For Release: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Albany, NY – Senator Kathy Marchione (R,C,I,Reform-Halfmoon), Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, today hailed the State Senate’s unanimous passage of her legislation that would speed-up the adoption of healthy stray or abandoned cats. Senator Marchione’s common sense, bi-partisan legislation passed during today’s Senate Session by a unanimous vote of 60-0, coinciding with the Senate’s annual observance of “Animal Advocacy Day.”
Senator Marchione’s legislation, Senate Bill S.177B, would amend the State’s Agricultural and Markets Law to reduce the holding time for the adoption of healthy stray cats whose owners are not known, by way of collar identification, tag or other method, to three days. The legislation does not shorten the five-day requirement for euthanasia.
Currently, state law specifies that any pound under contract with a municipality, or duly incorporated Humane Society, may, after five days, put the cat up for adoption or humanely destroy the animal. In New York City, the hold time is 72 hours. Senator Marchione’s legislation addresses concerns from animal shelter administrators who have found that longer mandatory holding times do not serve cats’ best interests. In fact, longer mandated holding times are stressful for cats and negatively affect their health and well-being, as there is a high risk of contagious diseases such as respiratory infections and ringworm.
In addition, owners reclaim only four to five percent of the cats that come into New York shelters and reclamation typically occurs within 48 hours. Nearly 90 percent of the stray or owner-surrendered cats brought into shelters are adopted. The cost of caring for these cats is high, as the average length of shelter stay for such cats is 32 days for cats less than one-year-old, and 124 days for those over one-year-old. At a cost of $10 per day, per cat, the expense to 90 sheltering organizations across the state is nearly $19.4 million annually. The goal of Senator Marchione’s legislation is to get such cats adopted and into a loving home much more quickly.
Senator Marchione’s legislation would effectively expedite the adoption of healthy stray and owner-surrendered cats brought into the animal shelters. Rather than five days of mandatory holding time, shortening the time to three days would still give owners time to reclaim their cat if they so desire.
“Speeding up the adoption of healthy stray cats will help connect them with potential owners and a loving home, as well as reducing costs for shelters, all of which are positive outcomes. I was proud to sponsor this legislation that was sought by some of New York’s leading animal welfare organizations,” Senator Marchione said.
The New York State Animal Protection Federation, the voice of New York’s humane societies, SPCAs, non-profit and municipal animal shelters, as well as animal welfare organizations that focus on homeless animals, requested the legislation sponsored by Senator Marchione. Alley Cat Allies and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society also supported passage of Senator Marchione’s legislation.
The Assembly companion measure for Senate Bill S.177B is Assembly Bill A.6123A, sponsored by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam). The Assembly version was last amended and recommitted to the Assembly's Agriculture Committee.