Current as of: 2011
(a) Any dog, cat or other animal held by or in the custody of an animal shelter and not adopted, transferred to another shelter or animal rescue group, or reclaimed by the owner within 5 days may be euthanized, provided that no reasonable alternatives are available and the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section are met.
(b) Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:
(1) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;
(2) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;
(3) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately-sized primary living space with another animal;
(4) A foster home is not available;
(5) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to § 8003(d) of this title are not willing to accept the animal; and
(6) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that such manager has no other reasonable alternative.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, an animal may be euthanized immediately 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. The determination of whether euthanasia is necessary pursuant to this subsection shall be made by a licensed veterinarian or, in cases of extreme emergency occurring after regular business hours in circumstances under which a licensed veterinarian is not available, by other appropriately trained staff.
(d) Euthanasia method and procedure. --
(1) The Department shall promulgate regulations regarding acceptable methods of euthanasia in animal shelters and regarding sanitation and ventilation of euthanasia areas. The methods included shall be approved or conditionally approved by the most recent American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia.
(2) Any animal shelter performing euthanasia shall have a current policy and procedure manual regarding euthanasia. The policy and procedure manual shall set forth the shelter's equipment, process, and the procedures for individual separation of animals.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 33 of Title 24, euthanasia must be performed by:
a. A licensed veterinarian;
b. A nationally certified euthanasia technician; or
c. A person certified by a licensed veterinarian, after passing both a written and practical examination, as proficient to perform euthanasia. Training and certification requirements shall be established by Department regulation in consultation with the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(4) If euthanasia is by injection, animals in an animal shelter that are amenable to being controlled shall be lowered to the surface on which they are being held and shall not be permitted to drop or otherwise collapse without support.
(5) The trained staff member performing the euthanasia in animal shelters shall remain in attendance between the time procedures to euthanize the animal are commenced and the time death occurs, and shall verify death has occurred using methods to be determined by regulation.
(6) Sodium pentobarbital may be obtained by an animal shelter with required federal and state permits.
Questions & Answers: Cruelty to Animals
Federal Regulations: Cruelty to Animals