Well, it’s certainly not on hold now, and she’s getting desperate. NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin sent out this letter a few days ago to members of the Assembly.
You may also download your own copy of the letter.
It’s pretty easy to lie to members of the public; most of them won’t take the time to go out and read the bill. It’s much harder to lie to legislators who potentially have the bill at their fingertips. Let’s subject some of the claims in this letter to the ol’ sniff test.
Sets out requirements for locating animal owners within twenty-four hours of the animal entering the shelter, including checking for microchips and posting information and photographs of stray animals on a website.
Analysis: Half True. The bill does require the checking of microchips but provides generous exemption from photography and internet posting if they do not find the provision “practicable”. Would you like to bet that many won’t?
Mandates that immediate veterinary care be provided to sick animals.
Analysis: Mostly True. The problem here is that the provision is far too broad, the phrase the bill uses is literally “necessary care”. Let me tell you, what New York City Animal Care and Control considers necessary care and what I consider necessary care are two vastly different things. This is a dangerously non-specific part of the bill and needs better definition to be at all useful.
Requires that shelters offer an animal to a rescue prior to euthanasia.
Analysis: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire. The bill very specifically says that animals MAY be placed with a rescue organization for adoption – not MUST. There’s really no nice way to say this; she is simply lying about the contents of her bill.
Establishes standards to make sure that the rescue organizations are responsible organizations.
Analysis: Mostly False. All judgement is done by the shelters themselves and the standards are not exactly objective – one of the extremely broad provisions is that shelter may bar rescues for “behavior that disrupts or interferes with the impounding organization’s lawful operations”. A much better way to phrase this is that her bill establishes the right of shelters to keep rescues out as they please for any reason they see fit without any sort of objective measurement, standard or appeal.
This bill does not “strengthen the protection for animals and their owners” – it codifies in law the rights of shelters to act as they damn well please in exchange for a few weak and poorly defined provisions regarding medical care and checking for chips. Not good enough.
And again we get the tired and untrue old hoarding argument. Yawn. Hoarders don’t need shelters to have access to animals, and using the scare tactic of saying that animals MIGHT be hoarded in order to DEFINITELY kill them is intellectually dishonest, to say the least.
Finally, there’s something I need to explain to Amy “Quick Kill” Paulin, something I don’t believe she’s ever understood – and why should she? As she says, she’s an animal lover and legislator but she obviously doesn’t know much about shelters or sheltering.
Amy Paulin’s original bill amended New York Law, which right now says that animals may be euthanized without a holding period if they are judged to be “unfit for any useful purpose”. That’s a very bad clause to be sure, but one of the reasons people aren’t too up in arms about it is that the language is dated and unclear and it seems to be rather rarely invoked – indeed, I do not know of a shelter in New York State using that clause to kill animals before their holding period is up. Assemblywoman Paulin sought to replace that with a provision that animals could be executed prior to their hold period being up for “psychological pain”, modern language that should be very familiar to anyone who has come across people who want to exterminate feral cats. It’s one of their standard arguments, that feral cats are suffering by their very nature and need to be put out of their misery. Not being overly familiar with shelters in New York, it probably looked good to the Assemblywoman when the folks who actually wrote the bill (the ASPCA, the Mayor’s Alliance, and Laura Allen) put it in front of her, because she didn’t know any better. Assemblywoman, you got punked. They tried to use your inexperience for their own gain, and you replaced a vague standard with a dangerous standard. Don’t double down on that mistake – because to people who do know shelter operations, you look kinda foolish.
Thanks for pointing out to everyone that there’s a better bill out there, though. Appreciate that.