[Ed. Note: Read The Meaning of Oreo.]
By Laurie Bleier, Brooklyn Animal Foster Network
Recently, despite urgent pleas from hundreds of New Yorkers, the ASPCA euthanized an abused, young dog named Oreo. Outrage fueled the rescue community as offers of sanctuary by the nationally recognized No Kill shelter Pets Alive were completely ignored.
Reportedly taken moments before they killed her, an image of Oreo does not show her to be aggressive. The ASPCA has refused to release the videotapes of Oreo's temperament testing.
As a direct result of this senseless tragedy, Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner and State Senator Thomas K. Duane have introduced a New York State bill that will allow accredited animal welfare organizations the right to save an animal that a shelter is planning to euthanize.
The bill, which is to be introduced to the State Legislature as early as next week, seeks to limit the virtually unrestrained power of shelter managers and town boards, from Oneonta to Montauk, to kill animals and to heap hostile and vindictive treatment on the dedicated and hardworking rescue groups who wish to save them.
Too often, these bureaucrats are either too detached, lazy or incompetent to provide any real collaborative outreach with alternative rescue resources in their own communities.
Reputable groups everywhere must hold their breath as they witness the routine, inhumane treatment of homeless animals. Fear of reprisal or suspension from saving animals at their local kill shelters, even right here in NYC, have driven rescue groups and individuals from speaking out about horrific conditions that exist there. Oreo’s Law will change all this and save thousands.
So why do the ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance want to kill it?
Oreo’s Law, modeled after California's 1998 Hayden Law, also met with intense criticism from public animal control directors and large humane societies in the Golden State.
New York State rescue groups are begging to save doomed animals like these everyday. Many shelters believe it is easier to kill them.
Their stated basis for opposition is similar to that of Oreo’s Law by the ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance: the risk of hoarding of shelter animals, the risk of dogs ending up in dog fighting circles, and increased risks to the public due to irresponsible release of unsuitable dogs to adopters.
"Despite such dire predictions of increased incidence of public harm and cruelty to animals as a result of passing the right of access provision in the Hayden Law, there is no evidence of increased incidence of either." -- UCLA Law Professor Taimi Bryant who drafted the Hayden Law, 2009
The ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance are currently very busy fear mongering to state legislators (including the Governor) about hoarders and dog fighters. They omit the fact that there are already protections built into the law to ensure that this does not occur. Just as it didn't in California. Just what are they really afraid of? The average New York State citizen doesn't even know where their local shelter is. Are the animal professionals afraid that rescue groups will have better results than they do?
Statewide, squabbles and power grabs are rampant in the shelter systems. I believe a moral bankruptcy exists when a shelter or alliance would put personalities before the animals.
In fact, my organization may very well lose its right to the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Van as a result of this letter.
We need your help.
We can never bring Oreo back, but we can make sure this never happens again in any New York State shelter. Oreo's Law will save thousands of dogs and puppies, cats and kittens (including feral cats), rabbits, and pocket pets currently being killed in shelters despite rescue groups willingness to save and re home them.
That is why No Kill leaders like Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center, Michael Mountain, founder of Best Friends Animal Society, the nation's top animal law professors, and the nation's most successful shelter directors have endorsed Oreo's Law.