On July 23rd, the Governor of Delaware signed the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States. Modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Companion Animal Protection Act, the bill was spearheaded by the non-profit No Kill shelter Faithful Friends, in Wilmington, Delaware, and involved groups like Stray Haven Animal Sanctuary.
The Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act mandates collaboration between shelters and rescue groups. Under the new law, a shelter cannot kill an animal if a rescue group is willing to save that animal’s life. It also makes convenience killing illegal—shelters can no longer kill an animal when there are available cages or the animals can share a cage or kennel with another one.
Specifically, the Delaware CAPA states:
Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:
(i) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;
(ii) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;
(iii) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately sized primary living space with another animal;
(iv) A foster home is not available;
(v) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to §8003(d) are not willing to accept the animal; and
(vi) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that he/she has no other reasonable alternative.
The law also requires:
- posting “all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow them to be recognized and claimed by their owners”
- shelters to maintain registries of rescue groups willing to save lives
- shelters to post statistics (intake, adoption, reclaim, transfer and killing rate).
This law is now the most progressive companion animal protection legislation on record in this country and is an unqualified victory for the No Kill movement.
Let’s hope other states jump on this important bandwagon – and soon.