Second Chance Founder Calls for Change to Help Homeless Pets in Massachusetts

EAST BROOKFIELD — Second Chance Animal Services CEO and founder Sheryl Blancato is calling for a change in state regulations that place what she calls an unfair burden on Massachusetts animal shelters. Massachusetts is the only state that requires shelters to isolate pets from out of state for 48 hours even though they come in with health certificates.

Blancato said the quarantine period is a huge financial burden for shelters and is contrary to national best practices, causing undue stress on these pets with longer hold times in isolation before being allowed to be put up for adoption. She authored an online petition to change regulations, which has already received more than 3,000 signatures.

In the petition, Blancato states, “it’s time to help homeless pets in Massachusetts by demanding that the state follow the ASV (Association of Shelter Veterinarians) national best-practice standards and stop burdening shelters with regulations that go against what is national best practices so we can get more homeless pets in homes.”

Blancato also noted another major hurdle to helping homeless pets. “Pet-supply stores generously offer free adoption centers within their buildings so shelters can bring in rescue animals to promote their adoption, but the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture treats the animals as if they are now owned by the pet-supply stores, requiring shelters to pay for a vet exam every seven days instead of what is in the shelter regulations. These animals do not become pet-supply-store-owned animals simply by being brought into the building. No pet that has already been deemed healthy and ready for adoption needs to go to the vet every seven days (instead of every 180 as is required in the shelter regulations). This puts another unnecessary burden on shelters for financial costs. These wonderful adoption centers in these stores are often a lifeline for shelter pets to get seen and adopted.”

Blancato encourages animal lovers to read and sign the petition and contact local legislators. “We could help many more pets if Massachusetts was like every other state in the country that welcomes homeless pets into the state with a health certificate. These health certificates are issued by a veterinarian and state that the pet is healthy and can travel. Every other state in the country accepts this without the burden of a 48 hour hold except Massachusetts.”

Click here to read the complete petition.