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Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsMay 2015

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(16 Del.C. §§3004F(d) & and 3008F9(a))
On February 1, 2015 (Volume 18, Issue 8), DHSS published in the Delaware Register of Regulations its notice of proposed regulations, pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10115. It requested that written materials and suggestions from the public concerning the proposed regulations be delivered to DHSS by March 10, 2015, after which time the DHSS would review information, factual evidence and public comment to the said proposed regulations. In addition, a public hearing was held on February 23, 2015 at the DelDot Building, 800 Bay Road, Dover, Delaware.
In accordance with Delaware law, public notices regarding proposed Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Regulations governing Animals Held in Shelter were published in the Delaware State News, the News Journal, and the Delaware Register of Regulations. Written comments were received on proposed regulations during the public comment period (February 1, 2015 through March 10, 2015). A public hearing was held on February 23, 2015 to receive verbal comments regarding the proposed regulations. Comments were received by the following:
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Per regulation 4.2, stress management is included in the core curriculum of the training course required for certification.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The regulations allow the Office of Animal Welfare to certify existing training courses, such as those offered in other states, which meet the standards set forth in 5.1. However, the organization or institution providing the training may not be an animal shelter in Delaware. To clarify, the Agency will revise regulation 5.1 to read "Any organization or institution desiring to conduct a euthanasia technician certification education program shall apply to the Office of Animal Welfare and submit satisfactory evidence that it is ready and qualified to instruct students in the prescribed basic curriculum for certifying euthanasia technicians and that it is prepared to meet other standards which may be established by the Office. The organization or institution may not be an animal shelter in Delaware."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Since 1985, Delaware law has permitted euthanasia of shelter animals by someone other than a veterinarian due to the potential volume of animals. The shelters will be responsible for ensuring that anyone who is not a licensed veterinarian, nationally certified euthanasia technician, or licensed veterinary technician performing euthanasia in their facility on shelter animals will be trained and certified according to these regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that when euthanasia is performed, it is done accurately and with compassion, minimizing distress and discomfort. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 10.0 refers to euthanasia practices only, as required by 16 Del.C. §3004F, and therefore cannot be broadly applied to the rest of the facility. The conditions, equipment and supplies required are for the euthanasia area only. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 10.0 is written to ensure the safety of both animals and people. It is important to have the euthanasia room properly equipped in order for a safe and humane procedure to take place. The environment and equipment requirements are in keeping with euthanasia protocols recommended by American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society of the United States and Association of Shelter Veterinarians. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law mandates that animal shelters shall establish and maintain a registry of organizations willing to accept animals for the purpose of adoption or long-term placement, but it does not specify that shelters must work with every rescue group. As rescues are not currently regulated or evaluated by the state or an independent overseer, it is up to the animal shelter to determine which rescues to which they will transfer animals and the criteria they use in evaluating those rescues. So long as the shelters establish and maintain a rescue registry that includes various recues, including breed specific rescues, they have met the requirements of the law. Therefore, the regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The term "unadoptable animals" is not used in the law nor in regulations and therefore, a definition is not required. To clarify, state law does not currently include a provision that animals be classified as "adoptable" or "unadoptable" in making decisions about euthanasia. The law instead lists the conditions that must be met before an animal is euthanized in 16 Del.C. §3004F. None of these requirements includes classifying an animal as "unadoptable". An animal shelter may euthanize an animal provided all six conditions of 16 Del.C. §3004F(b) are met, or if necessary to alleviate undue suffering or to protect shelter staff and/or other sheltered animals from an animal's severe aggression or contagious deadly health condition. As this comment does not address current language in the law or regulations, the regulations will remain as written. In addition, "temperament" is being removed from Regulation 11.1.3. As a result, temperament is only used once in the regulations (8.3) in the context of vaccinations and not euthanasia. Therefore, a definition is not warranted.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Intake is defined in 2.0 as "number of live animals for which the animal shelter assumes responsibility and are admitted for temporary shelter and care", so as to not be interpreted to include animals that are brought in for spay/neuter or returned in the field. The Agency will change "responsibility" to "custody" to clarify this point. In addition, a second sentence will be added to the definition which reads "This shall include animals admitted to the shelter, foster care, or a satellite location."
3.3.4 Shouldn't this read "an approved training course?"
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 3.3.4 to read "Has successfully completed an approved euthanasia training course".
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The shelter veterinarian is the person overseeing the certified euthanasia technicians in the shelter and for that reason, needs to be comfortable with their level of skill and performance. The shelter veterinarian is also in the best position to assess the competency of the technician. However to receive certification by the Office of Animal Welfare, a person must first satisfy the requirements in 3.3, including the submission of proof of proficiency as documented by the shelter veterinarian. Therefore, the regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. This is the minimum requirement and does not preclude further training. Some individuals may require additional practical training, as determined by the shelter or consulting veterinarian, to meet the proficiency requirement. In drafting this regulation, national training programs and other states' regulations regarding euthanasia technician training programs were used as reference. The regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. This provision is included to allow the Office of Animal Welfare to certify existing training courses, such as those offered in other states, which meet the standards established in regulation 5.0. The Agency will revise regulation 5.1 to read "Any organization or institution desiring to conduct a euthanasia technician certification education program shall apply to the Office of Animal Welfare and submit satisfactory evidence that it is ready and qualified to instruct students in the prescribed basic curriculum for certifying euthanasia technicians and that it is prepared to meet other standards which may be established by the Office. The organization or institution may not be an animal shelter in Delaware."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 7.3 to change "may" to "shall".
