Assemblymember Amy Paulin On The Shelter Access Bill

PAULIN.jpg
Amy Paulin
In response to longtime concerns over how shelters and rescues treat animals, Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) has sponsored the Shelter Access Bill.

The proposed legislation has been in the works for several years. After intense debate -- including outcry from some "no-kill" animal rights and welfare groups -- a revamped version recently got the OK from the Assembly's agriculture committee, and will soon go before the codes committee. If it succeeds there, the bill will go before the entire Assembly.

Though key elements of the revisited measure seem pretty straightforward -- one of the requirements is that shelters would have to reach out to stray animals' owners, for example -- it continues to generate controversy.

One organization, the Shelter Reform Action Committee, has called it "defective" and says it will lead to more euthanasia in a statement released last night. They back a bill introduced by Assemblymember Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) instead. (Runnin' Scared reached out to him and will update when we hear back.)

These groups say that the bill would allow for animals to be killed instantly if they showed evidence of "psychological pain." But Paulin says that this element has been removed from the new version.

Runnin' Scared caught up with Paulin to talk about the proposed law.

Runnin' Scared: You have sponsored a lot of legislation dealing with animal welfare. What prompted this particular measure?

Amy Paulin: I have done many, many bills on animal welfare. So when animal rights groups come to me with concerns, I usually try to work with them to address them. This has been an example of concerns raised by the Animal Law Center, the ASPCA, the New York City Bar, and Best friends about the relationship among shelters and rescues -- and the need for some shelter reform and shelter access. So we started to put a bill together working with Assembly staff both in the agriculture committee and in the codes committee and with the advocate groups. So we came up with the first version. We have an amended bill that we filed last week.

Runnin' Scared: What are some of the amendments?

Paulin: It's always a negotiation of ideas. Some of the elements in the bill reflected those negotiations.There was a concern that we needed to have in the law a provision that required shelters to take advantage of the identification on strays -- dogs and cats' collars, tags, electronic chips, as to reunite the owner with the stray. So we put in the law the requirement that a shelter must, within 24 hours, post the identifying information and a photo of the animal on a website so it is easy for an owner to find their lost pet. The law also extends the holding period if the owner is found. At first, the holding period would be from the time of posting. Now, it would be extended even further if the owner was found.

Runnin' Scared: What is a holding period?

Paulin: In the current law, a shelter is allowed to euthanize an animal after five days. Not that many shelters do that, but if they're very overcrowded they might. We knew we needed to require shelters to try to reunite the owner with the stray by posting information online.

Runnin' Scared: What is another component of the law?

Paulin: The second thing was the need for prompt or immediate veterinary care if the animal was hurt or sick, so we put in the law a provision that allows shelters to promptly attend to those needs and get immediate veterinary care. And the third provision required the shelter to offer the animal to a rescue prior to euthanasia.

Runnin' Scared: Why this provision?

Paulin: Say there was a hoarder and they came in with100 dogs, many of which could be diseased and problematic to some of the animals in the shelters. Under the third provision, they must offer that animal to a rescue prior to euthanasia.

Runnin' Scared: So what about the "kill" portion of the bill?

Paulin: We omitted this last provision. The current definition in the law is that the animal can be euthanized if it is unfit for any purpose. But when we tried to fix this definition, the truth was that it became very controversial with how to word it. Though 'unfit for any purpose' is too vague and doesn't mean anything, clearly people thought the proposed change needed work, so I withdrew that part of the bill. We're now floating out the three ideas I mentioned to see what kind of reaction it gets.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

My Voice Nation Help
25 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Judy
Judy

Nathan Winograd shared a link.about an hour agoNew Yorkers have sent 20,183 emails to Assembly Member Bill Magee and other members of the Agriculture Committee in support of the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act. CAARA would make it illegal to kill animals when a qualified rescue group is willing to save them. In addition, it sets meaningful standards to ensure quality of care in shelters. Unfortunately, Bill Magee is digging in his heels and urging the Committee to kill the bill, condemning 25,000 animals a year to certain death. Today, the first of three ads appears in a newspaper in his district educating his constituents that Magee stands between life and death and is choosing death. He is up for reelection this year. If--and ONLY--if you are from New York State, please contact Bill Magee and ask him to pass CAARA:Email: MageeW@assembly.state.ny.usTelephone: (607) 432-1484Protect NY Pets | Bill Mageewww.protectnypets.orgOne person has the power to save the lives of tens of thousands of dogs and cats in New York animal shelters every year at no cost to taxpayers. Right now, the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act (A07312) is sitting before the NYS Assembly Agriculture Committee chaired by Assemblyman Bill Magee. Hi...7Unlike ·  · ShareAlbany, NY 12248518-455-4807

