I’m Bill Ketzer, the ASPCA’s State Legislative Director for New York. I’m writing to thank you for all your work on behalf of New York’s animals this year, and to share some results from our state’s 2015 legislative session.
Thanks in part to your emails, phone calls and in-person meetings at Voices for Animals Day in Albany, several important measures passed the Legislature this year! While not every effort ended in victory, each one raised the visibility of important issues and built momentum toward protecting animals who cannot speak for themselves—you should be very proud of all your efforts!
Victory: Enable Veterinary Response during Natural Disasters and Cruelty Investigations
Signed into law in November 2015
This new law allows veterinary professionals to help state and local agencies better respond to animals in need during natural disasters and large-scale rescues. Thank you to Senator Kenneth LaValle and Assemblymember Deborah Glick for their leadership on this big win!
Victory: Law Enforcement Training
Signed into law in October 2015
This law will create a training program on enforcing anti-cruelty laws for tens of thousands of law enforcement professionals serving communities across the state, many of whom currently do not have access to such training.
Defeat: TNR Feral Cat Programs through New York’s Spay/Neuter Program
Passed by Legislature in June 2015;
Vetoed by Governor Cuomo in October 2015
If signed, this bill would have would have authorized a portion of state spay/neuter funding to support viable trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. TNR improves the lives of community cats and saves taxpayers’ money. While this legislation received unprecedented support, powerful sporting and wildlife interests killed the bill using misinformation and scare tactics. We’re grateful for your support of this bill, and to its sponsors, Senator Kathy Marchione and Assemblyman John McDonald.
I’ll leave you with two final requests:
- Be sure to mark Monday, April 11, on your calendars for NY Voices for Animals Day 2016! This day-long event at the capitol is always fun, informative and a great opportunity to network with fellow animal advocates. April 2016 also marks the ASPCA’s 150th anniversary, so we hope you will join us for this very special celebration. We’ll send you an email with details as we get closer to the event.
- Please consider visiting your legislators at their home offices during the off-session. Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to find out who represents you and the locations of their district offices. Just because session is over doesn’t mean that your state representatives are unavailable to talk about to the issues that are important to you—and don’t forget to thank them if they supported these bills or any others you fought for this year!
It was my pleasure to meet many of you and work together on these critical
animal welfare issues this year. Thank you again, and happy holidays.
Senior State Legislative Director
ASPCA Government Relations