The ASPCA and Amy Paulin Double Down on the Quick Kill Bill

When we last checked in with Amy Paulin’s Quick Kill Bill we looked to be in pretty good shape. The ASPCA was expressing displeasure and distancing themselves with some of the aspects of the bill they themselves had written in response to massive public outcry, cosponsors were running away, and the bill seemed destined for a quick death in the Codes Committee.

Then something interesting happened: they doubled down and started to marshal their forces to defend the Quick Kill Bill. The first step? They’re getting the band back together. (What band? The Killers, of course!)

An Amy Paulin press release revealed that her allies are not only the ASPCA but Jane Hoffman of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals (who depends on the ASPCA for a large part of the funding for her organization) and ASPCA kool-aid dispenser the Animal Law Coalition (a coalition of one, Laura Allen). If this collection of names sound familiar, it should, because these are the forces behind some of the worst legislative ideas in New York in the last few years. These are the folks who got together to defeat the original Oreo’s Law out of mutual self-interests and prevent shelter access reform in New York State. These are the people who got together to sell out the animals of New York City by passing Int. 655 (now Local Law 59 of 2011), which relieved the city of its legal responsibility to build and staff full service shelters of every borough in New York City. And these are the people who found a new stooge, Amy Paulin, to help them introduce legislation in order to block CAARA, a progressive law that sets a new standard of rescue access for shelter animals and codifies in law minimum standards for how shelter animals are to be cared for and treated. These are the people who exert great influence over New York City’s Animal Care and Control, who enable them to kill and to keep killing, and who now seek to drag the rest of New York State down to those standards.

Tomorrow – Tue, Feb 28, the newly reformed band will make their first joint appearance together in support of the bill in an online forum on lohud.com at 1:30pm. At that time you’ll be able to click here and join in an interactive forum with Amy Paulin, Jane Hoffman and Nancy Perry of the ASPCA.

They’re going to undoubtedly try some of the following talking points – some of which are outright lies. Here’s the truth about the Quick Kill Bill.

Amy Paulin has said that she is willing to withdraw the Quick Kill provision of the Quick Kill Bill – the language that allows the speedy execution of animals judged to be in “psychological pain”.
She may be willing in word, but she has not yet withdrawn that provision and it remains part of the bill.

Amy Paulin has said that the bill requires that shelters take additional steps to require shelters to reunite a lost pet and their owners.
The bill undermines any such language by exempting shelters from any requirement that they do not find “practicable”. For instance, they are required to scan for a microchip, check lost pet reports, and make listings of lost animals available on a website as soon as is “practicable”. This is a massive loophole; any shelter accused of wrongdoing under the law could simply claim that they found the requirement to be not practicable and they’re off the hook. This is not a law; this is a suggestion. If we could trust shelters to do the right thing, we wouldn’t need a law that requires them to take lifesaving steps, as CAARA does, instead of declaring them to be optional, as the Quick Kill Bill does – toothless loopholes masquerading as real reform.

Amy Paulin has said that the bill sets up a rescue oversight process between rescuers and shelters.
The bill says that shelters may work with rescue groups – but they don’t have to, and if they do they ARE the oversight process. They decide who gets to rescue and they can eject rescues that speak out against them. Interestingly, the bill requires that rescues pulling from shelters are able to provide necessary veterinary treatment and have effective disease control protocols, meaning that NYCACC would have approval over standards of other rescues that they themselves do not and cannot meet. Putting shelters in charge of regulating who can rescue from them merely codifies the current status quo, it is no kind of improvement and would not prevent abusive shelters from silencing their critics and preventing rescuers from taking animals and killing them instead, as now happens routinely. CAARA, by contrast, contains provisions that protect shelter whistleblowers and establishes objective standards for rescues that are not subject to manipulation by the shelter.

Amy Paulin has said that the bill improves requirements for shelter care and medical treatment.
The bill provides extremely nonspecific standards of care, with loopholes and weak language throughout – including some truly disturbing passages, like only requiring medical care and treatment for animals during their stray hold period. By contrast, CAARA provides very specific and detailed standards of care without the loopholes.