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The OAW already has enforcement authorization under 16 Del.C. §3008F and has the powers to conduct investigations or inspections as necessary. Therefore, the regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the last sentence of 8.3 to read "Vaccines shall be given as soon as safe to do so and be administered by a licensed veterinarian, a veterinary technician, or trained shelter personnel under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician or animal care manager."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the second sentence of 8.4 to read "Exam must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, veterinary technician, or shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician or animal care manager.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise 10.1 to read "… or a person certified by a licensed veterinarian as proficient to perform euthanasia (hereby referred to as certified euthanasia technician) after completion of the certification requirements outlined in regulation 3.0. The certified euthanasia technician is only permitted to perform euthanasia on shelter animals within the animal shelter of which they are employed. No one other than the shelter or consulting veterinarian may perform euthanasia on privately owned animals."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 5.3 mentions these three organizations - AVMA, HSUS and AHA - as having OAW approved euthanasia technician training courses. Therefore, shelter veterinary staff should have the flexibility to have available the manual of the training program in which they participated. In addition, all three manuals are considered to be suitable reference materials for staff. The regulation does state "current copy" of euthanasia reference manual, requiring that the most current version to be used. The regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency is making a revision to regulation 10.2.5 to address this issue, and will read "All chemical agents, pre-euthanasia anesthetics and euthanasia drugs used in the euthanasia area shall be clearly labeled, logged, and stored according to state and federal laws."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 10.4 addresses emergency situations involving a severely injured or ill animal where attempting to move the animal would cause greater pain. The same rules governing who can perform euthanasia in an animal shelter as stated in 10.1 apply here. The regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. As stated in Section 11.1.3, intracardiac injection is only to be used as a last resort when intravenous or intraperitoneal cannot be successfully administered due to animal's physical condition, and it is only to be administered by a veterinarian. Further, the regulation states that intracardiac (IC) injection may only be performed on a deeply anesthetized or unconscious animal so the animal is unable to feel pain. IC is currently an acceptable method of euthanasia listed in the most current edition of AMVA Guidelines (2013), pages 27-28. In certain cases, a veterinarian will need to deem the most appropriate and most humane method, and should have the discretion to make that judgment based on the situation. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. There may be medical conditions in which animals cannot be rehabilitated or that pose a significant health risk to animals or staff, such as Rabies. The purpose of this regulation is to minimize distress to the animals, should such a scenario arise. The Agency will revise the second sentence of 11.9 to read "When selected for euthanasia by the shelter veterinarian, mother animals should be euthanized prior to their offspring."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. In following the guidelines outlined by the AVMA and Association of Shelter Veterinarians, regulation 13.0 requires a combination of criteria in reliably confirming death. Verification of death by cardiac puncture is an acceptable method. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 13.0 applies to any animal that dies in a shelter, not only animals that were euthanized. Rigor mortis is a definitive method for verification of death and would be a sufficient way to confirm death if an animal dies in a shelter of natural causes. As such, rigor mortis should remain in this section. To clarify, rigor mortis is one way that shelters may confirm death, it is not a requirement. They may instead verify by using stethoscope or by cardiac stick syringe. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The regulation does meet FOIA requirements, and statistics are being gathered on a quarterly and annual basis. A violation of this subsection is a violation of the law. Penalties are described in 15.3. However, to meet state requirements for state-funded organizations, and requirements set by 24 DE Admin. Code 3300, subsection 2.1.9, the Agency will revise regulation 14.5 to read "Records must be maintained for minimum of 48 months from the date created unless otherwise directed by the Department."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The regulation states that inspections will be performed at least annually, and that additional inspections may be conducted as the Department deems necessary. The regulations will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Proper authorities for Title 9 would be the Counties. Shelters are not exempt from Title 9. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Penalties are described in 15.3. The timeframe will be determined as appropriate to the specific situation and the type and severity of the violation. The Agency will revise 15.3.1 to change "may" to "shall".
