Update: August 16, 2017
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law yesterday that will help shelter animals.
Increasing Animal Shelter Oversight in New York
Bill: Senate Bill S5599/Assembly Bill A7195-An Act to Exempt Certain Entities From the Definition of Pet Dealer
Signed into law: August 15, 2017
We voiced our support for this bill when it was introduced in April, and we’re glad New York did the right thing for its shelter animals. This law requires private animal shelters, rescues, and other nonprofits that adopt out animals to register with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, putting these groups under state regulation for the first time. This additional oversight will help increase shelter transparency and accountability, which improves the lives of cats, and all animals, in their care!
As state legislatures around the country adjourn for the summer, we want to share our successes from this session. In states from Connecticut to Nevada, pro-cat bills have been signed into law. We voiced our support for these bills in letters to legislators, and in some cases, we asked you to chime in, too. Some of these new laws specifically address community cats and Trap-Neuter-Return, while others focus more broadly on animal shelters or animal cruelty. Either way, they all benefit cats!
Improving Animal Shelters in Connecticut
Bill: House Bill 6334-An Act Requiring the Registration of Animal Shelters
Signed into law: July 7, 2017
Shelter animals scored a big win with this law. Animal shelters will now be required to register with the state. That means state officials can inspect shelters to ensure they are following proper regulations for sanitation, disease, humane treatment of dogs and cats, and public safety protection. Any shelter found to be in violation of these regulations could have its registration suspended or revoked. This is expected to help improve the care of shelter animals in the state.
We pushed for this bill every step of the way: in the House, to the Senate, and on the governor’s desk. We couldn’t have done it without our supporters in Connecticut, who heeded our calls to action and urged their legislators to support this much-needed bill. Thanks, Connecticut!
Updating Animal Cruelty Laws in Pennsylvania
Bill: House Bill 1238-Comprehensive Animal Cruelty Bill
Signed into law: June 28, 2017
We asked legislators to vote for this bill, which strengthens Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws. This bill now makes severe animal cruelty a felony offense. It’s about time: Pennsylvania was one of only a few remaining states that didn’t have a felony charge for animal cruelty (with the exception of animal fighting and killing or maiming a captive zoo animal). Alley Cat Allies believes that people charged with animal cruelty should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Supporting TNR and Community Cats in Nevada
Bill: Senate Bill 411-Program for Managed Feral Cat Colonies
Signed into law: June 2, 2017
We called on Nevada residents to voice their support of this measure, as we did in letters of support to state legislators. This law makes it clear that returning feral cats to their outdoor homes after trapping and neutering them does not count as abandoning an animal (which is illegal). It supports TNR and helps feral cats!
Protecting Shelter Animals in Maryland
Bill: House Bill 626-Animal Shelters Standard of Care
Signed into law: May 4, 2017
This new law increases animal shelter oversight by requiring animal shelters to meet minimal standards of care and follow written protocols that will benefit the animals, including procedures for owners to reclaim animals. It also requires the Department of Agriculture to create regulations to enforce these standards.
Many thanks to all of our supporters in Maryland who received our alerts and took action as the bill worked its way from the House of Delegates to Governor Larry Hogan. With your collective voice, we’ve helped improve the well-being of cats and other shelter animals in the state!
Caring for Abused Animals in Maryland
Bill: House Bill 941/Senate Bill 631-Animal Abuse Emergency Compensation Fund
Signed into law: May 4, 2017
We urged legislators to support this important bill, which establishes a fund to reimburse animal shelters for costs to house and care for animals rescued from cruelty cases. Now shelters will receive much-needed financial support for providing lifesaving care while the criminal case involving the rescued animals is prosecuted by the state.
Funding Spay and Neuter in West Virginia
Bill: House Bill 2552-Spay Neuter Assistance Fund
Signed into law: April 26, 2017
This law supports spay and neuter, which is good for animals and communities! We asked legislators to support this bill to increase the pet food registration fee that pet food manufacturers pay to the state. The additional money will be deposited into the West Virginia Spay and Neuter Assistance Fund, which provides grants to organizations that provide spay and neuter services to low-income West Virginia residents.
Thanks to all of you around the country who reached out to your legislators in support of these bills. Advocacy is an important part of our work to make the world a more humane place for cats and all animals. Check out our Action Center to see how you can make a difference.