SENATE
HOUSE
JOINT
BILL STATUS
STATE LAW
REPORTS
EDUCATIONAL
CONTACT
home
home

Introduced Version Senate Bill 608 History

   |  Email
Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

Senate Bill No. 608

(By Senator Walters)

____________

[Introduced March 22, 2013; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

____________

 

 

 

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-8b, relating to animal protection in shelters; and creating a system of efforts to find an organization to save animals.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-8b, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.

§19-20-8b. Animal protection act.

    (a) The Legislature finds as follows:

    (1) Protecting animals is a legitimate and compelling public interest;

    (2) The killing of savable animals in city shelters is a needless tragedy that must be brought to an end;

    (3) No animal should be killed if the animal can be placed in a suitable home; if a private sheltering agency, rescue group or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals is willing to take care and custody of the animal; or, in the case of feral cats, if they can be sterilized and released to their habitats;

    (4) Animals held in shelters deserve proper care and humane treatment including prompt veterinary care, adequate nutrition, shelter, exercise, environmental enrichment and water;

    (5) Shelters have a duty to make all savable animals available for adoption for a reasonable period of time;

    (6) Owners of lost animals should have a reasonable period of time within which to redeem their animals;

    (7) Shelters should not kill savable animals at the request of their owners;

    (8) All efforts should be made to encourage the voluntary spaying and neutering of animals;

    (9) Government is obligated to taxpayers and community members to spend tax moneys on programs and services whose purpose is to save and enhance the lives of animals;

    (10) When animals are killed, it should be done as humanely and compassionately as possible;

    (11) Taxpayers and community members deserve full and complete disclosure about how animal shelters operate;

    (12) Citizens have a right to ensure that agencies follow the law;

    (13) Saving the lives of animals, identifying and eliminating animal neglect and abuse and protecting public safety are compatible interests; and

    (14) Policies that undermine the public’s trust in animal shelters should be eliminated.

    (b) All public and private sheltering agencies that operate within the state shall:

    (1) Commit themselves to ending the killing of savable animals in their care and custody;

    (2) Work with other animal adoption organizations to the fullest extent to promote the adoption of animals and to reduce the rate of killing;

    (3) Provide every animal in their custody with individual consideration and care regardless of how many animals they take in or whether such animals are healthy, unweaned, elderly, sick, injured, traumatized, feral, aggressive or of a particular breed; and

     (4) Not ban, bar, limit or otherwise obstruct the adoption of an animal based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age, color or other criteria except as to the individual animal’s medical condition or aggression or the adopter’s fitness to adopt.

    (c) All public sheltering agencies that operate within the state shall:

    (1) Be open to the public for adoption seven days per week;     (2) Implement programs to save lives including:

    (A) Free and low-cost spay/neuter services for animals, including feral cats;

    (B) A foster-care network for animals needing special care including unweaned, traumatized, sick and injured animals;

    (C) Comprehensive adoption programs that operate during weekend and evening hours and include adoption venues other than the shelter;

    (D) Medical and behavioral rehabilitation programs;

    (E) Pet-retention programs to solve medical, environmental and behavioral problems and keep animals with their caring and responsible owners; and

    (F) Volunteer programs to help socialize animals, promote adoptions, and assist in the operations of the shelter.

    (d) Ending the killing of savable animals will occur when all public and private sheltering agencies and rescue groups work together to achieve this goal. Therefore, private sheltering agencies and rescue groups will:

    (1) Be open to the public during hours that permit working people to adopt animals during nonworking hours;

    (2) Implement programs to save lives including:

    (A) Free and low-cost spay/neuter services for animals, including feral cats;

    (B) A foster-care network for animals needing special care, including unweaned, traumatized, sick and injured animals;

    (C) Comprehensive adoption programs that operate during weekend and evening hours and include adoption venues other than the shelter;

    (D) Medical and behavioral rehabilitation programs;

    (E) Pet-retention programs to solve medical, environmental, and behavioral problems and keep animals with their caring and responsible owners; and

    (F) Volunteer programs to help socialize animals, promote adoptions and assist in the operations of the shelter.

    (e) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

    (1) “Public Sheltering Agency” is a public animal control shelter or private shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society or animal adoption group that receives city funding or has a contract with the city under which it accepts stray or owner-relinquished animals.

