Reasons for Hope
For those of us who care about animals and are involved every day trying to protect them, the news can be so discouraging. Yet, in the large picture, there are some good trends and reasons for hope..
Lobby Day, an annual event co-sponsored by NYSHA with The Humane Society of the United States in March, was an unprecedented success. This year, almost 200 people from all over New York met with their legislators and have already seen success because of their efforts. In April, Senator Eric Adams organized a Roundtable to discuss a number of key issues of interest to animal advocates. I, along with NYSHA´s Legislation Committee Chair, Samantha Mullen, attended the event, which was co-facilitated by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.
April saw Earth Day: Animal Law Symposia, held at the University at Albany´s Law School, which promoted legal action in the humane field. In addition, Hudson Valley Community College’s Animal Law certificate program was approved, thanks in large part to the tireless work of our Board member, Valerie Lang, who teaches humane law courses at HVCC.
On a more day–to–day level, New York State now has laws providing more protection for animals in extreme weather. One enables police and humane agents to break into cars in very hot or cold conditions if necessary to rescue animals before they are seriously harmed. We have posted a link to this measure (Agriculture & Markets Law, Article 26, Section 353-d) on NYSHA´s website. Another law now requires dogs to have shelter when left outside (A & M Law, Article 26, Section 353-b). This indicates, along with other recent legislation, that we are moving in the right direction!
Also, passed last year were: Executive Law, Section 840, Section 1, Subdivision 1, requiring training in animal protection laws for municipal police and peace officers; and A & M Law, Article 26, Section 374, banning carbon monoxide chambers and making other humane provisions for euthanasia of shelter animals. Such legislative progress, while slow in coming, should be welcomed by all who are working on behalf of animals.
There is a LONG way to go, especially for cats, horses, farm animals, and wildlife. For right now, though, one thing each of us can do is educate others about the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars, where temperatures can reach fatal levels in minutes. Even air conditioners malfunction with tragic results. Be on the alert in parking lots and leave flyers in public places to warn pet parents it is better to leave a four-legged family member home in warm weather.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe summer.
As always, for the animals,
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXIV, No.1, Spring/Summer 2010.