A07155 Summary:

COSPNSRStirpe, Colton, Hevesi, Jean-Pierre, Conrad, Cymbrowitz, Byrnes, Montesano, Epstein, Zinerman, Benedetto, Cusick, Gunther, Rivera J, Smith, Buttenschon, Galef, Gottfried
Add 374-a, Ag & Mkts L
Enacts the shelter animal rescue act which requires the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request of the rescue group prior to the euthanasia of such animal.
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A07155 Actions:

04/23/2021referred to agriculture
01/05/2022referred to agriculture
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A07155 Committee Votes:

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A07155 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A07155 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to requir- ing the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request of the rescue group prior to the euthanasia of such animal   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Mandates collaborative working relationships between municipal shelters and not-for-profit organizations in order to reduce taxpayer costs, reduce the number of animals killed, and increase local economic activ- ity and tax revenues through spending on adopted animals.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: -This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Shelter Animal Rescue Act" (SARA). Section 2: -Amends the agriculture and markets law by mandating collabo- rative relationships between animal shelters and other animal shelters, non-profit adoption and rescue organizations, humane societies, SPCAs, and wildlife rehabilitators in order to reduce public costs, length of stay, and numbers of animals killed and sets minimal guidelines for what steps and conditions must be met before an animal may be destroyed. Section 3: -Sets effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: The bill would require an animal who is scheduled to be killed by a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, pound, or shelter, to be released instead to a not-for-profit animal rescue, animal adoption organization, or organization for the prevention of cruelty to animals if that organization requests the animal and agrees to assume care of the animal and any associated costs, with exceptions for animals who are irremediably suffering, animals exhibiting signs of rabies, or dogs who are dangerous. When animal welfare organizations work collectively to ensure that animals are not put to death where responsible alternatives exist, more lives are saved, wasteful taxpayer expenditures are reduced, revenues for municipal and private shelters increase, and economic and social benefits ensue to the community. The states of California and Delaware, and several cities, including Austin, Texas, and Muncie, Indiana, have passed similar legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. In California, the bill was approved by a vote of 96 to 12. In Delaware, the bill passed both houses of the legislature unanimously. Austin's City Council approved the bill unanimously and Muncie approved it by an overwhelming margin. In California alone, over 85,000 animals a year are being saved as a result of its passage. In Delaware, killing has been reduced statewide by over 90% for some animals. Both Muncie and Austin have placement rates of roughly 98%. EXPECTED OPPOSITION: The ASPCA and underperforming shelters may oppose the legislation, as they have in other states, in a bid to prevent state regulation of shelter operations. This may confuse legislators who want to defer to the ASPCA's pedigreed name. Despite what their name suggests, however, the ASPCA often lobbies on behalf of shelters that oppose accountability, even to the detriment of animals in those shel- ters. In the past, they have claimed that passing such legislation is expensive, tantamount to handing the keys to the shelter over to hoard- ers, and impacts public safety; however, similar laws in other states have been an unqualified success and proved those claims to be unfounded. COST SAVINGS / ECONOMIC BENEFITS: The cost to implement the law would be de minimus. Indeed, the bill will result in overall savings, as more animals are sent to non-profit organizations, shifting the cost of care from taxpayer to private philanthropy and eliminating expenses associ- ated with killing animals and disposing of their dead bodies. For example, a study of California's 1998 Animal Shelter Law provision - similar to the one in the current bill - found that the number of animals saved, rather than killed, increased in California from 12,526 before the law went into effect to 99,783 in 2010 - a lifesaving increase of over 700%. That increase corresponds with an annual cost savings of $3,497,283 for killing and destruction of remains (these savings do not include additional savings related to cost of care). In addition to direct savings as a result of legislated lifesaving initiatives, a University of Denver peer-reviewed study also found posi- tive economic impact to businesses and increased sales tax revenues due to subsequent spending by adopters on those animals. PUBLIC / ANIMAL SAFETY: The Shelter Animal Rescue Act would not change longstanding, existing state law regarding dangerous dogs and dogs who cause serious physical injury as already defined under Art. 7 § 123 et seq. of the Agriculture and Markets Law. Since these dogs, animals who are suspected of having rabies, and animals who are irremediably suffer- ing are explicitly exempted from the notification and placement require- ments of this act, there would be no negative impact on public safety. Moreover, the University of Denver study of a similar law in Austin found that while the placement of dogs climbed from 69% to 98%, the percentage of dog bites deemed moderate or severe declined by 13% with the greatest decline in the number of bites classified as "severe," which declined by 89%. Like SARA, the Austin ordinance excludes danger- ous dogs from any adoption obligations. The study concluded that the legislation was not only consistent with public safety, it improved it, noting positive impacts on "public health, social capital, and community engagement," all of which have "important implications for Austin's ability to promote and sustain the health and well-being of both its human and non-human animal residents." Moreover, when California passed similar legislation, not only did it result in a lifesaving increase of over 700%, but a study that analyzed outcomes found that "there is no evidence that the problems predicted by some when the law was considered, such as hoarding or exposing the public to dangerous dogs, has ever materialized." To the contrary, the law improved state and federal oversight of non-profit animal welfare organizations.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined. However, as noted above, studies and experiences of similar laws in Texas, California, and Indiana found economic benefits and cost savings outweighed any implementation costs.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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A07155 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     April 23, 2021
        Introduced by M. of A. WEPRIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Agriculture
        AN  ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to requir-
          ing the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request  of
          the rescue group prior to the euthanasia of such animal