    (2) “Private Sheltering Agency” is a shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society or animal adoption group which is designated as a nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and:

    (A) Does not receive city funding or have a contract with the city under which it accepts stray or owner-relinquished animals;

    (B) Accepts animals into a physical facility other than a private residence; and,

    (C) Places into new homes stray or owner-relinquished animals or animals who have been removed from a public or private sheltering agency.

    (3) “Rescue Group” is an organization designated as a nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code whose primary stated purpose is animal adoption, animal rescue or formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

    (4) “Animal” is any domestic nonhuman living creature normally kept as a pet or a feral cat.

    (5) “Impounded animal” is any animal who enters a public or private sheltering agency or rescue group regardless of whether the animal is a stray, owner-relinquished, seized, taken into protective custody, transferred from another private or public sheltering agency or is an animal whose owner requests that the animal be killed except for any animal presented to a medical clinic associated with such agencies for purposes of preventative or rehabilitative medical care, or sterilization.

    (6) “Stray animal” is any animal who is impounded without a known owner present at impound who is voluntarily relinquishing custody.

    (7) “Savable animal” is any animal who is either healthy or treatable and is not a vicious or dangerous dog.

    (8) “Healthy animal” is any animal who is not sick or injured.

    (9) “Treatable animal” is any animal who is sick or injured, whose prognosis for rehabilitation of that illness or injury is excellent, good, fair or guarded as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in this state.

    (10) “Nonrehabilitable animal” is any animal with severe illness or injury whose prognosis for rehabilitation is either poor or grave as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in this state.

    (11) “Irremediably suffering animal” is any animal with a medical condition who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting pain as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in this state.

    (12) “Feral cat” is a cat who is free-roaming, unsocialized to humans and unowned.

    (13) “Feral cat caregiver” is someone who cares for feral cats and has an interest in protecting the cats but is not the owner of those cats.

    (14) “Unweaned animal” is any neonatal animal who, in the absence of his/her mother, requires supplemental bottle feeding by humans in order to survive. In the case of puppies and kittens, unweaned animals are animals who fit the above description and are from zero to four weeks of age.

    (15) “Litter of animals” includes two or more animals who are under twelve weeks of age as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state or by a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant working under the direction of a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state.

    (16) “Vicious dog” is a dog who exhibits aggression to people even when the dog is not hungry, in pain or frightened and whose prognosis for rehabilitation of that aggression is poor or grave as determined by a trained behaviorist who is an expert on canine behavior.

    (17) “Dangerous dog” is a dog adjudicated to be vicious by a court of competent jurisdiction and where all appeals of that judicial determination have been unsuccessful.

    (f) Caretakers of feral cats are exempt from any provision of law proscribing the feeding of stray animals, requiring permits for the feeding of animals, requiring the confinement of cats or limiting the number of animals a person can own, harbor or have custody of, except as follows:

    Nothing in this section limits the enforcement of a statute having as its effect the prevention or punishment of animal neglect or cruelty so long as such enforcement is based on the conditions of animals and not based on the mere fact that a person is feeding feral cats in a public or private location.

    (g) In order to encourage spay/neuter of feral cats and to protect cats, public or private sheltering agencies or rescue groups may not lend, rent or otherwise provide traps to the public to capture cats except to a person for the purpose of catching and reclaiming that person’s wayward cat, to capture injured or sick cats or cats otherwise in danger, to capture feral kittens for purposes of taming and adoption or, in the case of feral cats, for purposes of spay/neuter and subsequent rerelease;

    (1) For purposes of this subsection, the location of the cats, without more, is not “otherwise in danger”;

    (2) A person is subject to civil penalties of not less than $200 nor more than $500 if the person uses a trap from a public or private sheltering agency or rescue group for purposes other than those enumerated above.

    (h) An action for a penalty proposed under this section may be commenced in a court of competent jurisdiction by the administrator of the public or private animal sheltering agency or rescue group from which the recipient obtained the trap that is the subject of the violation.

    (i) All penalties collected under this section are retained by the agency bringing the action under subsection (g) to be used solely for programs to spay or neuter animals.