Amy Paulin has said that the bill establishes additional criteria for when an animal can be humanely euthanized as a last resort and tightens the exiting language.
The bill changes archaic and rarely invoked language to modern language for when animals may be killed as a first resort, negating the stray hold period, using language very similar (“psychological pain”) to that frequently cited by high-kill groups like PETA to justify the killing of stray cats and scared dogs. It replaces archaic language with a justification in the language that people who wish to exterminate feral cats already speak fluently and refer to often.

Finally, the ASPCA says that CAARA cannot pass because it contains “unfunded mandates”, which is when a bill requires expenditures without providing a source to fund them. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what they’re talking about – I see no massive expenditures attached to CAARA and when questioned they can never produce the requirements that are so terribly expensive. Not only does CAARA codify what most animal lovers believe to be common sense, it will undoubtedly lead to savings because cooperating fully with rescue groups means that animals spend less time in the shelter and transfer to rescue is far cheaper than killing. There simply are no huge expenditures involved in CAARA and they have yet to name any.

These are the main talking points I expect them to cover – but you can find an even more exhaustive comparison between CAARA and the Quick Kill Bill here. I highly recommend that anyone interested read the complete text of the Quick Kill Bill and of CAARA for themselves as well.

What can you do to help stop the Quick Kill Bill and support CAARA?
No matter where you live, participate in tomorrow’s online forum on Tue, Feb 28 at 1:30pm EST and be ready to refute their Quick Kill Bill talking points and express your opposition.
If you live in New York, PLEASE contact the sponsors of the bill and ask them to withdraw their sponsorship and support CAARA – and tell them why they should. We need more New Yorkers to do this – TODAY!
Finally, wherever you live, contact Assemblywoman Paulin on her facebook page and publicly register your opposition to the bill, and contact the Chairwoman of the Board of the ASPCA and ask her to get her organization out of the killing business and join us – and CAARA – in our efforts to save lives.

This entry was posted in ASPCA, Cats, Dogs, New York City, No Kill, NYCACC, Politics, Shelter Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Karen F

    FWIW, my read on Paulin’s intransigence is that she must be looking to expand her fundraising base to prepare for a future Congressional bid, and is banking on long-term support from the ASPCA, which has direct connections to NYC’s Old Money. Thus her insistence on going forward.

    The cynical view says this is a winning strategy for her. She’s getting an extraordinary amount of attention, and for a politician who wants visibility for a future career beyond her current office, there’s almost no such thing as bad publicity. She’s being repeatedly associated with a group that the general public thinks are the good guys. She repeats over and over that this is a reform bill.

    On the negative side, a senior member of her party (Lentol) has been forced to publicly rebuke her, and a peer (Kellner) is openly contemptuous of her.

    Nevertheless, I’m guessing Paulin is certain she will get this bill to the floor . . . in its current form. Otherwise I don’t think she would be pressing forward like this.

    I think it would take a large group of NY state rescue organizations, in their very best clothes, getting a group appointment with the news editor at the NYC bureau of the Associated Press, and a resulting story that would be picked up nationwide, to stop this. Because so far, unbelievably, the outcry doesn’t seem to have made a dent.

    • Karen F.: I agree. That sounds like a strategy that would work. I also wonder if there shouldn’t be one single umbrella group for all rescue organizations that are opposed to this bill — it seems so scattered. For example, if you want a group appointment with the AP, who is going to organize that (while I’m not for a moment saying it can’t be done; I just want it to be done)? There are individual bloggers; there are Facebook groups that are behind No Kill in New York City and State, there are rescue organizations that are also political.

      I think it’s frustrating not to have a coordinating center to this protest. I don’t want blogging and tweeting and liking to take the place of real action. For sure there are those doing more than just that — but I think Paulin is counting on a weak center.

      • OOps! I shouldn’t have included “blogging” in my list of things that don’t count as real action. The blogging on this issue has been superb — as good as it gets.

