Delaware Votes for Animals

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Current Issues in Delaware

   Find your State Senator using our Delaware Senate Contact Sheet.
   Find your State Representative using our Delaware House of Representatives Contact Sheet.

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It was an extremely successful year for animals with strong laws passed to establish training/certification for animal control officers, shelter standards oversight, and protection for animals seized from dog fighting and other animal cruelty cases. Additional successes included banning gas chambers, strengthening the Dangerous Dog Law, and reducing the amount of time victims of cruelty have to stay in a shelter after relinquishment, allowing shelters to place them into loving homes faster.  

HB311: Animal Control Officer Training
PASSED and signed by Governor
View House Bill No. 311.

Summary of HB 311: This bill assigns the Office of Animal Welfare to develop and implement statewide training and certification of Animal Control Officers (ACOs) and Animal Cruelty Agents (ACAs).  This Act becomes effective upon final publication of the regulations by the Department of Health and Social Services.

NEXT STEPS: The Office of Animal Welfare will draft corresponding rules and regulations as outlined in the bill.

SB201: Shelter Oversight
PASSED and singed by Governor
View Senate Bill No. 201.

Summary of SB 201:  This bill clarifies the roles and authority of the Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) and Department of Agriculture.  This bill not only authorizes the Department of Health and Social Services to enforce existing shelter standards, the animal population control program and spay/neuter fund, and companion animal welfare license plate funds, all programs previously overseen by the Department of Agriculture, it also establishes an enforcement mechanism to do so. The bill also updates and clarifies the authority of the Department of Agriculture over poultry and livestock species and zoonotic disease prevention, eradication and mitigation. 

NEXT STEPS: The Office of Animal Welfare will draft corresponding rules and regulations as outlined in the bill.  This will include euthanasia regulations and enforcement procedures for the shelter standards and spay/neuter law.  The DHSS Cabinet Secretary will also appoint chairpersons for the Spay and Neuter Performance Review Committee and the Animal Welfare License Plate Fund Committee – two committees that will be reinstated.

SB245: Seized Animal Protection
PASSED and signed by Governor
View Senate Bil No. 245.

Summary of SB 245:  This bill protects animals seized in criminal activity, cruelty and animal fighting from automatic euthanasia or being labeled as “potentially dangerous” by default. Instead, the bill allows for evaluation of animals for adoptability by trained personnel and ensures that individuals involved in the criminal activity are not able to adopt the animals after their seizure or forfeiture. This bill also allows the shelter to receive payment for its services in a timely manner by allowing for billing upon impoundment.

NEXT STEPS: Animal cruelty enforcement agencies can implement once the Governor signs.

HB297: Dangerous Dog and Animal Fighting and Baiting
PASSED and signed by Governor
View House Bill No. 297 and Amendment

Summary of HB 297:  This bill clarifies when an animal control constable or dog warden may impound a dog that is suspected of being dangerous or potentially dangerous.  The bill makes clear that any of the paragraphs constitutes grounds.  In addition, updates the time allowed for the scheduling of a dog control panel hearing from 21 days to 20 business days.

NEXT STEPS: Dog control enforcement agency can implement once the Governor signs.  The Office of Animal Welfare will begin scheduling panel hearings within 20 business days of a request.

SB255: Operating Budget for Delaware
PASSED and signed by the Governor

Summary:  This is the operating budget for Delaware.  Senator Patricia Blevins requested funds to support animal cruelty enforcement and she was successful in securing those funds ($100K total). 

NEXT STEPS: The Office of Animal Welfare will be working with the Delaware SPCA and First State Animal Center-SPCA on the mechanism for fund distribution.

SB196: Operating Budget for Delaware

Summary:  This bill would have restored language to the Delaware Code adding cats to the list of domestic animals that are protected under the dangerous dog law.  The bill passed the Senate but did not make it on the House agenda before session recessed. 

Federal Legislation

No issues pending. Please check back.

  Contact information for U.S. Congressmen for Delaware:

Senator Tom Carper  Phone: (202) 224-2441 
Senator Chris Coons  Phone: (202) 224-5042 
Representative John Carney   Phone: (202) 225-4165

General Information on Delaware Legislation

As animal-related bills are introduced in Delaware, they will be posted to the HSUS state web site.
To read a short synopsis of each bill, or to view the entire bill, please click here.

To follow Legislation in the Delaware General Assembly, including Meeting Schedules and Bill-Tracking, visit the State of Delaware Official web site.

General Information on Federal Legislation

A number of bills to protect animals at the federal level are being considered.
To read a short synopsis of each bill, or to view the entire bill, please click here.

For in-depth analysis and the latest status on various bills, go to Animal Law Coalition.

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