Brannan Introduces Legislation To Create Department of Animal Welfare

BAY RIDGE — On Monday afternoon City Councilman Justin Brannan tweeted a skunk sighting. “Skunk amok in #Bay Ridge? I’m here for it,” the tweet read. Now Brooklyn’s favorite vegetarian lawmaker is turning his animal rights advocacy into legislation through a slate of animal rights bills.

Councilman Justin Brannan. Photo: Courtesy of City Council

Brannan introduced legislation to establish the first-ever Department of Animal Welfare at the City Council Stated Meeting. Currently, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is solely responsible for all animal welfare in New York City.

The new department would oversee all animal shelters with the authority to issue and revoke a shelter’s business license. An appointed commissioner will head the department, which would have the authority to enter into contracts with animal shelters. The bill mandates the department prepares and submits reports on any businesses acting as an animal shelter.

The DOHMH will continue to work with the new animal welfare department to enforce animal sterilization laws.

“The Speaker and I know we need to work harder to make New York City a more humane city,” said Brannan. “With this package of legislation, we are making serious strides in that direction.”

Following the enactment, the mayor and Speaker Corey Johnson will appoint an 11-member Animal Welfare Advisory board. The board will advise the commissioner and suggest policy and legislative recommendations for the new department.

Separately, the slate of animal welfare bills also prohibits non-medical-related de-clawing and the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits by pet shops who source from mills. The latter of which is a take on a proposed state-wide bill State. Sen. Gianaris introduced.

While no skunk legislation was proposed, Brannan conjured the words of fellow vegetarian, Gandhi, to drive home his message.

“The activists who have tirelessly pushed for progress know this well, but it bears repeating, ‘the greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,'” he said.

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Kadia Goba

Former Politics Reporter for Bklyner, covering Brooklyn politics and Crown Heights/PLG/Bed Stuy. @kadiagoba


  1. good grief Gandhi never said that ever..and he was a racist to boot.. this man has not idea what he is talking about he needs more protein and less fat.. eat a steak

  2. Is this serious? He is trying to create a law that deals with and controls animal welfare.
    What’s wrong with this guy? There’s homeless people, people losing there homes and people in deprived situations. I can think of a thousand things that have priority. Take the food off his plate and watch him squeel. Let’s be real now people!

  3. Nice. Property taxes go up to pay for their useless programs, they force congestion pricing on poor middle class workers who just want to get home on time, homeless people are everywhere.. but he wants to waste our time and money on this

  4. Thank you, Justin Brannan for helping those who can’t speak up for themselves. I’m sure you can handle more than one issue at a time and help for these animals is long overdo. NYC ACC is well known for horrific conditions in their “shelter”. Most of the animals that do make it out alive, only get out due to the tireless efforts of rescues and people networking every night from the nightly death list. Once on that list, they have only 18 hours for a miracle. And it doesn’t always come. One fact most people might not know is that when they’re dragged to that room in the back, they don’t even give them one last show of compassion by injecting a sedative before injecting the burning poison that will kill them. It’s not peaceful like when you take your own pet to the vet when the time comes. In that hellhole, they are almost guaranteed to get kennel cough, which fast tracks them to the death list. Also, they’ll put them through the surgery to spay and neuter, only to kill them in a day or so anyway. I could go on but, I’d Just like to thank you for stepping up when so many others think, “THAT’S what you’re working on? It’s just a dog”. Sometimes people can forget that you can care about several things at the same time.

  5. Hard to see how a new bureaucracy that not only covers city activities but also private concerns will do anything but add to the layers of paper pushers who earn a salary but don’t really achieve anything.

    PS LInda,
    The CACC (yes, I know that’s it’s old name) is NOT a hellhole. I have worked with them for years to re-home dogs. The employees want to re-home every dog but seriously what can you do with an adult dog of a big, strapping type that has been used for “protection” and has bitten? And no, they do not neuter/spay the dogs until they have a home or facility to be released to. There is enough work for all who want to help. Stop with the hysteria.

  6. Salix, I apologize if you took my comment to mean the workers and volunteers don’t do their best for the animals. I was talking about those at the top who are responsible for the decisions covering many facets of how the place is run. The volunteers and workers try their best. I still stand by my comment about dogs going through the surgery to be neutered, only to be killed while they’re healing. I didn’t say all of them go through this. But enough to make you scratch your head and make you wonder why they bother to put them through it, and waste the money. Money they could have used to give the poor things something to put them to sleep before administering the fatal dose of poison.
    You have worked with them. I really appreciate you getting in there and walking the walk. You must love animals. Aside from the ones that were used for protection and bite, you must know something about animal behavior. You might agree that some of those thrown into a scary situation react in a way that might not normally be how they really are. Picture yourself being thrown into something similar with people doing behavior assessments on you. Strangers prodding you, grabbing your hands, putting fake hands in your face as you try to eat, all to see how you’ll react. It’s safe to say a fair amount of humans would react the same way. It’s terrifying, like being thrown into a prison where you hear the other inmates shouting all day and the ones in charge won’t (can’t) communicate with you. Nightly, we read about the silent kills or the dogs that had someone coming for them and were killed before they got there. No, I’m not talking about the ones who reserve a dog and never show up. Nightly, the list goes out and the panic starts. You must have experienced it yourself. Is 18 hours enough time to save a life? If it was for me, I’d feel hopeless. In those 18 hours, people have to sleep and spend time getting to work and school. That’s a chunk out of those 18 hours that is made useless. I’ll try to be fair and say only half the dogs come out with kennel cough. The new owners then have to pay the expense of seeing them through that.
    Why is it, at their adoption events, do they not bring along the dogs on that days kill list, to give them one last chance to live? I have been to the protests and follow the groups who try to pull these animals to save their lives. There is one lady who comes all the way from Holland to try and support change in this system that is rotten at the top. The way she describes Holland’s shelter system makes us look like barbarians in one of the greatest cities. They are completely no kill. The shelters have grass and runs and are more like boarding facilities you see on tv. If a dog has a complaint lodged against it, the owners are brought in for training sessions. Surely we can at least try to do better.
    Again, apologies if you misunderstood. The workers and volunteers are the best. It’s a heartbreaking job that they do,out of love for animals.

  7. Well said Linda. I watch that At Risk list every si god night and have seen countless good animals killed for kennel cough and minor or exaggerated behavioral issues. Some are just puppies a year old and under for leash biting and mouthing. It is horrific! I cry every single night for these poor voiceless living beings. Something has to stop the madness there and reign in the people who run that place! The olunteers and the every day workers are wonderful!

  8. Support No Kill CAPA-NY. CAPA is Companion Animal Protection Act. Shelters who are NoKill have positive economic impact on the surrounding communities, they are more successful in adopting out pets, have more fosters, are open admissions. AUSTIN, TX and dozens of other places.

    To learn about CAPA
    Organizations like ASPCA who claim to support no kill always try to stop CAPA because those organiizations use animals to generate donations for fundingg and then kill them by sending them to kill shelterd.
    Hopefully Councilman Brannon will study and support CAPA. And shame on those who resort to ad-hominen attacks, grow-up.

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