    (j) The required holding period for a stray animal impounded by any public or private sheltering agency is five business days, not including the day of impoundment, unless otherwise provided in this section:

    (1) Stray animals without any form of identification and without a known owner shall be held for owner redemption during the first two days of the holding period, not including the day of impoundment, and shall be available for owner redemption, transfer, and adoption for the remainder of the holding period;

    (2) Stray animals may be adopted into new homes or transferred to a rescue group or private sheltering agency for the purpose of adoption after the first three days of the holding period, not including the day of impoundment, except as provided in subdivisions (3) through (8) of this subsection;

    (3) If a stray animal is impounded with a license tag, microchip or other form of identification or belongs to a known owner, the animal shall be held for owner redemption during the first three days of the holding period, not including the day of impoundment, and shall be available for owner redemption, transfer, and adoption for the remainder of the holding period;

    (4) Litters of animals or individual members of a litter of animals, including the nursing mother, and unweaned animals may be transferred to a private sheltering agency or rescue group for the purpose of adoption immediately after impound;

    (5) Individual members of litters of animals who are at least six weeks of age, including the mother, may be adopted immediately upon impound;

    (6) A feral cat caregiver has the same right of redemption for feral cats as an owner of a pet cat without conferring ownership of the cat on the caregiver;

    (7) Irremediably suffering animals shall be euthanized without delay upon a determination made in writing and signed by a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state. The certification shall be made available for free public inspection for no less than three years;

    (8) Unweaned animals impounded without their mother may be killed so long as the shelter has exhausted all efforts to place the animals in foster care, made an emergency appeal under the requirements of subsection (m) of this section and certified that it is unable to provide the needed care and feeding in its facility. The certification must state in clear and definitive terms why the agency is unable to place the animals in foster care, which private sheltering agencies and rescue groups it made an appeal to, what would be required in the future in order to provide the needed care and feeding in foster care or its facility, what steps are being taken to do so and a reasonable time frame not to exceed one year from the date of the enactment of this section for doing so. This certification shall be made in writing, signed by the director of the agency or by a veterinarian and be made available for free public inspection for no less than three years.

    (k) (1) The required holding period for an owner relinquished animal impounded by public or private sheltering agencies is the same as that for stray animals and applies to all owner relinquished animals, except as follows:

    (A) An owner-relinquished animal that is impounded shall be held for adoption or for transfer to a private sheltering agency or rescue group for the purpose of adoption for the entirety of the holding period;

    (B) Owner-relinquished animals may be adopted into new homes or transferred to a private sheltering agency or rescue group for the purpose of adoption at any time after impoundment.

    (2) When an animal is surrendered or brought to a shelter to be killed at the owner’s request, the animal is subject to the same holding periods and the same requirements of all owner relinquished animals notwithstanding the request.

    (3) An animal seized by an officer of a public or private sheltering agency under the provisions of a state statute having as its effect the prevention or punishment of animal neglect or cruelty or seized under the provision of state dangerous dog laws or under state quarantine or disease control regulations is impounded and held as consistent with the requirements of those laws. When a statute under the provisions of those laws permits a holding period, care or disposition which affords an animal less protection than the mandates of this section, this section supersedes those specific provisions regarding holding, care, and disposition.

    (l) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, public and private sheltering agencies shall provide all animals during the entirety of their shelter stay with fresh food, fresh water, environmental enrichment to promote their psychological well-being such as socialization, toys and treats and provide exercise as needed but not less than once daily. Dogs who are vicious to people or dangerous dogs may be exercised during the holding period but this is not required.

    (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, public and private sheltering agencies shall work with a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state to develop and follow a care protocol which is consistent with the goals of this section, as set forth in subsection (a), for animals with special needs including, but not limited to, nursing mothers, unweaned animals, sick or injured animals, geriatric animals or animals needing therapeutic exercise. This care protocol shall specify any deviation from the standard requirements of subdivision (1) of this subsection and the reasons for the deviation.

    (3) During the entirety of their shelter stay, animals shall be provided prompt and necessary cleaning of their cages, kennels or other living environments no less than two times per day to ensure environments that are welcoming to the public, hygienic for both the public and animals and to prevent disease. This cleaning shall be conducted in accordance with a protocol developed in coordination with a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state. Animals shall be temporarily removed from their cages, kennels or other living environments during the process of cleaning to prevent them from being exposed to water from hoses or sprays, cleaning solutions, detergents, solvents or chemicals.