Debara Mathews
Debara Mathews

NO KILL MOVEMENT WORKS EVERY WHERE!!! Small cities, large cities, rich areas and poor areas too. Listen to Nathan Winograd, give shelter pets a chance!! We have made it work in Manatee county Florida, the first county and we are doing so well other counties are following. What your doing is not working so why not give what is working a chance. IT IS BROKEN SO FIX IT!!  NO KILL WORKS and NO INCREASE OF MONEY TO THE COUNTY

Carrie Brandstrom
Carrie Brandstrom like.author.displayName 1 Like

You should be ashamed of yourself Quick Kill Paulin. There is simply NO excuse for this bill. It is atrocious and we will hold you accountable.You will never live this down. For any of you who don't know...here is the real deal with this horrible bill. http://www.nathanwinograd.com/...

Eric Werner
Eric Werner

What's next? An interview with Santorum where his views on women are presented as fact? 'Paulin says that this element has been removed from the new version.' Did you bother to check the language in the latest version or are you just presenting Quick Kill Paulin's attempt to save face? I'm done with the VV.

Jmtobin
Jmtobin

Can you please respond to this statement on the key differences of your bill vs. CAARA?: (from http://blogs.villagevoice.com/... Kellner: There are a couple big keys. Number 1: mine is a "shall" bill as opposed to a "may" bill. There are no mandates in her bill. it says throughout her bill "wherever possible" which basically means "if you feel like it."

Judystarr
Judystarr like.author.displayName 1 Like

Adorable Animals in TroubleAssemblymember Micah Kellner on The Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act (UPDATE)By Victoria Bekiempis Wed., Mar. 21 2012 at 1:25 PMComments (13) Categories: Adorable Animals in Trouble, Animal Use and Abuse, Animals,Victoria Bekiempis

Micah Kellner​Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) isn't the only assemblymember sponsoring an animal shelter bill in Albany.Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) is pushing a rival piece of legislation, which he says would do a better job of protecting stray cats and dogs.Kellner's Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act would require that shelters work with qualified rescue groups -- and he says that it provides greater protections for whistleblowers, many of whom feel worried about coming forward with accusations of abuse or neglect.Kellner's proposed legislation does not have the backing of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but has been vehemently boosted by no kill groups nationwide.Paulin has countered that Kellner's measure has technical problems."It doesn't take into account hoarders, overcrowing and unsanitary facilities, and overwhelmed rescue," she said. "It requires the shelter to give that animal over to a facility that they may or may not harm that animal. It doesn't seem to me that's in the best interest of the animal's health and well being, so there needs to be an accounting for those kinds of conditions to best protect animals against cruelty and neglect."Runnin' Scared caught up with Kellner to chat about his initiative.Runnin' Scared: What's the history of this bill?Micah Kellner: Well actually just to be clear, we introduced CAARA first, a year before Amy Paulin introduced her bill. The ASPCA drafted her bill in response to my bill.Runnin' Scared: How are the bills different?Kellner: The act basically seeks to, for the first time, which is set minimum standards both for shelters and rescue groups. The first thing the bill says are that shelters have to do everything possible to take care of an animal and find it a home before they decide to put it down. So this includes: water, food, walking dogs, checking for microchips, doing lost animal checks as well as if two cats can share a cage together instead of putting them down, and if two dogs can share a pen.Runnin' Scared: How does this bill affect the relationship between shelters and animal rescue groups?Kellner: It requires them to work with qualified rescue groups. We set standards for rescue groups that are able to pull animals from the euthanasia list for shelters. Under our law, it has to prove that it can do its job. They have to be a 501 C3. And no member of that group -- board member or staff member or volunteer -- can have been convicted of animal cruelty or charged with animal cruelty. If they don't think that they can take care of that animal, the shelter has to have an inspection. The whole goal of our bill is not only to save animals' lives, but also set these minimal standards.Runnin' Scared: Anything else?Kellner: In an indirect way, this also creates whistleblower provisions. Under the law right now, the shelter has all the power -- so if you volunteer or work at a rescue group and speak out against, say, bad practices at a shelter or say that they are not walking dogs or if dogs are just sitting in their feces, you can be banned from these organizations.But the big point about my bill is that these aren't suggestions, so it sets these minimum standards for both rescue groups and shelters to work together and make sure that as many animals as possible are saved.Runnin' Scared: So if you had to sum up the differences, how would you do so?Kellner: There are a couple big keys. Number 1: mine is a "shall" bill as opposed to a "may" bill. There are no mandates in her bill. it says throughout her bill "wherever possible" which basically means "if you feel like it." So basicallly a shelter can work with rescue groups if they want to...The other thing that my bill does that her bill doesn't do is that it has protections for feral cat colonies. A lot of supporters do trap-and-release, and my bill would make sure that groups that do so are protected. There are no protections for feral cat colonies and people who do T-and-R in her bill, and that's why I have groups like Alley Cat Allies supporting our position.Runnin' Scared: How will the conflict between the two bills get resolved?Kellner: I think that [Paulin and I] are going to put together a series of mandates for shelters and resuce groups to make sure that we have the best possible outcome for New York State shelter animals....That's the big thing -- how are we going to do shelter reform? Are we going to follow the same prescription that we have for the last 100 years and let animals continue to die, or are we going to set new standards that keep more animals alive?UPDATE: Kellner just contacted Runnin' Scared and took issue with Paulin's statements. Here's the assemblyman's comment below:"She said that my bill doens't protect against hoarders -- my bill does protect against all those things because rescue groups have to submit to inspections. My bill actuallly does protect against all the things that Amy Paulin said it doesn't. She clearly doesn't know how to read, because of the inspection clause in my bill there's many levels of inspections. If a shelter suspects that a rescue group is hoarding, they can ask for inspection. All they have to do is say 'we're not going to kill this animal, we're going to adopt it out to somebody else.' My bill only applies to animals on their euthanasia list. There are lots of protections in my bill.When Amy amended her bill, she took a lot of the protections out. It's a pretty high level of standard in my bill, so for her to say that my bill doesn't protect against it, it's disingenous and factually incorrect, and she doesn't even realize that when she amended her bill, she took out the protections."

