Delaware has launched a new enforcement unit to better protect animals across the state.
On Thursday, the Division of Public Health’s Office of Animal Welfare revealed more about the unit that will be known as Delaware Animal Services (DAS). The unit will manage animal cruelty reports and all cases that deal with people who have been exposed to the rabies virus.
“With this new centralized animal control program, the Office of Animal Welfare can ensure animal control and enforcement services will be provided in a consistent and sustainable manner, to the benefit of all Delawareans and their pets,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Division of Public Health.
DAS was created after the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation last year to centralize animal control responsibilities within the state. The Office of Animal Welfare worked closely with a number of county, city, and state representatives as well as local animal shelters and welfare organizations to form a state-run animal control unit.
“After hearing the concerns of the counties and members of the public, we felt this was the best path forward,” Dr. Rattay said. “By consolidating services, we can ensure that the services we offer are consistent and aligned with public expectations.”
The launch of Delaware Animal Services is ahead of schedule, after First State Animal Center-SPCA, which held contracts with the state terminated services earlier than expected. As contracts with outside providers expire, Delaware Animal Services will slowly assume responsibility in Sussex, Kent and New Castle counties.
Also during this transition, the Office of Animal Welfare will partner with the Chester County SPCA to temporarily shelter animals detained during animal cruelty investigations.
In the meantime, people can report animal cruelty incidents at 302-255-4646 or via email at DelawareAnimalServices@state.de.us.