    (4) During the entirety of their shelter stay, all animals shall be provided with prompt and necessary veterinary care. This includes, but is not limited to, preventative vaccinations, cage rest, fluid therapy, pain management and antibiotics sufficient to alleviate any pain caused by disease or injury, to prevent a condition from worsening and to allow them to leave the shelter in reasonable condition. This subdivision applies even if the animals are not candidates for redemption, transfer or adoption.

    (5) Public and private sheltering agencies shall work with a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state to develop and follow a protocol to prevent the spread of disease including, but not limited to, appropriate evaluation and testing of newly impounded animals, administration of vaccines, proper isolation and handling of sick animals and measures to protect those animals most vulnerable to infection.

    (m) All public and private sheltering agencies that kill animals shall maintain a registry of organizations willing to accept animals for the purposes of adoption as follows:

    (1) All public or private sheltering agencies and rescue groups designated as nonprofits by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code shall be immediately placed on this registry, upon their request, regardless of the organizations’ geographical location or any other factor except as described in subdivision (4) of this subsection;

    (2) The public or private sheltering agency may include on the registry any rescue groups that are not designated as nonprofits under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;

    (3) The registry shall include the following information as provided by the registered organization:

    (A) Organization name, mailing address and telephone number;     (B) Website and e-mail address, if any;

    (C) Emergency contact information for the organization;

    (D) The types of animals about whom the organization wishes to be contacted including species-type and breed; and

    (E) Whether the organization is willing and able to care for unweaned animals, sick or injured animals, feral animals or aggressive animals;

    (4) A public or private sheltering agency may refuse to include an organization on the registry, or delete it from the registry, until such time as this is no longer the case, if any of the organization’s current directors or officers have been convicted in a court of competent jurisdiction of a crime consisting of cruelty to animals or neglect of animals, if such charges are pending against any of the organization’s current directors or officers or if that organization or its current directors or officers are constrained by a court order or legally binding agreement that prevents the organization from taking in or keeping animals. An agency may require an organization to disclose any or all convictions, charges and legal impediments described in this subdivision;

    (5) A public or private sheltering agency may require that registered organizations provide the following summary information, which may be provided electronically, on no more than a monthly basis:

    (A) The total number of animals the organization has taken from the agency who have been adopted;

    (B) The total number of animals who have died;

    (C) The total number of animals who were transferred;

    (D) The total number of animals who were killed; and

    (E) The total number of animals who are still under the organization’s care;

    (6) A public or private sheltering agency may not demand additional information other than that described in subdivision (5) of this subsection as a prerequisite for including an organization on the registry or for continuing to maintain that organization on the registry.

    (n) (1) No public or private sheltering agency may kill an animal until the agency has notified or made a reasonable attempt to notify all organizations on the registry that have indicated a willingness to take an animal from the sheltering agency.

    (A) The notification must take place at least four business days prior to the killing of the animal.

    (B) At a minimum, the notification must include calling the organization’s regular and emergency contact numbers and sending an email to its email address, if any. Notification is considered complete as to each individual group when this has been accomplished.

    (C) No animal may be killed if an organization on the registry is willing and able to take the animal within four business days after acknowledgment of notification.

    (D) A shelter may assess a fee, not to exceed the shelter’s standard adoption fee for members of the public, for animals transferred to rescue groups.

    (2) No public or private sheltering agency may kill an animal until the agency has notified individual rescuers, rescue groups who are not designated as a nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service and the public at large so that they may consider adopting or rescuing the animal consistent with the agency’s normal adoption or transfer protocols.

    (A) The notification must take place at least four business days prior to the killing of the animal.

    (B) The notification can be accomplished in any manner reasonably likely to lead to lifesaving but must, at a minimum, include posting a notice in the shelter on the particular animal’s cage or kennel and on the agency’s website that states: “This animal is to be killed on [date] and [time].”

