Houston shelters kill roughly 80,000 animals a year. San Antonio, Dallas, and other shelters kill tens of thousands as well. But that number will soon plummet if legislation introduced into the Texas Legislature becomes law. The Texas Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), H.B. 3450 introduced by Representative Jessica Farrar, would require shelters to follow practices that allowed communities like Austin, Texas to save 92% of all dogs and cats last month.
Similar laws have been passed elsewhere including California, where it was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (96 to 12) and signed into law by the then-state’s Republican governor. In Delaware, it passed both houses of the legislature unanimously. And parts of it are in place in Austin, Texas, where the City Council voted 7-0 in favor.
CAPA mandates policies and procedures which not only helped Austin end the killing of savable animals, but that have created No Kill communities nationwide including Reno, Nevada, Shelby County, Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan, Tompkins County, New York, and elsewhere.
If passed, CAPA would:
Texas CAPA is based on model legislation written by the No Kill Advocacy Center.
If history is any guide, CAPA will face opposition from shelters who do not want to be regulated, and the large, national organizations which defend those shelters.
We need your help to pass this law. Texas CAPA was recently sent to the Public Health committee for consideration. The members of the Public Health committee need to know that you support this bill.
Please telephone, send a letter, e-mail each committee member to express your support for the H.B. 3450 aka the Companion Animal Protection Act.
We have created a sample letter for you to use. Please personalize your letters before mailing or faxing.
Click here for contact information for Public Health committee members.
If you can’t send a letter, please sign our petition. When you sign the petition, it will send an email to each committee member. There is a space to write your own comments. Please do personalize your email.
Please also contact committee members through their Facebook and Twitter pages asking them to support this bill. Click here for links.
Talking points FOR HB 3450
CAPA saves the lives of animals
A 2010 statewide survey of rescue groups in New York State found that 71% of non-profit animal welfare groups have had at least one NYS shelter refuse to work collaboratively and then turn around and kill the very animals they were willing to save. This is also happening in shelters across Texas. This is inhumane and bad policy. CAPA would make it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal when a qualified non-profit organization, that specializes in adoptions, is willing to save that animal. This maximizes the number of animals who are saved, while reducing the numbers killed.
CAPA saves taxpayers money from having to care for, kill, and dispose of animals
CAPA is modeled after a similar law which has been in effect in California since 1998. An analysis of that law found that sending animals to non-profit animal rescue organizations saved the City and County of San Francisco $486,480 in publicly funded animal control costs. CAPA saves taxpayer money by mandating public-private partnerships that not only reduce expenses associated with having to care for, then kill and dispose of an animal, but which transfers expenses from taxpayers to private philanthropy.
CAPA improves the emotional well-being of shelter staff
Studies show that staff members responsible for killing animals in shelters are vulnerable to emotional trauma, exhaustion, and burnout. CAPA would spare staff from killing animals when those animals have readily available lifesaving options.
CAPA protects public health and safety
CAPA specifically excludes dangerous dogs and animals who are irremediably suffering from untreatable diseases or injuries. It also requires shelter to implement best practices that reduce disease, ensure animals are medically screened, thus protecting both employee and public welfare.
CAPA puts Texas on par with the most progressive states in the country
CAPA is based on a similar law in California which was passed in 1998 with overwhelming bipartisan support—96 to 12. It made no sense to California legislators that taxpayers were spending money on killing animals when non-profit organizations were willing to spend their own money to save them. Legislators also found that public shelters that killed animals, when those animals have a place to go, did not reflect the humane values of their constituents. In addition, the State of Delaware recently passed similar legislation unanimously. And New York State is considering a similar law this year.
reprinted from Bett Sundermeyer’s email