“I think they did a really good job of getting the right people together,” says Assistant Dean for Business and Administration Verne Smith
of the recently established Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force that Governor Jack Markell appointed him to as one of five members of the public.
Established by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 44 of the Delaware State Senate’s 146th General Assembly, the Animal Welfare Task Force is charged to “consider and evaluate the state of animal welfare in Delaware, including the resources devoted to animal welfare services and whether consolidation, collaboration, or reorganization can lead to more effective use of limited resources.”
“The more I heard about it, the more interested I became,” Smith says of being contacted by the Governor’s office to join the task force. “Senator Blevins is the chair, and she’s a well-known animal advocate in Delaware.”
The task force gets all of the relevant stakeholders at the same table, bringing together representatives from the state House of Representatives and State Senate, the Governor’s office, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Shelter Animal Medicine Program, New Castle County government, Kent County government, Sussex County Government, and the City of Wilmington government with representatives from each of the five operating animal shelters in Delaware and five members of the public appointed by the Governor.
The group will be taking a comprehensive look at the state’s laws and regulations related to companion animal welfare and will provide a written report of their recommendations to the Governor by the end of March. Discussion will focus in particular on the implementation of the shelter standards law signed in 2010 by Governor Markell.
Smith hopes that the previously established standards and the new task force can help the state “Move toward no kill, where euthanasia would only be for un-adoptable or sick or injured pets.”
The task force will also look at the state’s licensing laws “and trying to make it easier for people to access those services,” he adds.
The Animal Welfare Task Force will be holding a public meeting on Thursday, November 29th from 7 to 9 p.m. at Legislative Hall in Dover.