    (3) The following exceptions apply to the requirements of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection:

    (A) All irremediably suffering animals shall be euthanized without delay. The determination that an animal is irremediably suffering must be made in writing, signed by a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state and made available for free public inspection for no less than three years;

    (B) Dangerous dogs may be released to organizations listed on the registry;

    (C) Upon the impoundment of unweaned animals without their mother, all public and private sheltering agencies which have not placed the animals into foster care or are not able to provide supplemental feeding shall immediately make an emergency appeal to organizations on the registry that have indicated they are willing and able to care for unweaned animals and give the organizations not less than eight days to respond to the appeal. Unweaned animals impounded without their mother may then be killed before the expiration of the four business days notification period if the requirements of subdivision (8), subsection (j) of this section are met.

    (o) All public and private sheltering agencies shall take appropriate action to ensure that all animals are checked for all currently acceptable methods of identification including microchips, identification tags and licenses. All public and private sheltering agencies shall maintain continuously updated lists of animals reported lost and match these lost reports with animals reported found and animals in the shelter. The agencies shall also post all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow the animals to be recognized and claimed by their owners. If a possible owner is identified, the agencies shall undertake reasonable efforts to notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal. These efforts shall include, but are not limited to, notifying the possible owner by telephone, mail and personal service to the last known address. Upon the owner’s or caretaker’s initiation of recovery procedures, the agencies shall retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact an owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to be owners or caretakers shall be recorded and be made available for free public inspection for no less than three years.     (p) Every public or private sheltering agency shall have adoption programs which include:

    (1) Adoption programs to place animals into homes and to transfer animals to other private sheltering agencies or rescue groups for adoption;

    (2) Promotion of animals to the community through means such as the local media and the Internet;

    (3) Evening and weekend adoption hours;

    (4) Community-based adoption events or venues at locations other than the shelter; and

    (5) Accessibility at all public sheltering agencies seven days per week for a minimum of six hours per day for the purpose of adoptions except on Thanksgiving and Christmas when the shelters may, but are not required to, be open.

    (q) No public or private sheltering agency shall ban, bar, limit or otherwise obstruct the adoption of any animal based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age, color or any other criteria except as to the individual animal’s medical condition and aggression or the adopter’s fitness to adopt.

    (r) (1) Every public sheltering agency shall provide the following public services:

    (A) Low-cost spay/neuter services for animals;

    (B) Volunteer opportunities for people to assist the shelter including fostering animals, socializing animals, assisting with adoptions and otherwise helping in the operations of the shelter;     (C) Programs to assist people in overcoming situations that may cause them to relinquish or abandon their animals including, but not limited to, programs that address animal behavior problems, medical conditions and environmental conditions.

    (2) Nothing in this subsection prohibits an agency from enacting reasonable rules to facilitate the orderly operation of these programs so long as the rules are designed to meet the goals of this section as defined subsection (a).

    (s) (1) No person may procure or use any living animal from a public or private sheltering agency or rescue group for medical or biological teaching, research or study. No hospital, educational or commercial institution, laboratory or animal dealer, whether or not the dealer is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, may purchase or accept any living animal from a public or private sheltering agency, rescue group, commercial kennel, kennel, peace officer or animal control officer.

    (2) No public or private sheltering agency, rescue group, commercial kennel, kennel, peace officer or animal control officer may sell, adopt, transfer or give away any living animal to a person, hospital, educational or commercial institution, laboratory or dealer in animals, whether or not such dealer is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, for purposes of medical or biological teaching, research or study.

    (t) (1) No savable animal in a public or private sheltering agency may be killed simply because the holding period has expired. Before an animal is killed, all of the following conditions must be met:

    (A) There are no empty cages, kennels or other living environments in the shelter;

    (B) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with another animal;

    (C) A foster home is not available;

    (D) Organizations listed on the registry described in this section are not willing to accept the animal;

    (E) The animal is not a feral cat subject to sterilization and release;

    (F) All mandates, programs and services of this section have been met; and

    (G) The director of the agency certifies he or she has no other alternative.

    (2) The determination that all conditions of subdivision (1) of this subsection have been met shall be made in writing, signed by the director of the agency and be made available for free public inspection for no less than three years.

    (u) (1) All animals impounded by a public or private sheltering agency or rescue group may be killed, only when necessary and consistent with the requirements of this section, by lethal intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital except as follows:

    (A) Intraperitoneal injections may be used only under the direction of a licensed veterinarian and only when intravenous injection is not possible for infant animals, companion animals other than cats and dogs, feral cats or in comatose animals with depressed vascular function.

