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.