NJ Betsy’s Law a Step Forward for Pets but More Change Needed

Betsy's Law should be amended to require 24-hour supervision at all animal care facilities

“Anyone that takes on the responsibility of caring for pets should take on the responsibility of caring for them in a responsible way.”

Betsy the Rottweiler was still a pup, just 16 months old when she accidentally hung herself in a kennel at a veterinarian’s office. Betsy had gone in for routine eye surgery and was recovering when the incident happened. Her owner, Madeleine Kayser, was told that her beloved dog would need to recover from her surgery and that she would need overnight care. Betsy was wearing an unbreakable collar and hung herself. Kayser worked for eight years to get a protective law signed in the state of New Jersey mandating that veterinary offices and animal hospitals post if they do not offer 24-hour supervision. The law, known as Betsy’s Law, was signed into law September 15. (Story here from CBS New York)

Dick Palazzo, owner of Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts with 45 years experience in the pet care industry, feels the newly signed Betsy’s Law is a good start, but the law should take pet care a step further. Dick believes that any animal care facility (veterinary and animal hospitals, boarding and kennel facilities, pet sitters) should be required to provide 24-hour supervision of animals.

“The unforeseen can happen, and there needs to be someone there who can handle an emergency situation,” said Dick. “To provide proper care, we in the pet care industry have a responsibility to stand up for these pets who can’t stand up for themselves.”

According to Kayser, 90 percent of vet offices and animal hospitals in New Jersey do not have 24-hour care. Dick backs this statistic up, saying that very few pet care facilities offer 24-hour supervision for pets staying overnight.

“You wouldn’t leave your small child alone, so why are we allowing our pets to be left alone for 12 hours?” said Dick. “Especially after a surgery or a procedure that requires monitoring. Anyone that takes on the responsibility of caring for pets should take on the responsibility of caring for them in a professional way.”

Dick believes that when it comes to the care of our beloved pets, the best and most competent practice is 24-hour care, whether the location is a hospital, boarding facility, or pet sitter service. Purr’n Pooch provides staff on-site 24 hours a day to care for any pets staying overnight in both his Tinton Falls and Wall pet resorts.

“We recognize that different pets have different reactions to situations,” says Dick. “A dog may be terrified of a thunderstorm and our staff is trained to recognize the signs of distress and can handle the situation accordingly. If there’s no one there to witness distress, no care can be given.”

Dick believes that Betsy’s Law is a good start in informing the public of the issues that can occur at pet care facilities, but that a stricter and more specific law is needed. He commends the work that Kayser and the Lt. Gov. have done to move toward better and safer care for pets.

“As pet care providers, it is our responsibility to give our pets the best, most thorough care possible,” said Dick. “And this requires 24-hour supervision.”

If you feel the same, please consider writing your local elected officials.

Image courtesy of Christine and David Schmitt | Flickr

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