    (B) Intracardiac injections may be used only when intravenous injection is not possible for animals who are completely unconscious or comatose and then only under the direction of a veterinarian.

    (2) No animal may be allowed to witness any other animal being killed, being tranquilized or sedated for the purpose of being killed or see the bodies of animals which have already been killed.

    (3) Animals shall be sedated or tranquilized as necessary to minimize their stress or discomfort or, in the case of vicious animals, to ensure staff safety but neuromuscular blocking agents may not be used.

    (4) Following their injection, animals shall be lowered to the surface on which they are being held and not permitted to drop or otherwise collapse without support.

    (5) An animal may not be left unattended between the time procedures to kill the animal are commenced and the time death occurs nor may the body be disposed of until death is verified.

    (6) Verification of death shall be confirmed for each animal in all of the following ways:

    (A) By lack of heartbeat as verified by a stethoscope;

    (B) By lack of respiration as verified by observation;

    (C) By pale, bluish gums and tongue as verified by observation; and

    (D) By lack of eye response as verified by an eyelid which does not blink when eye is touched and a pupil that remains dilated when a light is shined on it.

    (7) The room in which animals are killed shall be cleaned and regularly disinfected as necessary but no less than once per day on days the room is used. The area where the procedure is performed shall be cleaned and disinfected between each procedure.

    (8) The room in which animals are killed shall have adequate ventilation that prevents the accumulation of odors.

    (9) A veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state or a euthanasia technician certified by the state euthanasia certification program shall perform these procedures but if a state certification program does not exist, the procedure may be performed by a trained euthanasia technician working under the direction of a veterinarian.

    (v) (1) All public and private sheltering agencies must post in a conspicuous place where animals are being relinquished by owners, a sign which is clearly visible and readable from any vantage point in the area, at least seventeen inches by twenty-two inches, which has all of the following information identified by species-type:

    (A) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year;

    (B) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year who were adopted;

    (C) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year who were transferred to other agencies for adoption;

    (D) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year who were reclaimed by their owners;

    (E) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year who died, were lost or were stolen while under the direct or constructive care of the agency; and

    (F) The number of animals impounded for the prior calendar year who were killed by the agency at the agency’s direction, with the agency’s permission or by a representative of the agency.

    (2) All public or private sheltering agencies must provide all owners who are relinquishing an animal with accurate information, in writing, about the likely disposition of their animal which includes, but is not limited to:

    (A) If the animal is the breed or type who is normally killed;     (B) If the animal is likely to be killed because of some current, usual or unusual circumstances; and

    (C) The information provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection.

    (3) Any owner surrendering an animal to a public or private sheltering agency must sign a statement on a form provided by the agency which includes the specific language “I understand that the shelter may kill my pet.” If the statements are provided on a form which has additional information, the owner must initial the statement where these words appear. If the person refuses to sign the statement, the shelter or its agents, must recite the statement aloud to the owner and then write “Refused to sign.” The statements must be kept on file for a period of no less than three years.

    (4) All public and private sheltering agencies must make available for free public inspection the care, cleaning and disease prevention protocols required in subsection (l) of this section.

    (5) All public and private sheltering agencies shall include on their websites and post, in a conspicuous place near the entrance of the shelter, a list of organizations included on the registry described in Section 9 as well as an invitation for all public or private sheltering agencies and rescue groups to inquire about being listed on the registry so that they may be notified before any animal is killed. The lists may not include contact information the registered organizations do not wish to make public.

    (w) (1) All public or private sheltering agencies shall provide to the city council and, upon request, for free public inspection, a monthly summary by the tenth day of the month that includes the following information by species-type:

    (A) The number of animals impounded during the previous month;     (B) The number of impounded animals sterilized and sterilized by contract with participating outside private veterinarians during the previous month;

    (C) The number of animals who were killed by the agency, at the agency’s direction, with the agency’s permission or by a representative of the agency during the previous month;

    (D) The number of animals who died, were lost or were stolen while in the direct or constructive care of the agency during the previous month;

    (E) The number of animals who were returned to their owners during the previous month;

    (F) The number of animals who were adopted during the previous month;

    (G) The number of animals who were transferred to other organizations for adoption during the previous month; and

    (H) The number of animals impounded into the reporting agency from outside the city during the previous month.