Judystarr
Judystarr like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is Amy Paulin's other FB page .Assemblywoman "Quick Kill" Amy Paulin on Facebook !I'm hoping that the animal lovers in her community will join & give their opinion since any opposing ideals on her page are being delelted by her hands .Or her puppeteer .

Judystarr
Judystarr

Amy you're running really scared aren't you?Here's Micah Kellner's interview on Shelter Reform for NYS  .I feel really sorry that block others that have more insight then you do to ANIMAL Welfare  !http://blogs.villagevoice.com/...Thank ~You Amy not only are you an embarrassment for my hometown BKLYN  but for my Jewish Race too !!!!

Judystarr
Judystarr

Ms.Paulin ~~~Can't deal with opposition at all.She keeps deleted Micah Kellner's Village Voice interview on Caara his exceptional Animal Shelter BILL !I guess I'm going to have to post it here ~you're a really bad excuse for being one to care for Citizens concerns. SHANDAH  Amy !!!

Judystarr
Judystarr

She keeps deleting Micah Kellner's Village Voice interview on CAARA his Bill for NYS Shelter Animals on her facebook page !The bill for HIGH standards for our homeless critters ! Because, she knows the revised QUICK KILL BILL which the ASPCA & other ghost writers wrote for her is obviously a big disaster that cannot be repaired  !!!

Judystarr
Judystarr

This is the reply I wrote on Assemblyman Micah Kellner's interview in the Village Voice about Shelter Reform in NYS .

Dear Assemblyman Micah Kellner ,Much gratitude for taking your extremely busy schedule in Albany &  doing this interview for the Village Voice for our beloved Shelter Animals  !Caara your bill if passed will over ride Amy Paulin's "QUICK KILL BILL " that the ASPCA wrote for her plus the hands of many others as well .Their interests in taking care of Shelter Animals is a real HOAX !The Quick Kill Bill ~ Amy Paulin's Bill is riddled with holes like a slice of Swiss Cheese.Caara on the other hand is strong & has no hidden agendas !!!It with save animals 10 fold & start on a new road to make NYS a No~Kill~ State !Other states will take our lead than to make us a No ~Kill ~Nation !!!Thank ~ You with all my heart !Sincerely , Judy Ilene Starr 

Dorian12
Dorian12 like.author.displayName 1 Like

This bill was written by the ASPCA and two political allies specifically to PREVENT passage of the true shelter reform bill, Kellner's Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act (CAARA), which was introduced first. That's why it's called a stealth bill. It is actually a shelter non-access bill.

The ASPCA-Paulin bill deliberately makes it merely optional for shelters to allow rescues to save animals the shelters intend to kill. Paulin is lying when she claims otherwise in this interview. The ASCPA-Paulin bill also allows shelters to kill owner-surrendered animals immediately. It does not require shelters to list lost pets online. It does not say what medical care animals must receive.