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Training for shelter personnel, beyond training for certified euthanasia technicians, is not required by law and is therefore provided at the discretion of each animal shelter. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response:: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law as currently written concerns sheltered animals that may be suitable for adoption or placement. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the definition of "Euthanasia rate" in regulation 2.0 Definitions to read "is the number of animals, by animal type, in custody of an animal shelter that have been euthanized. This shall not include euthanasia of privately owned pets."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 11.1.3 to remove the word "temperament". As stated in Section 11.1.3, intracardiac injection is only to be used as a last resort when intravenous or intraperitoneal cannot be successfully administered due to animal's physical condition, and it is only to be administered by a veterinarian. Further, the regulation states that intracardiac (IC) injection may only be performed on a deeply anesthetized or unconscious animal so the animal is unable to feel pain. IC is currently an acceptable method of euthanasia listed in the most current edition of AMVA Guidelines (2013), pages 27-28. In certain cases, a veterinarian will need to deem the most appropriate and most humane method, and should have the discretion to make that judgment based on the situation. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 14.0 clarifies reporting requirements required by law, which will result in uniform data reporting from all animal shelters. In addition, definitions for adoption, euthanasia rate, and intake rate are included in regulation 2.0 to eliminate confusion and inconsistency in data reporting. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 11.2 will be revised to read "Pre-euthanasia anesthetics shall be administered to animals who are aggressive, severely distressed, or frightened as directed by the shelter veterinarian. This does not prevent the use of pre-euthanasia anesthetics for other animals as instructed by the shelter veterinarian."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The shelters will be responsible for ensuring that anyone who is not a licensed veterinarian, nationally certified euthanasia technician, or licensed veterinary technician performing euthanasia in their facility on shelter animals will be trained and certified according to these regulations. Any cost associated with meeting this requirement will be the obligation of the shelter or employee and may vary depending on where the training is obtained. However, to assist the animal shelters with compliance in the initial year, training is being provided at no cost to the shelters by the Office of Animal Welfare in spring 2015. In addition, the euthanasia training course is fully detailed in regulation 4.0. Therefore, a definition is not necessary. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The shelter veterinarian is the person overseeing the certified euthanasia technicians in the shelter and for that reason, needs to be comfortable with their level of skill and performance. The shelter veterinarian is also in the best position to assess the competency of the technician. Because each trainee may have a different level of skill and experience, a uniform approach will not work for all. The regulation needs to give the veterinarian some flexibility to exercise their own discretion in assessing competency. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency reserves the right to define additional standards based on changing industry standards or continuing education needs of certified persons. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 7.4 to read "Any concerns regarding the technical proficiency of euthanasia, the ability to accurately confirm death, professional behavior, or the handling of animals being euthanized of a certified euthanasia technician shall be directed to the Office immediately."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the second sentence of 8.4 to read "Exam must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, veterinary technician, or shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician or animal care manager.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law, 16 Del. C. 30F, applies only to animals in custody of an animal shelter, not privately-owned animals. Therefore, a certified euthanasia technician would not ever be allowed to euthanize a privately-owned animal. The Agency is making a revision to 10.1 to read "… or a person certified by a licensed veterinarian as proficient to perform euthanasia (hereby referred to as certified euthanasia technician) after completion of the certification requirements in regulation 3.0. The certified euthanasia technician is only permitted to perform euthanasia on shelter animals within the animal shelter of which they are employed. No one other than the shelter or consulting veterinarian may perform euthanasia on privately owned animals."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. As stated above, the law applies only to animals in custody of an animal shelter, not privately-owned animals. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. As stated in regulation 10.2.4.2, the cages are available "to hold an animal waiting for the pre-euthanasia anesthetic or euthanasia drug to take effect, if needed." The purpose is not so multiple animals can be in the room at the same time, and therefore, does not conflict with 11.9. To clarify, the Agency will revise 10.2.4.2 to read "Holding cages of the appropriate size available to hold an animal while waiting for a pre-euthanasia anesthetic or euthanasia drug to take effect, if needed, should be easily accessible in or near the room. These cages shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. If these cages are in the euthanasia room, and occupied, no other animal may be euthanized at the same time pursuant to 11.9."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 10.2.5 to read "All chemical agents, pre-euthanasia anesthetics and euthanasia drugs used in the euthanasia area shall be clearly labeled, logged and stored according to state and federal laws."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 14.1 includes some clarifying language that has been added to the law, 16 Del. C. §3007F. This language can be found in 14.1.6 and 14.1.7. When modifying a list, it is standard to include the whole list for context. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Penalties for violations of the 16 Del. C. 30F are detailed in 16 Del. C. §107(a). Regulation 15.3.1 further describes the range of corrective actions that may be ordered for violations, and will be determined by the Office depending on the specific situation. As stated in 7.3, certified euthanasia technicians may have their certificate revoked by the Office. In addition, 16 Del. C. §3006F describes any violation of euthanasia method and procedure, 16 Del. C. §3004F(d) constitutes a class A misdemeanor and shall be punishable as provided by law. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Any citizen may come forth with a complaint concerning alleged violations of this subchapter. The Office of Animal Welfare's law enforcement professionals will analyze each complaint to determine if it falls within the scope of authority of the Office of Animal Welfare and if there is probable cause to launch an investigation. Not all complaints are posted online, only those where violations are found. