Bill S7290-2013

Relates to community based initiatives for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats to the area from which they were trapped

Relates to community based initiatives for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats to the area from which they were trapped.

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  • May 9, 2014: REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE

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BILL NUMBER:S7290

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to community based initiatives for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats to the area from which they were trapped

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This bill would authorize up to twenty percent of the animal population control program fund balance to be utilized for grants, to eligible entities working in coordination with community based initiatives, for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats to the area from which they were trapped.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends subdivision 1 of section 117a of the agricultural and markets law, as amended by section 11 of part T of chapter 59 of the laws of 2010, by adding a new subdivision 10 which would authorize twenty percent of the Animal Population Control Program fund balance annually for grants to eligible entities, in coordination with community-based initiatives, for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning, to the area from which they were trapped, feral cats as defined by the environmental conservation law.

Section 2 provides that such provisions shall not apply to community-based initiatives operated in coordination with an eligible entity as defined in subdivision eight of this section, which allows entities that do not have a county animal population control program to apply for funds from the Animal Population Control Program fund for the sole purpose of providing low-cost spay and neuter services in their service area.

Section 3 provides the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

The New York State Animal Population Control Program serves Upstate and Long Island, providing grants to local governments and eligible not-for-profit organizations for low-cost, low-income spay/neuter initiatives and services directly related to such programs. Operated by the ASPCA at no cost to the state, the APCP funds viable, effective and high-impact programs each year to help communities manage homeless animal populations and serve areas of great need, as well as projects reaching more remote and less served populations.

Unfortunately, the APCP does not provide sufficient authority to award grants for the management of "Trap-Neuter-Return" or "TNR" feral cat programs. As the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies, these systems can have enormous value to a community. At least 15 other state-sponsored animal population control programs - including those in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware - authorize the use of spay/neuter funds to cover the costs of viable TNR programs.

Once considered unconventional, TNR is now generally accepted as a viable and effective population control tool. Successfully practiced in thousands of communities and in every landscape and setting, Trap-Neuter-Return programs humanely trap feral cats - which cannot be socialized to live with humans safely - and take them to a veterinarian to be neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped. After recovery, the cats are returned to their colony. Kittens of feral cats that can be socialized to people may be adopted into homes.

Grounded in science, TNR stops the breeding cycle of feral cats and therefore improves their lives. Historically, the ineffective and costly "catch and kill" approach was used to control feral cat populations, but history has now demonstrated the futility of attempts to permanently clear an area of cats because of the scientifically-documented phenomenon known as the "vacuum effect." In basic terms, whenever cats are removed, new cats move in to take advantage of the now-available resources (like food and shelter), or the surviving cats left behind breed to capacity. Under TNR, the returned cats act as placeholders, preventing intact cats from moving into the area. The cats being returned via TNR have significantly reduced nuisance behaviors (spraying, noise from mating and fighting) and are better community neighbors than the intact cats who would otherwise fill that space if there were a vacuum. As a result, there is robust support for TNR both at the grassroots level and within traditional political structures.

This legislation is consistent with the statutory purpose of this program, especially since its reinvention as a grants initiative in 2010. The bill would simply authorize a small percentage of funds available through the APCP each year to be used to support the collaborative work of humane societies, animal welfare organizations and animal shelters with community-based TNR initiatives so they may improve the quality of life for feral cats in a given area, and improve the character of that community for its residents. This in turn supports sound public health policy by proactively reducing the risk of rabies and other zoonotic diseases."

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Twenty percent of the Animal Population Control Program fund balance will be allocated for the purposes of awarding grants for the management of "TrapNeuter-Return" or "TNR" feral cat programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7290 IN SENATE May 9, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MARCHIONE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to communi- ty based initiatives for the purpose of trapping, neutering, vaccinat- ing and returning feral cats to the area from which they were trapped THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 117-a of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by section 11 of part T of chapter 59 of the laws of 2010, is amended and a new subdivision 10 is added to read as follows: 1. The commissioner shall submit a request for proposals from not-for- profit entities as described herein for the purpose of administering a state animal population control program. The entity chosen to administer such program shall enter into a contract with the state for a term of five years, which may be renewed subject to the approval of the commis- sioner. The purpose of this program shall be to reduce the population of unwanted and stray dogs and cats thereby reducing incidence of euthana- sia and potential threats to public health and safety posed by the large population of these animals. This program shall seek to accomplish its purpose by encouraging residents of New York state who are the owners of dogs and cats OR, SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TEN OF THIS SECTION, COMMUNITY-BASED INITIATIVES OPERATING IN COORDINATION WITH AN ELIGIBLE NOT-FOR-PROFIT ENTITY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF THIS SECTION FOR THE PURPOSES OF TRAPPING, NEUTER- ING, VACCINATING AND RELEASING FERAL CATS AS DEFINED IN SUBPARAGRAPH TWO OF PARAGRAPH E OF SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION 11-0103 OF THE ENVIRON- MENTAL CONSERVATION LAW, to have them spayed or neutered by providing low-cost spaying and neutering services to such owners AND INITIATIVES meeting the criteria enumerated in subdivision three of this section. For purposes of this section, "low-cost" shall mean substantially less than the average cost in a particular region of the state for spaying or neutering services, including any and all ancillary [changes] CHARGES for services, including but not limited to, presurgical examinations,
tests and immunizations, and other services related to the spay or neuter procedure. All veterinary services provided pursuant to this section must be performed by a veterinarian licensed in this state. 10. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF THIS SECTION TO THE CONTRARY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ENTITY SHALL BE AUTHORIZED TO UTILIZE UP TO TWENTY PERCENT OF THE ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAM FUND BALANCE ANNUALLY FOR GRANTS TO ELIGIBLE ENTITIES AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF THIS SECTION WORKING IN COORDINATION WITH COMMUNITY BASED INITIATIVES FOR THE PURPOSES OF TRAPPING, NEUTERING, VACCINATING AND RETURNING, TO THE AREA FROM WHICH THEY WERE TRAPPED, FERAL CATS AS DEFINED IN SUBPARAGRAPH TWO OF PARAGRAPH E OF SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION 11-0103 OF THE ENVIRON- MENTAL CONSERVATION LAW. S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 117-a of the agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to read as follows: (D) SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TEN OF THIS SECTION, THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO COMMUNITY-BASED INITIATIVES OPERATED IN COORDINATION WITH AN ELIGIBLE ENTITY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF THIS SECTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAPPING, NEUTERING, VACCINATING AND RELEASING FERAL CATS AS DEFINED IN SUBPARAGRAPH TWO OF PARAGRAPH E OF SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION 11-0103 OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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