DOVER – Healthy cats and dogs used in lab research may be put up for adoption after their tests are complete, rather than being automatically euthanized, under legislation passed unanimously by the Senate Tuesday.
Senate Bill 101 requires research facilities that receive public funding to give healthy, retired cats and dogs a chance at adoption through private placement or contracted arrangements with local shelters.
Prime sponsor Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton – also the owner of a rescue dog – said the bill is as humane as it is common-sense.
“I’m honestly amazed that this was even a debate,” said Sen. Walsh. “We have healthy animals that research labs don’t want. We have local shelters that are willing to care for them. We have families that might want to adopt them. It defies reason that anyone would choose to euthanize them instead of giving them a second lease on life. If just one of these animals becomes a pet, all of the work that went into this bill will be worth it.”
“Being an animal lover, I want to thank Sen. Walsh for bringing this important piece of legislation forward,” said Rep. Kim Williams, prime House sponsor of Senate Bill 101. “Every animal deserves the opportunity to find a loving home.”
Beagles are especially common in research facilities due to their docile demeanor, according to the Rescue + Freedom Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and advocatng for former research animals.
Two retired research beagles, George and Gigi, were in the Senate Chamber as their owners testified in support of the bill.
“This policy addresses a real deficiency of law and we are so proud to be able to secure homes for animals that have endured so much suffering,” said Gail Thomssen, Philanthropy Director for the Rescue + Freedom Project and George’s owner. “No longer will these dogs and cats be killed once research is over.”
SB 101 now goes to Gov. John Carney for his signature. If the bill becomes law, Delaware will be the eighth state in America to legally compel the adoption of research dogs and cats.