Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pet Overpopulation Is A Problem In The State of Delaware

Surprisingly this week, a House Concurrent Resolution was passed by the State of Delaware House & Senate that states that "pet overpopulation is a problem in the State of Delaware".  I have to say this resolution nearly floored me considering that many of the same legislators voted in favor of CAPA, whose framework was the Companion Animal Protection Act that was written by Nathan Winograd and promoted on his No Kill Advocacy Center website.
SPONSOR:   Rep. Spiegelman & Sen. Ennis ;Reps. Briggs King, Jaques, Kenton, Miro, Osienski, Ramone, Baumbach, Bennett, Carson, Heffernan, Keeley, Kowalko, K. Williams, Wilson; Sens. Lavelle, Pettyjohn
WHEREAS, increasing awareness and donations can help spay and neuter programs lower the number of unwanted pets; and
WHEREAS, pet overpopulation is a problem in the State of Delaware; and
WHEREAS, the Delaware General Assembly joins the nation in recognizing that pets can bring joy into our lives.
BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the 147th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, the Senate concurring therein, that we affirm the importance of adopting pets when possible.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the members of the House of Representatives and Senate that we recognize the importance of preventing unwanted pets through spaying and neutering programs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of the House of Representatives and Senate hereby designate April 11th, 2013 as National Pet Day in Delaware.
This resolution recognizes April 11th, 2013 as National Pet Day in Delaware.

Why Is This So Shocking?

The reason the Delaware resolution proclaiming pet overpopulation is a problem was so shocking, is because Mr. Winograd and the No-Kill movement have consistently stated the opposite, and according to the No-Kill movement "pet overpopulation is a myth".  It's upon that very flawed foundation that CAPA is predicated.

In fact his much touted book that No-Kill followers are consistently referred to is called "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America".  So naturally is seems odd that Delaware's legislature that passed CAPA is now proclaiming that pet overpopulation does exist.  Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining.  This is the first sign we're seen in a long time that there is some common sense here in Delaware

Is There Hope For Delaware?

I hope so.  I can't say whether this is a change in direction in Delaware, because we've all seen what a joke our state Animal Welfare Task Force has been.  It will also be interesting to see what how the final task force report justifies hiring a whole department at the cost of $500,000 when there are no laws for them to enforce currently.  It will also be quite a precedent if the legislature creates a department for laws that might be on the books someday.  Remember, nobody currently has authorization to inspect shelters, but that is one of the duties that this new group is supposed to do despite the fact that there are no laws proposed that grant them this authority, or any laws that even govern conditions within an animal shelter.  So needless to say, it should be interesting to see how this bill of goods is sold to legislators across the state, and whether our Senate President Pro Tempore will figuratively be putting the cart in front of the horse in promoting this concept.

There was also a Senate Concurrent Resolution that passed this week.  Apparently the Animal Welfare Task Force will need an extension from March 31 to April 30 to complete the final report to Governor Markell.  Although the details appear to be for the most part completed, since there are no further task force meetings scheduled, I guess the narrative will take some salesmanship and polish to sell hiring more state personnel to enforce laws that aren't even on the books yet.
SPONSOR:  Sen. Blevins
WHEREAS, The Animal Welfare Task Force, hereinafter referred to as the “Task Force,” was created by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 44 of the 146th General Assembly to consider and evaluate the state of animal welfare in Delaware;
WHEREAS, the Task Force was directed to submit its report of findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by March 30, 2013;
WHEREAS, the Task Force has worked diligently on its examination but is not yet prepared to submit its report;
WHEREAS, the members of the Task Force would like to review the report prior to submission and believe they will be able to submit the report by April 30, 2013;
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the 147th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, with the House of Representatives concurring therein, that the date by which the report of findings and recommendations for the Animal Welfare Task Force is due shall be extended to April 30, 2013.
This Senate Concurrent Resolution extends the reporting date of the Animal Welfare Task Force from March 30, 2013 to April 30, 2013.
Author: Senator Blevins
Or maybe the extension is merely a delay tactic to keep the final report under wraps longer. As many will recall, CAPA (or the "shelter standards" as our legislators like to call it to obscure the connection to No-Kill), was one of those bills that was ramrodded through at the end of the legislative session in 2010, so don't be surprised if we see the same attempt to blitz this new agency and it's half million dollar budget through our legislature.

But until then, let's just celebrate the fact that Delaware has acknowledged that pet overpopulation does exist, and hope that this acknowledgement comes with the realization that a new agency is not going to solve pet overpopulation.  We all know that prevention is the key, so let's hope that the legislature realizes that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's Wrong With CAPA?