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. As stated in Section 11.1.3, intracardiac injection is only to be used as a last resort when intravenous or intraperitoneal cannot be successfully administered due to animal's physical condition, and it is only to be administered by a veterinarian. Further, the regulation states that intracardiac (IC) injection may only be performed on a deeply anesthetized or unconscious animal so the animal is unable to feel pain. IC is currently an acceptable method of euthanasia listed in the most current edition of AMVA Guidelines (2013), pages 27-28. In certain cases, a veterinarian will need to deem the most appropriate and most humane method, and should have the discretion to make that judgment based on the situation. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Although we recognize and understand the case for using an alternative title, the term "certified euthanasia technician" is currently in the Delaware Shelter Standard Law and to change that term would require an amendment to the law. The term "certified euthanasia technician" is the industry-recognized term in animal sheltering to identify shelter personnel, who are not veterinarians, that have received specific training in performing euthanasia in animal shelters. We consulted many other states' regulations and national animal welfare organizations for reference and this term is used broadly. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. To clarify, no money is being taken from the state spay/neuter fund to cover training costs. The shelters will be responsible for ensuring that anyone who is not a licensed veterinarian, nationally certified euthanasia technician, or licensed veterinary technician performing euthanasia in their facility on shelter animals will be trained and certified. Any cost associated with meeting that requirement will be the obligation of the shelter or the employee and may vary depending on where the training is obtained. However, to assist the animal shelters with compliance in the initial year, training is being provided at no cost to the shelters by the Office of Animal Welfare in spring 2015. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law does not require additional training for licensed veterinary technicians, so requiring it in regulations would contradict the law. We will, however, strongly encourage the training for any licensed veterinary technicians working in animal shelters that will be performing euthanasia of shelter animals. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise 4.2.3 to read "Proper dose calculation and record keeping, proper storage, handling and disposal of pre-euthanasia anesthetics and euthanasia drugs in accordance with state and federal laws."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. As stated in Section 11.1.3, intracardiac injection is only to be used as a last resort when intravenous or intraperitoneal cannot be successfully administered due to animal's physical condition, and it is only to be administered by a veterinarian. Further, the regulation states that intracardiac (IC) injection may only be performed on a deeply anesthetized or unconscious animal so the animal is unable to feel pain. IC is currently an acceptable method of euthanasia listed in the most current edition of AMVA Guidelines (2013), pages 27-28. In certain cases, a veterinarian will need to deem the most appropriate and most humane method, and should have the discretion to make that judgment based on the situation. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise 6.3 and 6.4 to five business days.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Compassion fatigue training is included in the initial certification training. The Agency agrees that continuing education involving compassion fatigue would be valuable for euthanasia technicians and all animal shelter staff, however, such training is not readily available. Due to the uncertainty of availability and cost of training, we cannot make it a requirement, only a recommendation. The Agency will work to identify compassion fatigue training opportunities or resource materials for shelter staff as they become available. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 11.1.3 to remove the word "temperament".
The fact that all Delaware shelters euthanasia policy manuals and procedures, as mandated by Delaware Code, were not presented to the public by the Office of Animal Welfare to consider for this public comment period, to me, is lackadaisical. The fact that the proposed regulations put forth by the Office of Animal Welfare reads very similar to the proposed regulations submitted by the Delaware Department of Agriculture in 2013 (16 DE Reg. 1023 04-01-13), seems very disingenuous. Not to mention very disrespectful of the legislators and citizens who worked to create this office to protect Delaware's companion animals that have the misfortune of ending up in the shelter system. I respectfully request that the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare remove any new euthanasia protocols not already specified in Delaware Code until such time as the contracted dog control/animal cruelty agencies have demonstrated a complete and total adherence to Delaware laws already in place. I also respectfully request that the OAW go back to the "drawing board" and redo this entire process. Copying and pasting previously submitted regulations is unacceptable. And thoughtless.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Delaware law requires that any animal shelter performing euthanasia shall have a current policy and procedure manual and that it shall be made available to OAW upon request. However, Delaware law does not require the OAW to share the manuals with the public. 16 Del.C. §3004F(d)(1) mandates that regulations shall be promulgated by the Department regarding acceptable methods of euthanasia in animal shelters. 16 Del.C. §3004F(d)(4) mandates that training and certification requirements for euthanasia technicians shall be established by the Department. These regulations satisfy both mandates. The Office of Animal Welfare reviewed previously-submitted public comments to the Department of Agriculture in drafting these regulations and consulted with the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine. The Office also initiated a contract with a veterinary consultant to draft regulations in alignment with AVMA guidelines and industry standards. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 11.4 to read "Large animal species shall be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian proficient with the handling of horses and livestock."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the second sentence of regulation 8.4 to read "Exam must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, veterinary technician, or shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician or animal care manager."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the second paragraph of regulation 1.0 to remove the word "companion".
2.0: We ask that the terms "Severely aggressive" (to mean posing an imminent danger to staff) and "Aggressive" (to mean exhibiting defensive but trainable behaviors, such as food/treat guarding or aggression toward other animals) be added to the list of definitions to distinguish the levels of aggression since these terms influence outcomes for animals held in shelter.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The term "severely aggressive" is not used in the regulations and therefore cannot be included in the definitions. The term "aggressive" is only used once in regulation 11.2 and is not used in a manner where severity of aggressiveness is relevant. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
5.1: We are concerned that there will be lack of consistency in euthanasia training, and therefore a range of quality of training, if each shelter is allowed to develop an in-house training program. Regulation 5.1 seems to grant the authority to do so. How could the Office of Animal Welfare possibly monitor a shelter's in-house training to assure quality of training and to ensure that practical training criteria are met satisfactorily?
