GOVERNOR JOHN CARNEY SIGNS HOUSE BILL 235
Governor John Carney signed HB 235 into law to protect free-roaming cats in Delaware. The law states that free-roaming cats deserve the full protection of animal cruelty laws and that shelters have the full protection of the law to implement return-to-field programs. It will also protect caretakers who manage colonies of free-roaming cats.
This bill, which was nearly two years in the making, was a collaboration between Best Friends Animal Society, Brandywine Valley SPCA, Faithful Friends Animal Society, Delaware Humane Association, Forgotten Cats of Delaware, the Office of Animal Welfare, the veterinary community, the wildlife community, and the public.
The passage of HB 235 is considered a big win for free-roaming cats and caretakers in Delaware and will help save more lives.
The new law will humanely and effectively reduce the population of free-roaming cats in our communities via shelter-based sterilization and vaccination programs. This science-based, veterinarian-focused approach to population control has shown itself to be the only effective means of reducing the numbers of free-roaming, unowned cats. The bill also adds protections to ensure that animal cruelty laws apply to all cats, whether they’re owned or not.
The law also gives animal shelters the needed flexibility to implement programming that will help them save lives and adopt more animals. By exempting animals participating in a cat sterilization return-to-field program from the typical “stray hold” period, shelters won’t have to use their extremely limited space to house cats they know have no owner and are not candidates for adoption. This frees up cages and resources that can then be used to find homes for other adoptable cats and dogs. This will have a direct impact on the number of animals leaving shelters alive.
The bill also brings needed record-keeping to shelters regarding free-roaming cats. Over time and with a large enough sample size, animal advocates will be able to track the success of each shelter’s return-to-field program. That information can help shelters direct resources to the programs that are most helpful at achieving their mission of saving animals and finding homes for adoptable pets.
Faithful Friends Animal Society will be opening our doors to help animals from areas affected by Hurricane Florence.
We will be partnering with Brandywine Valley SPCA and Best Friends Animal Society in an effort to help shelters in North Carolina that are burdened with increased intake of dogs since the hurricane hit. Pets being relocated to Delaware are adoptable animals. This transport will not remove any family pets from the area who have been displaced from their owners or their home.
Staff members and volunteers will be ready to welcome approximately 15-20 large and small dogs to Faithful Friends on Thursday, September 19th.
Stop by soon to visit our new adoptable dogs!