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Setting the Record Straight on Oreo’s Law

Last year, a bill was proposed in the New York State Assembly that is known as “Oreo’s Law.” Bill 4480 would require all municipal animal control pounds and shelters to transfer any animal in their care who is scheduled to be killed to a nonprofit animal protection organization that requests possession of the animal.

Alley Cat Allies supports shelter reform that includes open shelter access provisions for rescue and Trap-Neuter-Return groups. Killing an animal who can otherwise be saved is the ultimate form of animal cruelty, and Bill 4480 would essentially stop this practice in New York.

Alley Cat Allies carefully analyzed and thoroughly reviewed the law to ensure it would be in all animals’ best interests in 2010. We worked with the legislative sponsor to strengthen the bill and improve the language. But the bill never left committee, nor was it ever scheduled for a vote.

This month, the bill was reintroduced in the New York State Legislature, with revisions. Alley Cat Allies supports Bill 4480 and is confident the bill, if passed, will protect New York’s animals.

The reintroduced bill:

  • Correctly defines euthanasia to mean when an animal has “irremediable physical suffering.”
  • Has a streamlined process to transfer “death row” animals to nonprofit animal organizations, saving lives.
  • Now allows the animal pound or shelter to inspect a potential rescue group if there is probable cause to suspect cruelty or neglect, prior to relinquishing an animal.
  • Ensures that shelters are not self-regulating animal care.

The bill could be further strengthened by clarifying that a feral cat or Trap-Neuter-Return group is included in the definition of any “animal rescue or animal adoption organization,” and we are working with the legislative sponsor.

Alley Cat Allies believes that when it comes to animals’ lives, it’s important for animal advocates to work together to ensure all animals’ best interests are considered. We will continue to work with New York State and others to ensure all animals receive the protections they truly deserve. More important than any single bill is the guarantee of shelter access, and Bill 4480 is just the beginning of shelter reform. Above and beyond preventing animals from being killed in shelters, we also need to prevent feral cats from entering them at all.

Bill 4480 is currently in committee. We’ll keep you updated as the legislative process moves forward and continue to rely on your support to protect and improve the lives of cats. You’ll be the first to know when it comes up for a vote.

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