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited  as  the  "shelter
     2  animal rescue act".
     3    §  2.  The  agriculture  and  markets  law  is amended by adding a new
     4  section 374-a to read as follows:
     5    § 374-a. Shelter animal rescue  act.  1.  For  the  purposes  of  this
     6  section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
     7    a.  "Animal  shelter"  shall mean a public or private facility located
     8  within the state that:
     9    (1) has a physical structure  that  provides  temporary  or  permanent
    10  shelter to stray, abandoned, abused or owner-surrendered animals; and
    11    (2)  is operated, owned or maintained by a humane society, society for
    12  the prevention of cruelty to animals,  non-profit  organization,  pound,
    13  dog  control  officer,  government entity or contractor for a government
    14  entity.
    15    b. "Licensed veterinarian" shall mean an individual who is licensed to
    16  practice veterinary medicine in the state.
    17    c. (1) "Rescue organization" shall mean an organization that:
    18    (a) is described pursuant  to  paragraph  (3)  of  subsection  (c)  of
    19  section five hundred one of the federal Internal Revenue Code and exempt
    20  from  taxation pursuant to subsection (a) of section five hundred one of
    21  the federal Internal Revenue Code;
    22    (b) is an animal rescue organization, animal adoption organization, or
    23  organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals;

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 7155                             2
     1    (c) does not have an officer, board member, staff member, or volunteer
     2  who has been convicted of a criminal offense related to animal  neglect,
     3  animal cruelty, or dog fighting; and
     4    (d) has been in existence for at least one year.
     5    (2)  For  animals  within  the  ambit  of their license, an individual
     6  licensed to rehabilitate wildlife by the New York  state  department  of
     7  environmental  conservation  pursuant  to  subdivision  three of section
     8  11-0515 of the environmental conservation law shall also be considered a
     9  rescue organization, except where the release of a particular animal  to
    10  such individual would violate a duly enacted department of environmental
    11  conservation regulation.
    12    d. "Irremediable suffering" shall mean an animal who has an objective-
    13  ly  grave prognosis to be able to live without severe, unremitting phys-
    14  ical pain even with  prompt,  necessary,  and  comprehensive  veterinary
    15  care, as certified in writing by a licensed veterinarian.
    16    e.  "Serious physical injury" shall mean a physical injury to an indi-
    17  vidual caused by a dog bite which creates a substantial risk  of  death,
    18  or which causes death or serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted
    19  impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of
    20  any bodily organ.
    21    f.  "Unprovoked  biting"  shall mean when an individual is bitten by a
    22  dog, and it did not occur as a result of:
    23    (1) the taunting of a dog;
    24    (2) a dog acting in defense of itself, a  person,  another  animal  or
    25  property;
    26    (3) a dog acting from maternal instinct;
    27    (4) a dog reacting to hunger, pain or fear; or
    28    (5) an accidental bite as when playing.
    29    g.  "Unprovoked  repeated  biting"  shall mean two or more bites of an
    30  individual or individuals by a dog resulting in physical  injuries  that
    31  were  not  provoked  in  the prior twenty-four months, documented by the
    32  agency charged with enforcing state and local animal laws prior  to  the
    33  current impound.
    34    h.  "Business day" shall mean any day an animal shelter is open to the
    35  public for adoption and redemption for a continuous period of  at  least
    36  four hours.
    37    2. Notwithstanding any state or local law to the contrary:
    38    a.  Not less than two business days before the scheduled euthanasia of
    39  any animal in the custody or constructive custody of an animal  shelter,
    40  such animal shelter shall:
    41    (1)  notify or make a reasonable attempt to notify by verifiable writ-
    42  ten or electronic communication any rescue organization that has  previ-
    43  ously requested to be notified before animals are euthanized; and
    44    (2)  allow  any  rescue organization who has been notified pursuant to
    45  subparagraph one of this paragraph to take possession of the  animal  if
    46  they so request in order to avoid such animal's death.
    47    b.  Any rescue organization who takes possession of an animal pursuant
    48  to paragraph a of this subdivision shall do so within forty-eight  hours
    49  of  giving  notification  to  the animal shelter of their intent to take
    50  possession.
    51    c. No animal shelter shall euthanize any animal  without  meeting  the
    52  requirements of this subdivision, except for:
    53    (1) an animal that is irremediably suffering;
    54    (2)  a dog adjudicated to be dangerous pursuant to section one hundred
    55  twenty-three of this chapter, and that has been ordered to be euthanized
    56  by the court;

        A. 7155                             3
     1    (3) a dog with a documented history  of  unprovoked  biting  that  has
     2  resulted  in  serious  physical  injury  to an individual. Documentation
     3  shall consist of medical reports made at or around the  time  the  prior
     4  bite  incident  occurred  which describe the circumstances of such bite,
     5  the  nature  and  severity  of  the injury, and treatments given for the
     6  injury;
     7    (4) a dog with a documented history of unprovoked repeated biting that
     8  has resulted  in  physical  injury  of  an  individual  or  individuals.
     9  Documentation  shall  consist  of  medical reports made at or around the
    10  time the prior bite incidents occurred which describe the  circumstances
    11  of  the  bites,  the nature and severity of the injuries, and treatments
    12  given for the injuries;
    13    (5) an animal which has bitten an individual and is suspected to carry
    14  and exhibiting signs of rabies, as determined by a licensed  veterinari-
    15  an.
    16    d. Upon taking possession of an animal pursuant to this subdivision, a
    17  rescue  organization  shall  assume  all liability for such animal while
    18  such animal is in the custody and control of such organization and shall
    19  maintain liability insurance for that purpose, provided that such organ-
    20  ization shall not be deemed responsible for harm caused to  or  by  such
    21  animal that:
    22    (1) occurred prior to the time such organization assumed possession of
    23  such animal; or
    24    (2)  is  due  to the acts or omissions of a person not associated with
    25  such organization.
    26    § 3. This act shall apply in all jurisdictions including cities with a
    27  population of two million or more.
    28    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.
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