ALBANY — Abandoned and abused dogs and cats will see their conditions improve at shelters and rescue organizations thanks to legislation approved at the Statehouse, advocates for the humane treatment of animals say.
“It will raise the standards for shelter and rescue at all levels,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. The organization advocates for animal shelters statewide.
Proponents of the measure say it is designed to ensure animals who need it most receive the best care while waiting to be adopted.
It will take shelters and rescues to ensure they provide safe and humane conditions, with proper feeding, veterinary care and cleaning.
“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation for animal shelters and rescues,” said Stacie Haynes, president of the federation and director of the Susquehanna SPCA near Cooperstown.
The legislation was overwhelmingly approved in the Senate and State Assembly in the final days of the 2022 legislative session.
“What this does is create a level playing field for everyone to meet a set of standards developed by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians,” Post said.
The Federation’s Companion Animal Capital Fund, which has attracted some $28 million in public funding in recent years, is expected to help shelters and rescue organizations meet the new standards when they come into effect in three years.
Post said the timeline for implementing the standards will allow organizations plenty of time to make the changes and improvements needed to pass upcoming state inspections.
The Federation’s education fund received $147,000 from the state to help shelters and rescues understand the standards required by the legislation.
“We don’t leave people out in the cold”, Post said. “We will be with them every step of the way to help them provide the best care for homeless pets.”
Proponents began pushing for the new standards more than a decade ago.
Given the strong support the measure received from lawmakers, Post said she was optimistic it would be signed into law once Governor Kathy Hochul considers it.
The legislation would require all shelters to be licensed and supervised by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Inspections would be carried out by the agency’s animal industry division.
The state bureaucracy is already involved in regulating dog licensing and setting standards for the humane care of seized pets, as well as inspecting municipal shelters.
While that state agency would likely need to hire additional inspectors, Post said the department would see one mission — inspecting the conditions of pets in pet stores — scaled back following the adoption this year of a measure prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in these retail outlets.
She said her organization will seek to convince lawmakers next year to ensure agriculture and markets receive adequate funding in the state budget.
The main sponsors of the measure are Congresswoman Amy Paulin, D-Westchester County, and Senator Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens.
“So many of our homes and families have been blessed with the companionship of a loving animal,” said Paulina. “It’s wonderful to now be a little closer to ensuring they receive the high level of care they deserve. »