Position Statements

//Position Statements
Position Statements2024-05-06T09:03:58-04:00

North Shore Animal League America is committed to working with our rescue partners across the country and around the world on improving the lives of homeless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens in need of compassionate care. As the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization we also pride ourselves on taking a position on critical issues among the animal welfare spectrum. Animal League America’s policy statements have been reviewed and approved by appropriate Senior Leadership Team members and the Organization’s President.

North Shore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization. We’ve stayed true to our mission for more than 70 years and are committed to preserving and nurturing the lives of all the rescued animals in our care. We reserve humane euthanasia only in instances when animals are suffering greatly with no potential for relief, or if an animal is so aggressive that he or she presents a danger to people or other animals and cannot be safely handled or placed. The decision to euthanize is made by a dedicated committee composed of veterinarians, pet behavior professionals, and animal welfare experts. North Shore Animal League America is committed to providing all of the animals we rescue with the individualized and compassionate care they need and deserve until they are adopted by responsible, loving people.

North Shore Animal League America stands in full support of the Providing for Unhoused People with Pets (PUPP) Act. Pets are cherished members of families, providing companionship, emotional support, and stability, especially in times of crisis. With approximately 25% of the homeless population being pet owners, it is imperative to address the barriers they face in accessing emergency shelter and support services. The PUPP Act, a bipartisan Congressional bill, offers a vital solution by creating a grant program to fund pet-friendly emergency shelters. These grants, administered by the USDA and HUD, will enable shelters to accommodate individuals with pets, ensuring that families can stay together during challenging times. By providing resources for pet care, veterinary services, and shelter accommodations, the PUPP Act promotes humane and compassionate assistance to those in need. We urge federal lawmakers to swiftly pass the PUPP Act, recognizing the precious bond between humans and their animal companions.

North Shore Animal League America enforces a 100 percent spay/neuter policy for all dogs and cats placed into homes. We support juvenile spay/neuter practices, unless illness or other factors warrant delay. In these cases, we require a spay/neuter deposit for kittens and puppies which is returned with proof of spay/neuter or when pet is brought to our medical center for the procedure. We also conduct appropriate follow-up to ensure that all animals adopted intact have a scheduled spay/neuter appointment in the near future.

As a leader in humane relocation, North Shore Animal League America encourages national and local initiatives that reduce pet homelessness and resulting euthanasia. We believe that spay/neuter efforts like our SpayUSA program, which since 1993 has provided referrals to high quality, affordable spay/neuter procedures across the country, are crucial to reducing euthanasia numbers nationwide.

Animal League America also supports Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release (TNVR) programs for managed colonies as a way to control and maintain healthy feral feline populations.

For ten horrific days in June, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival takes the lives of thousands of defenseless canines. As leader in the no-kill movement, North Shore Animal League America is dedicated to reducing animal cruelty, and through our collaborative rescue programs, reach across the country and around the world to save those in need.

Working with Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, Animal League America has brought many frightened and vulnerable dogs from Yulin to the safety of our campus in Port Washington, NY and found them responsible, loving homes. Additionally, our efforts with Project Street Dog and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, and K9 Global Rescue in Korea, have given new life to numerous precious canines at risk of being killed for dog meat.

We continue to build awareness through the petitioning and dissemination of information about this unspeakable horror, and are grateful to our community of animal advocates who have joined with us to help put a stop to the dog meat trade. Our petitions garner tens of thousands of names in support, and are shared with the appropriate officials.

Progress is happening. Last year, China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs recognized that dogs are companions and declared an end to the consumption of dog meat. We encourage our supporters to stand with us against this brutality. Every life matters and every voice makes a difference.

Animal League America does not condone declawing or debarking and does not perform these procedures in our Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center. Instead, we encourage veterinary practitioners to provide guidance and education to clients seeking these procedures for their pets. Many effective alternatives exist today that make these painful, risky, and emotionally damaging surgeries completely unnecessary.

Regarding legislation, North Shore Animal League America does not maintain a legislative program. In keeping with our no-kill mission, we use all available resources to support rescue, adoption, humane education, medical care, and similar efforts. On rare occasions, when requested by a sponsor, we will present a piece of state or federal legislation to our board for review and an opinion. For example, in the spring of 2017 we wrote a letter lending our unqualified support for a bill under consideration in the New York State Legislature that would have banned the declawing of cats. Unfortunately, that bill did not become law.

We were so pleased when Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303) that bans the declawing of cats in New York making the state the first in the nation to ban the procedure of cat declawing. “We want to take this opportunity to thank Governor Cuomo for protecting companion cats by signing the declawing bill into law,” said Joanne Yohannan, Senior Vice President, Operations, North Shore Animal League America. “This law is long overdue and will protect cats from the barbaric practice of declawing.”

During our seven decades of leadership in animal welfare, we’ve found that the language of bills changes frequently. Without a legislative program to monitor these fluctuations, our support one day could become opposition the next, depending on amendments and other legislative actions. It is thus impossible for an organization without a legislative arm to take meaningful positions on specific bills.

We believe that our resources are best used to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt, and Educate. However, this decision does not mean we’re indifferent to animal-related issues or oppose bills that will truly improve the lives of animals and combat cruelty. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. Our work on behalf of animals across the country and around the world more than proves the depth of our compassion and commitment.

Reverberations from the recent U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan had devastating consequences for both the people and the animals in the region. North Shore Animal League America condemns animal cruelty in any form and we are outraged by the inhumane disregard given to the animals left behind. As a pioneer of animal rescue and relocation, Animal League America strongly urges our government to take action and find a way to bring abandoned dogs and cats in Afghanistan to safety.

North Shore Animal League America strongly opposes the practice of ear cropping* dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. We also encourage the elimination of ear cropping from breed standards. The procedure causes pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, is accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection, while providing no welfare or medical benefit to the animal.

*Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that reshapes the natural appearance of a dog’s external ear flap, and is typically performed when puppies are between nine and twelve weeks of age.