    • Donna Lentol

      Let me clarify that Assemblyman Lentol was not “forced” to rebuke her policy. He rebuked it because it is a very bad bill! The CAARA bill is a humane bill that protects the animals of NY state in city shelters. The “Quick Kill” bill does not hold ANY one responsible for the high kill rates in municipal shelters that are funded by taxpayers’ money. The people deserve to know where his/her money is going and not be misled into thinking that we have become a “NO KILL” state when in fact, the opposite has been happening. The public needs to be educated on the fact that a real NO KILL philosophy not only saves lives but saves money and assures that true animal welfare caretakers are hired to work in the bet interest of the animals. I ask you, “What would happen if your pet got lost? And wouldn’t you want a safe, reliable place for someone to turn your pet into so you could be reunited? ” Under the Quick Kill Bill, your and your pet’s time would be limited at the hands of (some) people who have no business being called “humane” workers.

      • Karen F

        I misstated, Donna . . . I meant only that, as a person of compassion and intelligence — and as someone who actually does know how animal shelters work — Assemblyman Lentol could not have gone along with the ASPCA bill. It was Amy Paulin’s insistence on promoting a bad bill, likely in return for promised ASPCA support for her present and future political ambitions, that put Assemblyman Lentol in that position. Shame on her, and kudos to him.

        • Donna Lentol

          Thanks Karen for clarifying. I think the real issue here is the lack of education for Ms. Paulin on the REAL issue of animal welfare. As one who has seen many shelters, I have known two types of workers in these places: 1) those who are just there for a paycheck and have not one ounce of humanity as animals regularly suffer in cages from lack of socialization that eventually causes physical and psychological abuse. AND 2) those who cry every day (both volunteers and workers) because they are so powerless as they try to aid and comfort the sick and neglected. There are even such selfless acts from some who cradle perfectly adoptable animals within the last few hours of its’ life so that it will have known some kindness before it’s life is needlessly ended. We need more of the latter workers and none of the former for our shelters to TRULY become humane. The CAARA bill will in part help by making shelters accountable for intakes. The “Quick Kill” just aids and abets the needless killing, therein lies the difference that Ms. Paulin is missing!

    • Karen F

      I should have added that it seems obvious Paulin will get nothing from the ASPCA unless she actually does get this bill through the Assembly. Trying doesn’t count and I’m sure she knows that. So she will likely do anything to force a vote.

  • I don’t think Amy Paulin has a fully understanding about how far reaching “her” bill is. The rejection of CAARA by all 4 parties involved speaks volumes. One has to wonder how much money has changed hands.

  • Terri Davison

    It is the mark of a great leader to be open to the possibility that he/she might be wrong or ill advised. Paulin has had ample opportunity to read and research the view of those who oppose her bill, and yet she will not even entertain the thought that she might have made a mistake on this one, instead digging her heels in like a stubborn child.

    A hold period is essential for the proper running of a shelter. Read the story of Target, who saved many soldiers lives in Afghanistan but was euthanized by “mistake” when he got out of a fenced backyard and was picked up by animal control. His soldier dad was not given the opportunity to claim him….a horrible disservice to both the soldier and the hero dog. http://www.takepart.com/photos/how-10-brave-dogs-earned-their-hero-stripes

    MOST dogs and even more cats are TERRIFIED when they enter the shelter…and rightly so. They should not be killed because they are afraid. The quick kill bill would almost certainly guarantee the immediate deaths of every “throw away mom” who enters the shelter…and these are the dogs who have been most ill-used by society already!

    The NYC ACC needs reform and it needs it now. They regularly kill young puppies and kittens. How hard is it to find homes for these young, healthy animals? It shouldn’t be but the ACC doesn’t even try. There are no large adoption events and festivals and advertising. Hell, they won’t even answer the phone!

    Shelter reform now…not more dead pets!!!

    • Bonnie Brumbalough Carlson

      It seems like all of the Michael Vicks don’t play football. If there were an ounce of compassion for the helpless animals who have no voice but would like the opportunity to live and be loved, then what’s the hurry of a few days or weeks before they’re murdered. Greed knows no bounds. I hope there is enough support to defeat this bill and these gullible women.