The Companion Animal Protection Act
(CAPA, MNCAPA, CAARA, FAARA and Hayden's Law)
An unfunded mandate costing taxpayers and shelters millions
Requires shelters to release animals to even unqualified rescues, enabling hoarding, warehousing and substandard care
Creates bueaucracy that takes resources away from animal care
Incites litigation, forcing unfunded shelters to wast time and money defending against lawsuits
Endangers public health and safety by releasing dangerous animals

Learn more at our Facebook page:  Companion Animal Protection Act 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Olean, New York - Delaware's Slow-Kill Deja Vu

Recently I became aware of a small town in rural New York that eerily parallels some of the issues that we've been faced with in Delaware.

"The group Citizens for Shelter Reform at Cattaraugus County demonstrated that the CCSPCA contract with the City of Olean is being violated in numerous ways, including: failure to spay/neuter, vaccinate and license all adopted animals; failure to provide adequate veterinary care for sick and ailing animals; failure to answer/respond to phone calls from the public regarding stray, abandoned and/or injured animals; failure to provide adequate facilities for the proper care and sheltering of animals. " - Niagara Falls Reporter

What's so disturbing about this is that the solution to these issues is so simple.  Laws that address real standards of care and inspections.  Not photo op laws like CAPA, and definitely not ignoring the situations as we've seen here in Delaware, and as is being done in Olean NY at the SPCA of Cattaraugus County NY.
"Part of the problem is the lack of clear care standards for the care of companion animals (the only standards apply to stray dogs and to those in the care of licensed pet dealers) and the rest of it are animal cruelty laws that are poorly written and hard to enforce, leading to minor penalties and repeat violations.
Don’t dogs and cats need the same minimum care: food, water, socialization, veterinary care, shelter, protection from harm, no matter where they are? I think that New York needs to look at a comprehensive standard for companion animal care, as in Colorado, no matter where the animal is or who is providing the care, and write clear, easy to enforce animal cruelty laws that are part of the Penal Code — not an obscure part of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
The editors mention the “Shelter Access” bill and the CAARA bill. And neither of these bills will work as intended or described, in fact the -  care of animals in the community may suffer. They were right not to endorse them." - Mary Anne Kowalski - The Daily News Online
I know I've been saying it for almost 2 years now, and clearly many in New York have the same viewpoint.  So why are so many states reluctant to introduce legislation that enforces real standards?  I wish I knew.  There are a whole lot of politicians out there that CLAIM they care about animals, but you have to wonder why a southern state is leading the way when it comes to at least addressing basic care standards and inspections.

It's amazing that the state legislators, in states like Delaware and New York, can't seem to understand that the horror stories that have occurred in their states are a direct result of their failure to introduce legislation that says a shelter or rescue must provide a minimum level of care.  Instead they continue to introduce legislation that uses a subjective term like "irremediably suffering" that will never be fairly enforceable so that they can use our lack of real standards to protect shelters that they have aligned themselves with.

I'm not sure who aggravates me more, the corrupt legislators who protect their friends, or the indifferent ones that just ignore the issues and hope these horror stories will just go away.

I'm sure there are many other states in the same position.  Hopefully we can all start to yell the same chant for each other - We Want Real Shelter Reform !!!  We Want Real Standards & Inspections !!! 

So I encourage readers to sign this petition on behalf of our parallel universe in Olean, New York, as they attempt to end their current horror story for the animals at the SPCA of Cattaraugus County NY

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Minnesota CAPA - Round 2

It appears that CAPA has been introduced yet again in Minnesota, both in the House (HF391) and the Senate (SF1204).

After reading through the bills, it appears all the same issues exist as when it was introduced last year, so there's no use in rehashing.  Hopefully other states will continue to look to Delaware and see the tremendous costs that we've incurred in endless investigations, costly litigation, and now a new agency has even been discussed to clean up our animal welfare mess that resulted.  And our animal welfare laws are apparently such a mess that the recent animal welfare task force and the legislators we pay to write laws could not address the issues directly, so are transferring that responsibility to a new agency that will be paid for at taxpayer expense.

Minnesota residents should take a long look at your future under CAPA by going to some of the posts on this blog and decide if this is what you want for the animals in your state.  Consider the fact that most our shelters have had deficits as a result of CAPA and trying to become No-Kill overnight.

CAPA hasn't saved animals lives, it's merely closed animal shelter doors to our animals.

Here is last years recap of just some of the issues with MN CAPA, both then and with this year's versions.
MN CAPA - Complicated Regulations Harm Pet Care