Animal Shelter Regulations

S.979 defines animal shelters as either facilities operated by the state, veterinary hospitals that take in stray or unwanted animals, or facilities owned or operated by nonprofit societies for the purpose of caring for stray or unwanted animals. This bill places all of these facilities under the supervision and regulation of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This bill also requires animal shelters to keep records of their animals, provide a copy of the records to new owners, and maintain the records for three years after the last entry. Finally, shelters are required to keep records of the number of animals admitted to the facility, and how they exited (adoption, euthanasia, etc.). The shelters are required to report these numbers to the Department, which will publish them online.

This bill adds a whole new layer of unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation to the animal shelter industry. If it applied only to state-owned and operated shelters, this might conceivably be acceptable, but to impose these regulations on private shelters is not only an improper role of government, but it is completely unneeded. Moreover imposing all these regulations may indirectly harm animals by forcing shelters to divert more resources to bureaucratic compliance; resources that could have been used on direct animal care.

Animal care and cruelty laws already exist on the books; those should be completely sufficient for both owners and animal care facilities.

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