title 11, of the Delaware Code by making insertions as shown by underlining as follows:
(g) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, for a first offense misdemeanor violation of this section relating solely to the tethering of dogs, a warning shall be issued.(h) Exclusive jurisdiction of offenses under this section relating to the tethering of dogs shall be in the Superior Court.
I have yet to hear a good answer to how this will be enforced. Obviously Animal Control Officers can't just take neighbors word that an animal has been on the tether for more than 18 hours.  ACO's get dragged into the trashy neighbor disputes all the time, and the ability to convict on this kind of hearsay is a longshot at best.  So what is the alternative - staking out a home for 24 hours?  Again, the fact that there isn't 24 hour dog control makes that unlikely. Remember, the law only stipulates that the dog has to be off the tether for 6 hours within a 24 hour period.  A person can take the dog into the garage where they are working for a couple hours at a time, so just doing a drive by every couple hours to prove their case isn't going to cut it.  And if ACO's aren't on duty 24 hours, is the alternative having police doing 24 hour tether stakeouts?  For goodness sake, we have shootings and violent crime, and they want cops handling stake outs on tethered dog cases.  That's almost as bad as the bomb squad and police responding to a box of kittens.

Keep in mind that there were various issues brought up about this bill before it passed, so it's not like the politicians can claim the issues were overlooked, most of them were just downright ignored.  Here was a Facebook post about the penalty portion of the bill.  One issue that was brought up on June 5 was that the bill would make tethering a dog a misdemeanor criminal offense on the first offense, even without any other underlying cruelty.  Delaware Votes for Animals (DVFA), who is made up primarily of the the photo op crowd, replied on June 6 that post had "a lot of inaccuracies" because the bill "allows for a warning for first-time offenders".  What DVFA didn't say was that an amendment was scrambled out to address that issue on June 6, the very next day after the issue was brought up in this Facebook thread, so the post was spot on.  You can see that on the SB211 history.  Don't you just love the way people spin the truth.

Enforcement was also a discussed as part of that thread.  And as you can read below, it does appear our law enforcement agencies are also expected to play a part in the enforcement of this tether legislation.  It's funny though, aren't most police officers paid??  But once again we have a bill that states "Fiscal Notes - note required".  I guess this clearly refutes claims that the state is getting more stringent on fiscal impact.
Great question about enforcement Marleen! We all know that laws are only as good as the enforcement and we are happy to post that this bill, because it deals with animal cruelty, could be enforced by any law enforcement agency, including animal cruelty officers. Therefore, the burden would not fall on one agency or organization to enforce. - Delaware Votes For Animals Facebook

I just want to address who the person in the post above is, questioning the many issues with the tether bill.  Her name is Marleen Oetzel, and she runs a rescue called Lost and Found Dog Rescue that in many cases takes in dogs that have been chained their whole life.  As you'll see in the video below, she has been passionate in her endeavor to get dogs unchained.  She's even chained herself out on the street for 24 hours on behalf of the dogs in our state, to make her point that the State of Delaware needed a comprehensive tether law, and clearly her posts show that SB211 is too flawed to bring her dream for unchaining dogs to fruition. 

The other issue that makes enforcing this legislation even more ludicrous is the 10 acres or more exception added late in the game.  Seriously, do our legislators and governors really expect ACO's and police officers to carry around property plot plans for the whole state with them, since 2 of our 3 counties are primarily rural.   Of course I guess the ACO or police officer can research the property size while they sit at their 24 hour stakeout.  Yes, my head is shaking in disbelief.

I think this should give readers some idea of how Delaware ended up with animal laws scattered among so many Titles.  It should also give you some indication of why we were the first state (and hopefully last) to pass CAPA, when so many other states like New York and Minnesota had legislators who were smart enough to avoid going down this horrible path of the "No-Kill" rescue act and its many variations.

So you can also see why residents are so concerned that so many of the same players that brought us CAPA and this tether bill will also be on the task force discussed in my previous post.  This may also explain why there is no indication that the task force meetings will be open to the public.  It makes me wonder whether the lack of transparency in the upcoming task force is intended to make sure there aren't questions like you see were brought up about the tether bill. Maybe the State of Delaware could learn a lesson from Hillsborough County FL who televises their Animal Advisory Committee meetings, and has public comment at each one. Mandating only one public comment meeting in the Delaware Senate Resolution was pretty useless if the public doesn't know what the task force has been discussing behind close doors, but then again, maybe that's the intent.