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Faithful Friends Animal Society (FFAS) leads a coalition to support new animal welfare lifesaving legislation

Faithful Friends Animal Society (FFAS) leads a coalition to support new animal welfare lifesaving legislation to further combat pet homelessness in Delaware.

HB 263, which became law in September this year, expands Delaware’s spay/neuter program through an increase in the Pet
Food Manufacturers’ Annual Registration Fee to sell pet food brands in Delaware. The fee is currently collected by the State Department of Agriculture.

WILMINGTON,
December 9, 2021 – In keeping with its long tradition of animal advocacy, Faithful Friends Animal Society Founder and Executive Director Jane Pierantozzi established a coalition with Delaware Humane Association, the Delaware SPCA, and the Office of Animal Welfare to create HB 263 to advance dog and cat lifesaving.

HB 263 was signed into law for an additional, sustainable funding source to expand the state’s spay/neuter program created by the General Assembly in 2006. FFAS originally led the cause, 21 years ago, to support the goal of ending the mass killing of pets entering publicly funded shelters. One of the first steps toward that goal was to create a public fund in 2006 to provide low-cost spay/neuter to qualifying pet owners and to require shelters to alter animals before adoption with some exceptions. This new funding stream will save the lives of thousands of cats and dogs throughout the state, reduce nuisance complaints and give urgently needed support to Good Samaritans caring for community cats.

According to Jane Pierantozzi, FFAS Founder and Executive Director, “This legislation would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment of State Senator Jack Walsh (9th District) and State Representative Kimberly Williams (19th District). The Delaware shelter community along with rescues statewide all worked together to educate legislators on the urgent needs of our state, on behalf of our animal community. The legislation passed in both the house and the senate the last day of legislative session receiving almost unanimous support from both democrat and republic legislators.”

Senator Jack Walsh stated, “Pet Food Manufacturers’ Fees is nationally recommended as the best spay/neuter funding stream to tackle pet homelessness and overpopulation. The revenue stream will provide additional, critical support to those in our state who are on the front lines of animal protection including shelters, rescue groups, and Good Samaritans. It will also enable us to address a low-cost spay/neuter waiting list of qualifying low-income pet owners who want to get their pets altered but need support.”

The new law increases the annual pet food manufacturer registration fee incrementally from $23 to $100 per brand over the next three years. The increase from $25 up will be allocated to the state spay/neuter fund. The funds are forecasted to provide a historic level of new revenue and are projected to potentially generate $217,000 after the first full year of implementation, $439,000 in year two, and $650,500 the third year. By the third year of implementation, the funds are forecasted to alter another 4,000 to 5,000 animals every year. The fee increase begins in the fall of 2022 and does not affect manufacturers of commercial animal feed, only pet food. States who have passed similar increases report zero to nominal increases in pet food costs to consumers.

The provisions of the law include:

Increase low-cost spay/neuter and rabies vaccinations for qualifying pets of low-income pet owners closing the gap on the waiting list each year
Reduce costs and burden to Good Samaritans, shelters, and rescues working to spay/neuter and rabies vaccinate free-roaming cats statewide
Increase funds for nonprofit animal shelters to spay/neuter Delaware homeless pets. Shelters are mandated by current law to alter animals before adoption.
Adds accountability and tracking impacts by requiring the State Office of Animal Welfare to specific state government departments, legislative leadership to ensure transparency and accountability
“I’m very proud of the work our elected officials have done over the years to pass legislation that helps our animal community and our citizens equally. Our journey to continue to improve our state’s lifesaving outcomes for homeless and abandoned pets has been a long one, but a very rewarding one. One that has made our state a shining example for others in the nation to follow,” said Representative Kim Williams