Delaware Mandates Community Cat Sterilization

Delaware Gov. John Carney signs the cat bill into law.

The State of Delaware has taken another step forward by protecting community cats and making community cat sterilization the preferred method of “animal control” throughout the state.

This week, the Governor signed HB235 which mandates that “visibly healthy cats admitted to a shelter, not placed for adoption, and lacking discernible owner identification, are sterilized, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped, and returned to a safe location where they were found or, if necessary, appropriately relocated.”

While it continues to prefer adoption, it amended the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act—legislation modeled after the law written by my organization, the No Kill Advocacy Center—to prohibit killing healthy community cats when they can be returned to their habitats, following the lead of Muncie, Indiana, which passed such a law last year.

Since CAPA passed, the killing of cats in Delaware has declined by 90%. Under this new amendment, that decline is expected to continue going up.

HB235 also adds legal protections for those who care for community cats and legal protections for the cats, too, making it a felony to cause them harm.

Make CAPA the law of the land in your community or state.


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