  • I am a licensed mental health counselor in the state of NY. I oppose this bill because I do not know of anyone qualified to assess psychological pain in dogs. I have 8 years of college education and had to be licensed to assess psychological pain in people. The same requirements should hold true for those assessing psychological pain in animals. I know of no profession in NYS or elsewhere where one is qualified to assess psychological pain in animals. Veterinarians do not even hold the training or credentials to perform such an assessment. This bill is flawed for this single reason. I do NOT support it’s passage.” – Lisa Taylor-Austin, NCC, LPC, LMHC, CFMHE, LLC

  • The biggest obstacle to getting groups to come together to fight this legislation is that most of the rescues who will suffer the greatest hardship are afraid to take a position against the ASPCA, the Mayor’s Alliance and the NYC ACC. Those three groups control the New Hope partners with the unspoken threat that groups could lose their ability to rescue animals from NYC ACC and sought after resources from the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA.

    It is no accident that the Paulin Quick Kill Bill gives the shelters the right to work with the rescues of which they approve. This gives them much sought after control and they rule with an iron fist. Animals have been killed at NYC ACC as retribution to rescues who are outspoken and/or critical.

    • Camille, while that is true, it seems like a very small obstacle to derail something as important as grassroots organization. Take the small matter of a mayoral election next year. One candidate has laid out a plan for improving NY animal control system in a way that could be called progressive. If there were one umbrella group for the No Kill-Anti Quick Kill Bill movement, wouldn’t it be easier to throw unequivocal support behind this candidate and get grassroots support early on in Scott Stringer’s campaign? Isn’t this the best chance for getting real change at NY ACC? I don’t think the fact that the rescue organizations are fearful (justifiably!) should derail a cohesive plan of action.

      Also, isn’t there plenty of objection to this bill that isn’t coming from rescue groups who work with the Mayor’s Alliance?

      • Suzy A.

        I agree with you totally. The fear of reprisals may keep some groups from stepping up; but, not all of them. And yes, there are a few groups that are active on a political level that don’t have ties to the NYC ACC, Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA. No Kill New York is a perfect example.

        This issue is so important to the welfare of the animals of New York State that I believe that once the rescue groups see a coalition forming and gaining traction, that they will join in.

        We are lucky to have several groups (SRAC, No Kill New York, SOS and others) and some really outstanding individual activists, like John Sibley (kudos, John!) and Harris Bloom just to name two, already engaged in this battle. Now it is time to marshal our forces and bring everyone together for the common goal of taking Paulin’s Quick Kill Bill off the table and moving forward with CAARA. I am confident that we will have a positive outcome.

  • Suzan

    Is Amy Paulin with PETA? Enough said.

  • Ann Cefola

    I want to salute John Sibley for this fantastic site and the way he has kept us all updated. I share Suzy A’s frustration about not having one coordinating center here in New York to create a strategy to optimize and mobilize our opposition. I am especially outraged because Amy Paulin called me at home last week and I urged her to walk away from the bill. While she heard me, she obviously was just humoring me–now that she has all these public relations events in place, I see there is a grand plan. We have to rise to meet it.

    • Jane Palma

      Amy Paulin called me at home too. I was not home to take the call so she left a message for me to call her back. I did call her back the next day and she was out of her office. She then called me back on Monday and again I missed her call. I do agree that she is just trying to humor us and make us think that she has a heart. Just remember this come November when she needs all of our votes.

      • Ann

        Thank you for sharing that. I know she was reaching out to a lot of constituents to “explain the bill.” I didn’t let her do that.

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  • Catherine

    Well, you know what? Lets apply Amy’s “standards” to her! The moment she displays any sign what-so-ever of psychological pain (be it from a traffic ticket to a horror movie, to looking in her mirror) she should be quickly killed. Viola!! End of problem!

  • Lori Bolt

    This needs to be made easy….. Give me a petition to sign!

  • Ann Cefola

    Does anyone know how to create an online petition? We need a savvy strategist. Does anyone know some uber-political person who could help us organize? We could start with a petition for NY residents and also create a PDF brochure.

  • Karen F

    I think there needs to be a way to discuss opposition strategy that’s not in public. John . . . I believe you can see my email address, but unfortunately I’m not able to find yours. Would you be able to email me so I can respond privately? I have a thought I’d like to share. Thanks.