    (2) Every public or private sheltering agency shall provide an annual summary by January 31 to the city council and, upon request, for free public inspection, which includes the following information by species-type:

    (A) The number of animals impounded during the previous calendar year;

    (B) The number of impounded animals sterilized or sterilized by contract with participating outside private veterinarians during the previous calendar year;

    (C) The number of animals who were killed by the agency, at the agency’s direction, with the agency’s permission or by a representative of the agency during the previous calendar year;

    (D) The number of animals who died, were lost or were stolen while in the direct or constructive care of the agency during the previous calendar year;

    (E) The number of animals who were returned to their owners during the previous calendar year;

    (F) The number of animals who were adopted during the previous calendar year;

    (G) The number of animals who were transferred to other organizations for adoption during the previous calendar year; and

    (H) The number of animals impounded into the reporting agency from outside the city during the previous calendar year.

    (x) (1) Revenues from dog licenses as required under existing state or local laws shall be deposited into an account for use by the public animal control agency as follows:

    (A) Sixty percent shall be used exclusively for free and low-cost spay/neuter of feral cats and owned animals under the provision of subdivision (2) of this subsection;

    (B) Forty percent shall be used exclusively for free and low-cost medical assistance including vaccinations of feral cats and owned animals under the provision of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

    (2) These funds shall be used to provide low-cost spay/neuter and medical care for animals if the owner or feral cat caretaker meets income guidelines set by the shelter or city except as follows:

    (A) These funds shall be used to provide free spay/neuter for animals if the owner is on public assistance or is eligible for any type of city, county, state or federal aid of the kind that is normally given to individuals based on lack of sufficient income;

    (B) These funds shall be used to provide low-cost medical care including vaccinations for animals if the owner is on public assistance or is eligible for any type of city, county, state or federal aid of the kind that is normally given to individuals based on lack of sufficient income;

    (C) These funds shall be used to provide free spay/neuter and vaccinations against rabies for feral cats regardless of the feral cat caretaker’s income.

    (3) These services shall be performed under the direction of a licensed veterinarian.

    (4) These funds shall not be deducted from the public animal control agency’s overall city budget.

    (y) (1) A resident of the city may compel a public or private sheltering agency or rescue group to follow the mandates of this section through a lawsuit asking a court of competent jurisdiction to grant declaratory and injunctive relief including, but not limited to:

    (A) Restraining orders;

    (B) Preliminary injunctions;

    (C) Permanent injunctions;

    (D) Writs of mandamus;

    (E) Writs of prohibition; and

    (F) Other appropriate remedies at law which will compel compliance with this section.

    (2) Any public or private sheltering agency or rescue group may compel a public or private sheltering agency to follow the mandates of this section through a lawsuit asking a court of competent jurisdiction to grant declaratory and injunctive relief including, but not limited to:

    (A) Restraining orders;

    (B) Preliminary injunctions;

    (C) Permanent injunctions;

    (D) Writs of mandamus;

    (E) Writs of prohibition; and,

    (F) Other appropriate remedies at law which will compel compliance with this section.

    (z) Any law, ordinance or policy which requires the licensing of cats, the confinement of cats, limits the number of animals a household can own or care for, prohibits or requires permits for the feeding of stray domestic animals or prohibits the adoption of specific breeds of dogs is hereby repealed as contrary to the public interest except that this subsection does not limit the enforcement of a statute having as its effect the prevention or punishment of animal neglect or cruelty so long as such enforcement is based on the conditions of animals or the environment and not based on the mere fact that a household has a certain number of animals, a person is feeding stray domestic animals or a dog is of a particular breed.

    (aa) If the provisions of any subsection, subdivision or paragraph of this section is adjudged invalid by a court or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction, such determination, order or judgment does not affect or invalidate the remainder of any subsection, subdivision or paragraph of this section. Any invalidity is confined in its operation to the subsection, subdivision, paragraph or sentence directly involved in the controversy in which such determination, order or judgment was rendered.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a system of organized efforts to save animals.

    This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2020 West Virginia Legislature ****


X

Print On Demand

Name:
Email:
Phone:

Print