All these issues are clearly addressed by CAARA, which requires shelters to allow rescues to save animals the shelters intend to kill -- including owner surrenders -- requires shelters to list lost pets online, and spells out what "medical care" actually means.

Shelters kill 50 percent of the animals who enter. There is now a nationwide movement to reform these facilities, and expectations are rising rapidly. That is why CAARA was introduced.

But the ASPCA is fighting shelter reform. This organization, which enjoys widespread brand credibility and is hugely wealthy, is historically aligned with the kill shelters. After the death of their great founder Henry Bergh, they reversed course and accepted the animal control contract for New York City. They killed animals for a hundred years, and only gave it up when killing became too much of a PR problem for them. Even today, they staunchly insist that shelters should retain the power to kill. They also know that the shelter reform movement will shift donations away from rich groups like them and toward the rescue community, which is doing the practical work of saving animals and finding homes for them.

The ASPCA-Paulin bill shows what happens when a killing-oriented organization is allowed to write legislation that affects animals.

Unfortunately, by publishing Paulin's claims and failing to explore the ugly history of this bill, you are helping them.

felixthecat
felixthecat

http://www.peta.org/action/act...

NOT ALL RESCUES ARE GOOD. 

After receiving evidence from PETA's six-month undercover investigation at Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary, Judge Bradley Mayers ordered the removal of all animals from the facility. Roughly 240 cats and an arthritic dog were seized from Elizabeth Owen by order of a Horry County judge. But after Owen's attorney told the judge that 30 cats and the dog were Owen's "personal pets," the judge agreed to have those unfortunate animals returned to Owen's custody. Roughly half the cats who were seized were put out of their misery because of conditions such as anal maggots, herpes, ringworm, tumors, seizures, multiple abdominal abscesses, cracked and bloody paw pads, severe gum disease and missing teeth, and more—all things that cause pain and discomfort and none of which happen overnight. These cats had long been languishing with no quality of life. For them, death was release from a bad life of confinement, stress, and pain.

http://www.peta.org/b/thepetaf...

felixthecat
felixthecat

I thank Assemblywoman Paulin for meeting with Animal Law Center, the ASPCA, the New York City Bar, and Best friends.  She is a compassionate person.

John Sibley
John Sibley like.author.displayName 1 Like

Except that she didn't actually meet with Best Friends. That's one of the lies there. They approached her; she refused to talk to them.

Judystarr
Judystarr

I believe that Best Friends is supporting CAARA !

John Sibley
John Sibley like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's a shame Ms. Paulin has just been allowed here to spout her position as fact - let me make a response to some of her claims. She has indeed removed the "psychological pain" provision from the new amendment of the bill, and for good reason.

There is existing, antiquated language in the statute about being able to bypass the state mandated hold period for stray animals when an animal is "unfit for any useful purpose". This outdated language is generally ignored and I do not know of a single shelter that has ever sought to bypass a hold period under this clause. Amy Paulin sought to change the language to allow animals to be killed prior to the hold period being up for "psychological pain". This is modern language and it is specifically the language of people who seek to exterminate feral cats; it is a common justification for their wholesale slaughter by groups like PETA. It is very dangerous language and it shows that although Asw. Paulin may have passed some bills written for her by animal special interests, she has little understanding of shelter issues.

The currently amended bill is also very dangerous. It applies only to stays, not owner turn ins. It attempts to set some basic standards for treatment but it is extremely sloppily drafted - one of the sections dealing with cats and other animals has a typo in it which means that under Ms. Paulin's bill only dogs would be entitled to food, water, and shelter. This is the bill she's worked for years on.

This bill was written for her by some of the people who "shared their concerns" - Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition (a coalition of one), the ASPCA, and Jane Hoffman of the Mayor's Alliance. (Note: Best Friends was NOT consulted about this bill and did NOT help draft it.) These three groups have been trying to stop actual animal reform - the kind that might force the notoriously abusive New York City Animal Care and Control to change their ways - for years because they have a financial interest in business as usual there.

Ms. Paulin also misrepresents the contents of the new amendment - she says it requires a picture of lost dogs to be posted on the internet, but in fact the bill contains a broad loophole so that shelters may opt out of that clause. They do not have to put ANY information about lost animals on the internet if they don't want to.