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. This provision is included to allow the Office of Animal Welfare to certify existing training courses, such as those offered in other states, which meet the standards established in regulation 5.0. The Agency will revise regulation 5.1 to read "Any organization or institution desiring to conduct a euthanasia technician certification education program shall apply to the Office of Animal Welfare and submit satisfactory evidence that it is ready and qualified to instruct students in the prescribed basic curriculum for certifying euthanasia technicians and that it is prepared to meet other standards which may be established by the Office. The organization or institution may not be an animal shelter in Delaware."
7.4: Will OAW have a policy for handling whistle-blower complaints about improper or unprofessional behavior with regard to euthanizing animals?
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Any citizen may come forth with a complaint concerning alleged violations of this subchapter. The Office of Animal Welfare's law enforcement professionals will analyze each complaint to determine if it falls within the scope of authority of the Office of Animal Welfare and if there is probable cause to launch an investigation. The Office has policies and procedures for processing complaints. All investigative reports are confidential, and we protect the privacy of persons who report complaints to our Office.
8.4: We are concerned with the vagueness of the language "shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment" in that there should be specificity on the knowledge and training required. Certainly a person with veterinary training would presumably be able to assess an animal's health adequately, as would a person with animal behavioral training to be able to assess temperament and behavioral issues. Persons without such skills should be assessing neither health nor temperament. We know that some shelters, including FSAC-SPCA, routinely use a boxed "temperament test" to make life-or-death decisions about animals rather than for behavioral modification training, for which the tests were intended; FSAC's rate of euthanasia of dogs "due to aggression" is disproportionately high (30 to 43%). We are concerned about animals being unfairly labeled "severely aggressive" and euthanized before the 72-hour (or 5-day) holding period. We ask that some guidelines be developed for employing such tests by laypersons to assess temperament and that the terms "severely aggressive" and "aggressive behaviors" be distinguished from one another.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise the second sentence of 8.4 to read "Exam must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, veterinary technician, or shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician or animal care manager." Regarding euthanasia decisions based on aggression, 16 Del.C. §3002F(a) states that animal evaluation and testing protocols for newly impounded animals are to be developed with a licensed veterinarian. Additionally, 16 Del.C. §3004F(c) states that the decision to euthanize an animal immediately to "protect shelter staff and/or other sheltered animals from an animal's severe aggression" shall be made by a licensed veterinarian.
9.0: Animal Adoption, Recovery and Rehabilitation, fails to address 3004F (a) and (b) that require animal shelters to meet certain conditions before an animal is euthanized, including transferring to another shelter or a rescue group and maintaining a rescue registry, per 3003F(d). We believe that it would be beneficial to Delaware citizens to have access to a publicly posted, state-maintained rescue registry so they know who to contact for help rescuing an animal. A state-maintained rescue registry would also maintain fairness by eliminating discriminatory practices by some shelters that result in fewer animals being saved. There should be valid reasons why any rescue would be removed from such a list, such as loss of nonprofit status or business license, committing fraud, or animal cruelty, for example. If the state is unable to maintain a statewide rescue registry, it should require that each shelter make its rescue registry available to OAW upon request.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law mandates that animal shelters shall establish and maintain a registry of organizations willing to accept animals for the purpose of adoption or long-term placement, but it does not specify that shelters must work with every rescue group. As rescues are not currently regulated or evaluated by the state or an independent overseer, it is up to the animal shelter to determine which rescues to which they will transfer animals and the criteria they use in evaluating those rescues. So long as the shelters establish and maintain a rescue registry that includes various recues, including breed specific rescues, they have met the requirements of the law. With regard to shelters making rescue registries available to OAW, Delaware law, 16 Del.C. §3008F(d), states that "Upon request of the Department, animal shelters shall make available records concerning the requirements of this subchapter." Therefore, the regulations will remain as written.
9.1: We strongly recommend the state invest in a publicly accessible, single online repository for shelters to post identifying information about stray animals in shelter so Delaware pet owners have just one online place to look for lost pets. It's too difficult for owners to relocate lost pets using the current, seriously fragmented, animal control system, and a single online portal could vastly improve our state's pitifully low return-to-owner rate.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 9.1 requires all animal shelters to post stray animals on their website within 24 hours of intake. The purpose of this provision is to aid in the recovery of lost pets by owners searching for them.
10.2.3.8: We believe the euthanasia room should be accessible to a pet owner who is requesting euthanasia so that an owner can remain with his/her pet at the very end of its life until it takes its last breath. This should not be denied to a grieving pet owner.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. These regulations apply only to Animals Held in Shelter, 16 Del.C. Chapter 30F. Therefore, regulation 10.2.3.8 only applies to animals in custody of an animal shelter, not privately-owned animals. If an animal shelter provides euthanasia services for public animals, this procedure may only be performed by a Delaware licensed veterinarian pursuant to 23 Del.C. Chapter 33. The regulation will remain as written.
11.6: We ask that this step be documented in the animal's record, along with the authorization required in 11.7.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Department has the authority to request protocols and documentation concerning this regulation. The regulation will remain as written.