  • Just as a point of information, No Kill New York has a Facebook page with just under 4,500 readers (http://www.facebook.com/NoKill.NY) and we also have a page for the Oreo’s Law Task Force, that has just under 8,500 readers. It was named Save Lives – Pass Oreo’s Law, before the name of the bill was changed to CAARA. The page has a large enough following that Facebook will not allow us to change the name. This page is dedicated primarily to the passage of CAARA.

    http://www.facebook.com/SaveLives.PassOreosLaw

  • Anggela A

    Please sign this petition, there is also going to be a rally May 12th, send me a message if you want more information.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/948/185/410/

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  • anne davis

    Karen F. says “I think it would take a large group of NY state rescue organizations, in their very best clothes, getting a group appointment with the news editor at the NYC bureau of the Associated Press, and a resulting story that would be picked up nationwide, to stop this. Because so far, unbelievably, the outcry doesn’t seem to have made a dent.”

    I couldn’t agree more! I have long believed that an umbrella group should be put in place to represent rescue groups and those of us who fight against such terrible legislation. On the day the City Council voted and passed Bill 0655 there were three there, including myself, who opposed the bill and talked to as many council people as we could before the vote took place. There were also many there from the ASPCA, The Mayor’s Alliance, Bide-a-Wee, etc… who were also canvassing the room. Strength in numbers will always win the fight.

    Without someone put in place to oversee these issues and organize press appearances, lobbying and other events that get the attention needed to stop these bills from passing we will never have the heft and weight to get anywhere.

  • LISA TREMBACK

    This is what happens when an accountant or politician takes over life and death matters. Life is not a monetary amt. given, it is not a political issue, it is in the hearts and minds of the people and should be given every opportunity to let these animals survive as we would for our fellow humans.
    This appears to have the Nazi idea that only the fit and healthy, happy and beautiful should survive, and then none.

    Take care people, we must maintain a position that all humanity is part of the world of animals and thus they prove are humane we really are.

  • Rene

    Her office is sending out press releases running on local websites all over the district. Here is an article in today’s Bronxville website http://www.myhometownbronxville.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4142:amy-paulin-animal-shelter-law-marker&catid=5:bronxville-govt-hist&Itemid=5
    I am restricted from commenting on this site (I ran against Amy), but if the general public comments…like you good folks….it will show the other side to this horrific story. Our dog, who has been in our family for over ten years, was a rescue… It is troubling to see a politician undermine and compromise the work done in shelters for the sake of furthering their career. Hope some of you will post your insightful views and comments to the article.

    • It’s hard to imagine how this could further a political career. Personally it sounds more like political suicide. Ahh but then it IS New York and I swear they are just so out of touch. Makes me VERY glad I moved from that place…. although my house was a delight….

  • Rene

    After speaking with Greg Ball’s office, I did post the following, and hope you also post to the article. http://myhometownbronxville.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4142:amy-paulin-animal-shelter-law-marker&catid=5:bronxville-govt-hist&Itemid=5
    My post:
    “This press release is factually false. This bill DOES NOT have Senate support, precisely because it is so poorly written. The ‘Quick Kill’ aspect is causing a furor, hence Ms Paulin’s new nickname in the animal lover’s world, Amy ‘Quick Kill’ Paulin. I was unaware until my old website was bombarded with emails regrading this. Sen Ball WITHDREW his support precisely because the enacting clause would allow shelters to euthanize animals upon arrival; no attempts made to search or contact the owner.  It is most troubling that a LAWMAKER with so many years of so-called experience can write law so poorly that it could have such negative effects, whether they be unintentional or not.  We must abide by the laws these people write; our pets may die by this particular one…. And this is an ongoing pattern.  Most recently Paulin’s office offered up a ‘legislative solution’ to a property assessment issue affecting Bronxville- again, poorly written and NOT what her constituents were seeking.”

    The Journal News did run a very good letter today supporting our beloved animals.

  • Leslie Shatkin

    I just wrote thank you messages to all those who withdrew their support and left a facebook message to Amy Paulin that I’m sure is already removed. I could not get through to the ASPCA as it said comments were not available! I’m sure that is in response to all those contacting them in opposition to their bill! I also tweeted all this information. I will next write letters imploring the remaining sponsors to withdraw their support! Viva the CAARA revolution!