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On the Heels of Defeat, a Great Victory

July 27, 2010

By Nathan J. Winograd

As simulposted with No Kill Blog

For the last several months, I’ve been like a little kid, bursting to tell a very exciting secret. Today, thankfully, I can let the cat out of the proverbial bag: This morning, the Governor of Delaware signed into law the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States. The law was modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Companion Animal Protection Act and spearheaded by the non-profit No Kill shelter Faithful Friends, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Like Oreo’s Law sought to do, the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act mandates collaboration between shelters and rescue groups. A shelter cannot kill an animal if a rescue group is willing to save that animal’s life. But that is just the beginning. 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,” requires shelters to maintain registries of rescue groups willing to save lives, and requires shelters to post statistics (intake, adoption, reclaim, transfer and killing rate).

It is groundbreaking, revolutionary legislation which will save the lives of thousands of animals every year. And not only proves that No Kill advocates can successfully legislate shelter reform, but that we can do so without a single large animal protection organization being involved, a fact which begs the next logical question: why haven’t I talked about this important legislation before?

While the No Kill Advocacy Center worked with supporters on the language of the bill, we did not discuss it publicly, fearing that the large animal protection groups would work to undermine its passage, just as they did in New York, just as they did in San Francisco, just as they tried to do in California in 1998 (Hayden), and just as they try to do everywhere reform advocates are trying to end the systematic killing of animals in their communities.

To read the rest, please visit Mr. Winograd’s No Kill Blog HERE


7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 9:32 am

    KUDOS Delaware!!! Wonderful news for animals, and to animal advocates everywhere that needed this reminder. It needs done, it can be done, it will be done 🙂


  2. July 27, 2010 11:31 am

    Animal advocates Rule!!!Congrats Delaware!!Hope the other 49 pay attention. A step in the right direction. You have saved so many lives.. I have forwarded this to every animal control in my area…beware we are coming and will not stand for it anymore. Everyone needs to do the same..let them know we pay their salaries…we want better standards.
    This is a great model for every town, every county, every state…start where you live! See change happen…


  3. July 27, 2010 3:58 pm

    Great news Stacey. This is a major victory. Your hard work has paid off and now you have helped to set a precedent not only for every town, every county, and every state, but possibly also for many other countries.


  4. MICHELLE MOREL permalink
    July 28, 2010 4:21 pm



  5. Judi permalink
    August 1, 2010 7:19 pm

    This is wonderful news! EVERY single state needs to pass this into law. The time has
    come – no more excuses. Can someone step up in OHIO and get this passed? Please let me
    know how I can help. The cats/kittens and dogs/pups are killed every week in our so
    called “humane” societies when there is plenty of cage space and rescues willing to help
    if it means saving a life.


  6. August 2, 2010 5:54 am

    Judi – you are so right about Ohio! Try contacting Lane, Ohio League of Humane Voters?

    They always need more help.

    Katherine McGill


  7. Judi permalink
    August 2, 2010 11:26 am

    Thanks Katerine. I will send them an email. I hope Ohio can model a law
    like this one – it can help save many lives.


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