11.7: There should be documentation (e.g., signed checklist) to support that the shelter did indeed exhaust reasonable alternatives, per the conditions under 3004F(a) and (b), before it euthanized an animal.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Department has the authority to request protocols and documentation concerning this regulation. The regulation will remain as written.
14.0: Recordkeeping: It is our understanding that shelters should be using the Asilomar format for standardized reporting of shelter statistics, including euthanasia. We believe this should be in the regulations and a shelter should not be allowed to create its own particular line/category that is not in the Asilomar Accords and that misrepresents its statistics, for example, by including animals that are not actually held at the shelter (e.g., an animal brought in by a member of the public for a spay or neuter). This apparently relates to the intake rate in the regulations.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Current law does not mirror the requirements of the Asilomar Accords. However, Regulation 14.0 serves to clarify reporting requirements which will result in uniform data reporting from all animal shelters. In addition, definitions for adoption, euthanasia rate, and intake rate are included in regulation 2.0 to eliminate confusion and inconsistency in reporting. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
14.1.9, 14.1.10 & 14.3: We ask that copies of any and all records of examination notes, vaccinations, and medical treatment, as well as health history if known, travel with the animal when that animal is adopted or transferred to another shelter or rescue organization. This will help remove some of the mystery surrounding each animal's health and prevent over-vaccinating the animal.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will add regulation 14.6 to read "A medical history to include examinations, vaccinations, and all medical treatment shall be provided in written form with the animal at the time of adoption or transfer."
14.3: We ask that OAW specify that records should be easily accessible. When the New Castle County (NCC) Auditor's Office engaged a contractual auditor to audit Kent County SPCA's (now FSAC-SPCA's) compliance with the NCC contract, the auditor's report stated, "As noted elsewhere in the report, Audit had great difficulty retrieving and assessing information on these elements. Some of the records on euthanasia test items could not be located. Many of those that were retrieved were pulled from folders that were in boxes in no obvious order."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. 16 Del.C. §3008F(d) states, "Upon request of the Department, animal shelters shall make available records concerning the requirements of this subchapter." The regulations will remain as written.
15.3: We realize that the OAW does not have authority under the current law to issue more severe sanctions for noncompliance than what 16 Del.C. §107(a) allows. We hope that the OAW will work the State Legislature to have harsher penalties for severe violations of the law.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments.
15.1.2: We don't understand why an inspection would just be looking at compliance with 16 Del.C. Section 3008F. We believe the inspection should encompass the whole of Chapter 30F, "Animals Held in Shelter." We ask that it be edited to read, "…compliance with or violations of 16 Del.C. Chapter 30F or of these regulations for animals held in shelter."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will edit the first sentence of regulation 15.1.2 to read, "… compliance with or violations of 16 Del.C. Ch. 30F."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The shelters will be responsible for ensuring that anyone who is not a licensed veterinarian, nationally certified euthanasia technician, or licensed veterinary technician performing euthanasia in their facility on shelter animals will be trained and certified. Any cost associated with meeting that requirement will be the obligation of the shelter or the employee and may vary depending on where the training is obtained. However, to assist the animal shelters with compliance in the initial year, training is being provided at no cost to the shelters by the Office of Animal Welfare in spring 2015. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The law does not require additional training for licensed veterinary technicians, so requiring it in regulations would contradict the law. We will, however, strongly encourage the training for any licensed veterinary technicians working in animal shelters that will be performing euthanasia of shelter animals. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The Agency will revise regulation 7.3 to change "may" to "shall".
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 13.0 applies to any animal that dies in a shelter, not only animals that were euthanized. Rigor mortis is a definitive method for verification of death and would be a sufficient way to confirm death if an animal dies in a shelter of natural causes. As such, rigor mortis should remain in this section. To clarify, rigor mortis is one way that shelters may confirm death, it is not a requirement. They may instead verify by using stethoscope or by cardiac stick syringe. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. At this time, the law only applies to animal shelters and therefore, these regulations cannot apply to entities that do not fall under that description. The definition of "animal shelter" can be found in regulation 2.0 Definitions.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Regulation 8.0 - 8.4 provides clarity for the provisions of the law that address shelter care and treatment, specifically 16 Del.C. §3002F. To make further changes would involve an amendment of the law, which is outside the statutory authority given to the Agency.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. 16 Del.C. §3004F(d)(1) mandates that regulations shall be promulgated by the Department regarding acceptable methods of euthanasia in animal shelters. 16 Del.C. §3004F(d)(4) mandates that training and certification requirements for euthanasia technicians shall be established by the Department. These regulations satisfy both mandates. Should the animal shelter management decide that euthanasia be administered by a person who is not a licensed veterinarian, nationally certified euthanasia technician, or licensed veterinary technician, regulations 3.0-7.0 apply. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Delaware law requires that animals must be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and that they be vaccinated against specific diseases. It does not mandate that adopted animals be microchipped. The requirement that shelters be open to the public after normal business hours, including evening and weekends, is for the purpose of increasing opportunities for people to reclaim lost pets and to create increased opportunities for adoption. The specific hours of operation, as well as adoption policies and procedures are left to the individual shelters to define. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. According to 16 Del.C. §3003F(c)(2) and regulation 9.1, each animal shelter is already required to post found animals on their website within 24 hours of taking custody of that animal. Additionally, 9 Del.C. §910(c) already requires a person report a found dog to the appropriate agency within 48 hours of finding that dog. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Any citizen may come forth with a complaint concerning alleged violations of this subchapter. The Office of Animal Welfare's law enforcement professionals will analyze each complaint to determine if it falls within the scope of authority of the Office of Animal Welfare and if there is probable cause to launch an investigation. The Office has policies and procedures for processing complaints. All investigative reports are confidential, and we protect the privacy of persons who report complaints to our Office. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Accurate records and data are essential for monitoring the health of the animals and ensuring basic standards of care. Documenting correct origins, descriptions and location of animals also plays an important role in reunification of lost pets with owners. Lastly, records are necessary to verify adherence to law. The records detailed in this regulation follow the recommendations outlined in the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, recognized as industry best practices. They are also similar to other states' requirements for record keeping by animal shelters. Documentation does not need to be computerized, but it does need to be legible. Sample forms are widely available for shelter professionals from organizations such as Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida's website. The regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The definition for euthanasia will remain as written. The methods by which euthanasia may be performed are outlined in Regulation 11.0.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The regulations in question concern animals held in shelter only, not privately-owned animals. Animals who are dead on arrival or who are privately owned patients receiving spay/neuter surgeries or veterinary care should not be included in data reflecting the shelter intake population. The proposed definition of "intake" is intended to ensure uniform data reporting representing live animals admitted to the shelter's possession and their disposition, as recommended by the Asilomar Accords and National Humane Federation. The Agency will revise the definition of "Intake rate" in 2.0 to read "means the number of live animals for which an animal shelter assumes custody and are admitted for temporary shelter and care. This shall include animals admitted to the shelter, foster care, or a satellite location."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. Any citizen may come forth with a complaint concerning alleged violations of this subchapter. The Office of Animal Welfare's law enforcement professionals will analyze each complaint to determine if it falls within the scope of authority of the Office of Animal Welfare and if there is probable cause to launch an investigation. The regulation will remain as written.
In closer examination of Section 15.0, I found it odd that only violations are mentioned and there's no mention of a definition of a warning. 15.3.1 states "The Department shall have the power to issue orders to correct deficiencies and to impose penalties pursuant to Delaware Code Title 16, Section 107(a)." Question: Who sets the defined penalty between not less than $100 or more than $1,000? The referenced statutes also states that "All fines and penalties assessed by the Department under this statute shall be retained by the Department in order to defray costs associated with the lead-based paint poisoning prevention program." After reading the entire penalty section, it appears the penalties statute is written for violations of the lead-based paint program and has nothing to do with animal welfare.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. To clarify, the only statute referenced for penalties is 16 Del.C. §107(a) which applies to anyone who fails to comply with the regulations adopted by the Department. Lead-based paint penalties are described in 16 Del.C. §107(d) and are not referenced in the regulations. The amount assessed for penalties will be determined by the Department and will be based on the type and severity of violation.
Policy 15.3.1 states "Violations must be corrected within a time frame established by the Department." This language is vague and, at the very least, should define the minimum correction time for an organization. Compare that to Delaware Code Title 9, Subsection 0903(c) for kennels which reeds "If, upon inspection or investigation, the premises or facilities are found not to satisfy the requirements for the humane handling and care and treatment of dogs specified in Subsection 904 of this title, the operator of premises or facilities shall be issued a warning identifying the deficiencies. Such operator shall have a minimum of ten business days to bring the premises or facility into compliance with Section 904 of this title."
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The timeframe for correction will be determined as appropriate to the specific situation and the type and severity of the violation. Ten days, for instance, would not be appropriate where the health and welfare of animals is in imminent danger. Therefore, the regulation will remain as written.
Agency Response: The Agency appreciates and acknowledges these comments. The State Veterinarian has authority within Title 3, Agriculture, and the Shelter Standards Law is under Title 16, Health and Safety. The Office worked in consult with a Delaware licensed veterinarian in drafting these regulations.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed State of Delaware Regulations for Animals Held in Shelter are adopted and shall become effective May 11, 2015, after publication of the final regulation in the Delaware Register of Regulations.
1.1 These regulations are promulgated by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services pursuant to 16 Del.C. §§3004F(d) and 3008F(a) pertaining to animal shelter standards and shall apply to any animal shelter as defined in Section 2.0.
1.2 The overall purpose of these regulations is to promote and ensure the protection and care of [companion] animals in animal shelters and to increase opportunities for their placement and adoption. They also establish requirements for humane euthanasia of animals held in animal shelters.
"Adoption" means the permanent transfer of ownership/guardianship of a companion animal from a shelter to a new owner/guardian.
"Animal shelter" means a public or private facility which includes a physical structure that provides temporary or permanent shelter to stray, abandoned, abused, or owner-surrendered animals and that is operated, owned, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other nonprofit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. "Animal shelter" shall not include individuals providing temporary foster care to animals in their home or to animal rescue groups sheltering animals on an individual's private property.
"Applicant" means a person that has submitted an application for certification as an euthanasia technician in an animal shelter for which they work.