The newly amended law has veterinary care requirements so broad and nonspecific they will be ignored. They are window dressing, nothing more. They literally say that animals must receive "necessary medical care". Well, what I consider necessary and what NYCACC considers necessary are obviously two very different things. This section needs to be a LOT more specific if it is to be in any way meaningful.

Finally, Ms. Paulin continues to misrepresent that this bill requires that animals who would otherwise be killed be offered to rescue. It does NOT. It codifies in law that offering access to rescue is an OPTION by stating that shelters MAY offer animals to rescue, not MUST. Killing is also an option. 

heresyourcopy
heresyourcopy

the problem with this bill is it allows shelters to ignore much of it completely. most of the stipulations in the bill are phrased conditionally, ie if the shelter finds it 'practicable' to execute. so even the stuff in the bill that could be good for animals will be blithely omitted in practice. given the quality of the staff and conditions of most municpial shelters in NY, you don't have to be Kreskin to see the outcome: shelters won't do anything that requires extra effort and Paulin and her cohorts get to say they've struck a blow for animal welfare. the horrible status quo is maintained by this bill, and if it passes it will be much harder for later, better legislation to pass (such as Micah Kellner's CAARA bill).

Suzy
Suzy

There are very good reasons this bill has been called a stealth bill.  Amy Paulin seems to be unclear on what exactly is in her Quick Kill Bill, and that is what is so dangerous to animals who already face the longest of odds in New York Animal Care and Control's shelters.  Why does Paulin refuse to meet with established rescue organizations and stakeholders to have a dialogue about this bill or to work with them in any way?

And I must comment on this quote: "We put in the law a provision that allows shelters to promptly attend to those needs and get immediate veterinary care."  Does simply allowing a shelter to give an animal prompt vet care mean they will get it?  It doesn't, and they won't.  Spend ten minutes in the Manhattan or Brooklyn NYACC shelters and you'll understand why shelters with veterinarians on staff still carry out dead dogs, found lying in their cages in their own vomit.  What exactly changes under Paulin's toothless Quick Kill Bill?

John Sibley
John Sibley

It's a shame Ms. Paulin has just been allowed here to spout her position as fact - let me make a response to some of her claims. She has indeed removed the "psychological pain" provision from the new amendment of the bill, and for good reason.

There is existing, antiquated language in the statute about being able to bypass the state mandated hold period for stray animals when an animal is "unfit for any useful purpose". This outdated language is generally ignored and I do not know of a single shelter that has ever sought to bypass a hold period under this clause. Amy Paulin sought to change the language to allow animals to be killed prior to the hold period being up for "psychological pain". This is modern language and it is specifically the language of people who seek to exterminate feral cats; it is a common justification for their wholesale slaughter by groups like PETA. It is very dangerous language and it shows that although Asw. Paulin may have passed some bills written for her by animal special interests, she has little understanding of shelter issues.The currently amended bill is also very dangerous. It applies only to stays, not owner turn ins. It attempts to set some basic standards for treatment but it is extremely sloppily drafted - one of the sections dealing with cats and other animals has a typo in it which means that under Ms. Paulin's bill only dogs would be entitled to food, water, and shelter. This is the bill she's worked for years on.This bill was written for her by some of the people who "shared their concerns" - Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition (a coalition of one), the ASPCA, and Jane Hoffman of the Mayor's Alliance AND, conveniently, the New York City Bar Animal Law Conference. (Note: Best Friends was NOT consulted about this bill and did NOT help draft it.) These three groups have been trying to stop actual animal reform - the kind that might force the notoriously abusive New York City Animal Care and Control to change their ways - for years because they have a financial interest in business as usual there.

Ms. Paulin also misrepresents the contents of the new amendment - she says it requires a picture of lost dogs to be posted on the internet, but in fact the bill contains a broad loophole so that shelters may opt out of that clause. They do not have to put ANY information about lost animals on the internet if they don't want to.

The newly amended law has veterinary care requirements so broad and nonspecific they will be ignored. They are window dressing, nothing more. They literally say that animals must receive "necessary medical care". Well, what I consider necessary and what NYCACC considers necessary are obviously two very different things. This section needs to be a LOT more specific if it is to be in any way meaningful.

Finally, Ms. Paulin continues to misrepresent that this bill requires that animals who would otherwise be killed be offered to rescue. It does NOT. It codifies in law that offering access to rescue is an OPTION by stating that shelters MAY offer animals to rescue, not MUST. Killing is also an option. 

For more reading:http://johnsibley.com/2012/03/...http://johnsibley.com/2012/03/...

Julie Hex
Julie Hex

hahaha. I totoally thought this was gonna be about humans. 

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...