BROOKLYN — Families together with animal rescue organizations raised an alarm this week when Assembly Bill A5449 was voted on and passed from the NYS Assembly Committee on Agriculture to the NYS Assembly Codes Committee.
The Codes Committee would be one of the last steps before the bill goes to the Assembly floor for a vote by all Assembly members.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Northern Brooklyn) is the chair of the Codes Committee.
The concern of the bill — referred to as the "Quick Kill" bill — is that it gives ASPCAs the opportunity to euthanize any animal that shelter workers determine to be in "psychological pain" — a term not defined in the legislation. The legislation also gives absolute power to the ASPCA to choose the rescue organizations it will work with.
Assemblyman Lentol seeks to prevent this bill from reaching the floor. The problems, he says, are simple.
"Animals act very differently when they are caged at a shelter than when they are safely in a good home. So what may seem like a psychological problem can disappear completely when an animal is rescued," he says. "And, essentially the ASPCA wants to choose who can come into their shelter and work with them — eliminating a very healthy and needed oversight function that is done [for free] by rescue groups."
Lentol plans to work with rescue organizations on legislation they believe will protect animals at the ASPCAs, improve conditions for rescued animals and ensure that rescue groups are properly prepared to help the animals they take in. Until a better bill is developed, he says, A5449 will not move from the Codes Committee.