Thanks to a new law, there are happier futures in store for New York state's research animals.
In June, the New York state Legislature approved a bill that will require colleges, universities, and the laboratories that work with them to make "reasonable efforts" to place research animals (cats and dogs) up for adoption when the animals are no longer needed.
The law allows for adoption via private placement efforts, or through partnerships with shelters and adoption agencies.
The law does not apply to all colleges and universities, however. Only the institutions that receive public assistance, including tax-exempt status, are bound by it. According to Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, the sponsor of the bill, beagles are a primary focus because they are so often bred and used for research.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in mid-August. It will take effect in mid-September. Its primary purpose is to prevent the needless euthanasia of cats and dogs that would make suitable pets. However, it requires a veterinarian to sign off on each animal's suitability before it can be placed up for adoption.
The Humane Society of the United States praised the new law.
"We're pleased that New York state has made this important move to promote the adoption of dogs and cats formerly used for research...This law will bring untold happiness to these animals and the families who adopt them," said Humane Society state director Brian Shapiro.
Gov. Cuomo also spoke highly of the new law's compassionate spirit:
"This is a humane law that, for these animals, provides the opportunity for a new lease on life...Dogs and cats are like members of the family for many New Yorkers and this action will allow for more four-legged friends to be adopted into a caring home."
Interested in learning more? You can read the bill here.