"Certified euthanasia technician" is the designation to be used for the individual defined according to 16 Del.C. §3004F(d)(4d). "Certified euthanasia technician" means a person certified by a licensed veterinarian and the Office of Animal Welfare, after passing both a written and practical examination, as proficient to perform euthanasia in an animal shelter setting.
"Department'' means the Department of Health and Social Services or its duly authorized representatives.
"Euthanasia" is the act of inducing painless death.
"Euthanasia rate" is the number of animals[, by animal type,] in custody of an animal shelter that have been euthanized. This shall not include euthanasia of privately owned pets.
"Intake rate" means the number of live animals for which an animal shelter assumes [responsibility custody] and are admitted for temporary shelter and care. [This shall include all animals admitted to the shelter, foster care, or a satellite location.]
"Licensed veterinarian" means a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine pursuant to Title 24.
"Licensed veterinary technician" means an individual licensed as a veterinary technician pursuant to Title 24.
"Office" means the Office of Animal Welfare or its duly authorized representatives.
"Pre-euthanasia anesthetics" means drugs administered prior to the administration of the euthanasia drug, which render an animal unconscious, immobilized, and with total loss of ability to perceive pain while retaining functions vital for life.
3.2 Individuals seeking certification as a euthanasia technician shall submit a written application documenting their qualifications to the Office of Animal Welfare, Carvel Building, 1901 N. Dupont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720.
3.3.4 Has successfully completed [a an approved] euthanasia training course;
3.3.6 Demonstrates proficiency [in euthanasia procedure] under the direct supervision of the shelter's staff veterinarian or consulting veterinarian.
6.3 Certificates shall be kept on file at the euthanasia technician's place of employment. A shelter shall notify the Office of Animal Welfare in writing, no later than [10 days 5 business days] from the date of termination or resignation, of a Certified Euthanasia Technician's employment.
6.4 A Certified Euthanasia Technician shall notify the Office within [10 days 5 business days] of change of employment from one Delaware animal shelter to another Delaware animal shelter, if applicable.
7.4 Any concerns regarding the technical proficiency of euthanasia, [the ability to accurately confirm death,] professional behavior, or the handling of animals being euthanized of a certified euthanasia technician should be directed to the Office immediately.
8.4 An examination of animals entering an animal shelter shall be performed within 72 hours of entry. Exam must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, veterinary technician, or shelter personnel with knowledge and training in animal health assessment [under the direction of a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or animal care manager]. In rare circumstances where handling of an animal may be unsafe, the exam may be done visually with the reason for a visual exam clearly documented. Written examination findings must be kept in the animal's record and a copy provided to the Department upon request.
10.1 Euthanasia shall be performed by a licensed veterinarian, a licensed veterinary technician, a nationally certified euthanasia technician, or a person certified by a licensed veterinarian as proficient to perform euthanasia (hereby referred to as certified euthanasia technician) [after completion of the requirements outlined in regulation 3.0]. The certified euthanasia technician is only permitted to perform euthanasia [on shelter animals] within the animal shelter of which they are employed. [No one other than the shelter or consulting veterinarian may perform euthanasia on privately owned animals.]
10.2.4.2 Holding cages of the appropriate size available to hold an animal while waiting for a pre-euthanasia anesthetic or euthanasia drug to take effect, if needed[, should be easily accessible in or near the room]. These cages shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. [If these cages are in the euthanasia room, and occupied, no other animal may be euthanized at the same time pursuant to subsection 11.9.]
11.1.3 Intracardiac injection by hypodermic needle may be performed only by a licensed veterinarian and only when performed on a deeply anesthetized [or unconscious] animal to whom intravenous or intraperitoneal cannot be successfully administered due to animal's [temperament or] physical condition.
11.2 Pre-euthanasia anesthetics shall be administered to animals who are aggressive, severely distressed, or frightened as [outlined directed] by the shelter veterinarian [or shelter euthanasia manual]. This does not prevent the use of pre-euthanasia anesthetics for other animals as instructed by the shelter veterinarian [or individual shelter protocol].
11.4 Large animal species [should shall] be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian proficient with the handling of horses and livestock.
11.9 No animal shall be permitted to observe or hear the euthanasia of another animal, nor permitted to view the bodies of dead animals. This provision shall not apply to puppies and kittens with their mothers. When selected for euthanasia [by the shelter veterinarian], mother animals should be euthanized prior to their offspring. The puppies or kittens should be euthanized immediately following the mother.
14.5 Records must be maintained for a minimum period of [24 48] months from the date created unless otherwise directed by the Department.
15.1.2 The Department or its duly authorized representative(s) shall have the power to enter at all reasonable times, during ordinary business hours, for the purpose of determining whether or not there is compliance with or violations of 16 Del.C. [§3008F Ch. 30F]. If violations outside the scope of authority of the Department are discovered, such as violations that could be considered crimes under Title 9, the Department will notify the proper authorities.
15.3.1 Notice of a violation [may shall] be accompanied by an order that requires corrective action be taken. Violations must be corrected within the timeframe established by the Department. The order shall be signed by the Director or his/her designee or any of his/her appointed representatives and may require:
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
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