CAPA, or the Companion Animal Protection Act, is model legislation that can be introduced locally or at the state level, in order to save animals' lives. CAPA does not mandate No Kill. It does, however, mandate general policies in animal shelters that achieve No Kill, an important distinction when speaking with elected officials about introducing or passing CAPA where you live. Speaking about policies and practices and standards in shelters focuses the conversation in a place where it is easier to get buy-in from elected officials.
Fundamentally, CAPA establishes the circumstances in which a shelter can end the life of a healthy or treatable pet. CAPA also requires animal shelters to report their animal outcomes in a clear and transparent way.
The provisions in CAPA are things with which most people assume shelters are already complying, but which, far too often are not. For this reason alone, introducing CAPA in your city, county or state can serve the vital function of raising awareness about how shelters are operating. If shelters publicly oppose CAPA, and the their supporters read the language of the proposed law, shelters can find themselves in a difficult spot trying to explain their opposition, because most people who support animal shelters believe shelters are already doing the things required of CAPA. Even if, after working through the political process to try to pass CAPA, it does not become law, the benefits to introduction are many. Most importantly, it elevates the conversation about shelter operations and standards to a higher level of importance and engages a broader group of people.
Implementing CAPA has been proven to not only save lives, it is cost effective. It increases adoptions, generates income and reduces the average length of stay for shelter pets. Cooperating with local rescue groups gets animals out faster and saves the costs of killing and disposing of the pets.
For all of these reasons, we enourage animal advocates everywhere to talk to their local and state officials about introducing CAPA as law. If you are thinking of doing so, please check our Lobbying 101 Page to begin getting prepared.