Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, gets a call at least once a month from a law enforcement officer or a landlord about a pet left behind after a renter is evicted from their home.
Now, a new state law in New York will require police who are serving eviction notices to check a property for pets and ensure that any animals in the home either leave with their owners or find other housing. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation on Thursday.
Humane Society spokesperson Adrienne McHargue says the new regulation will further protect pets in these situations.
"There was nothing in the (law) that ensured that animals were going to be treated specially in situations like this, so now they are compelled to do that,” she said. “Basically, they have to work to reunite the pet with the owner, or get the (animal) to a humane society or SPCA to take care of them."
McHargue says it's best if a pet owner contacts Lollypop Farm as early as possible if they find out they are facing eviction. The Humane Society will work to find alternate housing for the animal.
Under the old law, animals such as dogs, cats, birds or fish were treated like non-living property. That meant animals could be left behind for days or even abandoned.