Assembly Member Joe Lentol Calls for a Halt to Euthanizing Dogs and Cats During COVID19

Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) has asked the New York City Animal Care Centers (ACC) to put an end to euthanizing domestic dogs and cats at least until COVID-19’s pandemic has passed. Mr. Lentol has been following New Yorkers’ record outpouring of fostering and adoptions of dogs and cats from animal shelters during New York’s stay at home period, as residents seek animal companionship and have time to care for pets. Assembly Member Lentol will introduce emergency legislation to halt the euthanizing of animals for one year with an immediate effective date.

Mr. Lentol, a proponent of no-kill animal policies, calls upon the ACC to immediately cease putting down dogs and cats after being told about an unfortunate recent case involving the ACC. Two members of law enforcement who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic picked up a friendly and healthy lost Labrador Retriever and cared for it at their station for a few days while seeking its owner. Because the owner may have relocated, gotten sick, or could have been otherwise unable to care for the pet, he or she was not found. The temporary caregivers then took the Lab to the ACC with specific instructions that, if no one claimed the dog quickly, they would adopt it. Sadly, the dog was euthanized.

“There is no reason to rush to euthanize right now”, said Assembly Member Lentol. “Life has been disrupted and owners may be separated from their animals for many reasons, illness and death included, leading to complications within families and with their pets. At a minimum, we must give animals and families time to reunite. Failing that, we must allow time for an animal to be fostered or adopted.”

Lentol said, “New Yorkers are proving every day that they will work hard to protect all aspects of life. This includes the animal/owner relationship, so often strained now because of emotional stress, financial pressures and food insecurity, or human illness. Let’s give our residents and lost animals needing a forever home the time to find each other. If an owner cannot be identified, let’s use the process of fostering or adoption instead of euthanasia.”

Lentol concluded, “The policy I am advocating makes common sense and should not need to be legislated, but instead of just requesting that a government agency implement it and hope for the best, I believe state legislation is called for. My bill will apply to public, private and non-profit animal shelters throughout New York State.”