Today is Oswald’s Gotcha Day. We adopted him five years ago. It was Oswald’s best day ever. Of course, for a dog who is loved, every day is the best day ever. But there are a few that are especially great: that day, the day he was pulled from the pound (one day away from being killed), and September 22, 1998, a day he didn’t even exist yet.

On September 22, 1998, California Governor Pete Wilson signed Senate Bill 1785, a law making it illegal for shelters to kill animals if qualified rescue groups offer to save them. In the county where Oswald was sitting in the pound and scheduled to be killed, not a single animal was sent to rescue before the law because of a “No Rescue” policy. It now has no choice but to do so and 4,000 animals are saved each and every year by rescue groups from this one shelter alone. Oswald was one of them.

Picked up as a stray, he was skinny, traumatized, had kennel cough, and a cherry eye. He was on his last day when a rescue group pulled him, nursed him back to health, and five years ago today, adopted him to us. Thanks to SB 1785 and the rescuer who pulled him, Oswald — and 60,000 other animals a year — will have the best day ever for many, many years to come.

And while Delaware and a few cities, like Austin, TX, and Muncie, IN, have passed similar provisions, and likewise realized dramatic lifesaving gains, No Kill Advocacy Center efforts to also pass it in other states like New York and Virginia have not been successful. Why?

Opposition from Best Friends, PETA, Maddie’s Fund, the ASPCA, and HSUS. Why? A video posted by Maddie’s Fund explains it as follows: “We want to do everything we can to make sure the shelters don’t look bad.” In other words, they have turned their mission of protecting animals from those who harm them on its head by protecting the people causing the harm. But we can fight back.

To give other dogs (and cats and rabbits and guinea pigs and more) the same protection, work to pass Rescue Rights legislation in your community or state. The No Kill Advocacy Center has a model law, a step by step guide to getting it introduced, and more importantly, stands ready to help.

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