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Blog the Change: New York State Bills to Benefit Animals

I warned TW a month ago, we had to prepare for our Blog the Change post but did she do anything? No! Once again, she waited until the day before to throw something together. Oh, I'm sorry—she cut some articles from the newspaper to use as ideas. She must've been something back in her school days. I hope this post doesn't LOOK like she waited until the last minute.

Meet Verrazano.
This month, I'm not going to write about some stupid human tricks like setting fire to a live kitty or throwing a kitten out the window of a car on the Verrazano Bridge although I could. Fortunately the latter had a happy ending as an Animal Control officer was in a car right behind the nut who hurled the kitty and stopped traffic and rescued it. Star of The View, Whoopi Goldberg, is one of many lined up to adopt "Verrazano," a five-week-old Russian Blue kitten. They're still looking for the nut who threw the cat.

This is going to be a happy post because NY State does have a Bill pending that will make it easier for rescues to get into shelters to save animals scheduled for euthanasia. I'll tell you about that later. Our hero now is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer who has come to the defense of animal rescuers in their legal battle with the city over its treatment of homeless dogs and cats.

Stringer's office has axed the NY State Court of Appeals to determine whether the city is breaking its own law by neglecting to provide animal shelters in all five boroughs. The Bronx and Queens only have part-time pet receiving centers. As a result, stray animals are often euthanized because there is no place to hold them.

He says there are too few animal care facilities and the ones that exist have too many substandard conditions. "This disregard for animal welfare and safety is unconscionable."

Stray From the Heart, a rescue group sued the city in 2009 for ignoring a law that requires full service shelters in all five boroughs. A Superior Court judge ruled in its favor. Earlier this year, an appeals court decided the group didn't have standing to challenge the City and the Health Department on the law. They claimed the 2000 Animal Shelters and Sterilization Act, as interpreted, was related solely to public health issues and did not address animal welfare, thereby preventing organizations such as Stray From the Heart from enforcing the animal shelter law. Over the past two years, the Health Department has slashed more than $1.5 million from its contract with the nonprofit NYC Animal Care and Control.

With the support of Mr. Stringer, Stray from the Heart is seeking leave to appeal the 2011 decision to the New York Court of Appeals on the grounds that they have standing to sue to compel the City to enforce an Act that is fundamentally related to animal welfare in additon to public health.

In addition, Borough President Stringer emphasizes that if an organization such as Stray From the Heart, whose mission is to promote rescue and shelter dogs, has no standing to enforce a law that requires the same service, then no organization can have standing to ensure the City complies with its legal obligation to comply with the Act.

Let's hear it for Borough President Scott Stringer. Send him a thank you message by either calling his office at 212-669-8300 or an email at

Now on to Bill No. A04480, which requires the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request of the rescue group prior to euthanasia of the animal. With the reintroduction of this bill, shelters once again are arguing that they want to hold onto the right to approve or disapprove whether a rescue group can take the "death row" pets. They claim their opposition is to keep "hoarders" and unqualified rescue groups from taking the animals.

Oreo after being thrown from a Brooklyn roof
The bill, also known as Oreo's Law, would save dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals currently being killed in NYS shelters. This law got it's name from Oreo, a one-year-old Pit Bull mix, who was thrown off a 6th floor Brooklyn roof top by her owner. The ASPCA "rescued" her, took time and expenses to fully mend 2 broken legs, broken ribs and various other injuries. Only a few months later, the ASPCA decided to kill Oreo themselves. Despite Pets Alive, a no-kill shelter located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, begging the ASPCA repeatedly to surrender Oreo to them, the ASPCA killed Oreo on 11/13/09.

Oreo, all healed up and ready to be euthanized.
A statewide survey of NYS rescue groups found that over 70% were being turned away because the shelters were hostile to them and then those shelters turned around and killed the animals the rescuers were willing to save.

This bill would:

  • End "convenience" killing when there are empty cages and when animals can share kennels or be sent to foster care
  • Require pounds to post strays, including photographs and descriptions, on the Internet so their families can search for them online
  • Require transparency in operations by requiring shelters to make their statistics public
  • Require pounds to scan for microchips, maintain lost-found lists, and match lost with found animals in the shelter
  • Require fresh food and water, environmental enrichment, clean living environments, as well as prompt and necessary veterinary care
From my research, A04480, which was supposed to be voted on in June, never came to a vote. Please click on the sidebar widget to find ways to help get this important Bill passed.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thank you for posting this, CK! There has to be a way to get this bill passed - some of what is going on in NY right now is horrible.

  2. We is purraying that this bill passes. Things are better in San Francisco, but not so great throughout the whole state of CA. :-(

  3. Thank you for participating in Blog the Change Day and for sharing the information about Bill No. A04480. It is so hard to believe that this bill has not already passed. No healthy animal should be put down when there is a shelter willing to take them! And thanks to Borough President Stringer for his work to hold the City accountable for its treatment of homeless animals.

    Vicki Cook and Bunny's Blog

  4. There should also be a law against cruel and stoopid humans and they should be spayed or neutered! I sure hope this bill gets a great chance!

  5. I'm a New Yorker who obviously needed some brushing up on the law. I know about what happened with Oreo, but not the implications going forward. Thank you for getting me up to speed with such a thorough write-up. I'll be thanking Spinner for his work and looking deeper into that bill!

    (On another note altogether, I can't stop playing with the cat in your sidebar.)

    Thanks so much for Blogging the Change!

  6. I'm with Brian and everyone else!! Get this bill passed!

  7. Boy, is it time for everybody to start waking up and this bill is the perfect way to do it. Far too many people think animals are disposable and I'm sick of it.

    Respect for animals is the first step. We will do what we can to see that this bill is passed, including a prayer or two. Thanks so much for bringing this issue to everyone's attention, Cathy.

    A very caring post!


  8. This bill needs passing for sure.. Its high time things got better for pet animals!
    Thanks for blogging the change!

    Richa and Chewie @

  9. Gosh this would be so wonderful for all concerned if this bill passes. Good for that Stringer to help with all this. We sure hope it all works out since that could be a basis for all states. Gosh this was a good read in that something good is going on for a change. Thanks so much for posting this.

  10. Hey--what is this "disk shooter" of which you speak?? **I** would enjoy such a toy! Do you know where such a treasure is to be found? The Human denies ever having seen one in PetSmart or Petco--but perhaps she has not been diligent in looking!

  11. This is such an informative post CK. Lots of sad stuff is going on, huh? We hope this Bill will get passed to help save the innocent animals. (Hey thanks for making my first NipClub special with the welcomes and Gaga! Believe it or not, my Human still has to catch on to how to do it!)And about my catnip seeds...nice try, but no cigar!


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