Contact: Brandon J. Vogel
Media Writer, Department of Media Services & Public Affairs
bvogel@nysba.org
518/487-5535

May 8, 2008

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ANIMALS AND THE LAW ANNOUNCES NEW PROGRAM TO ENSURE CARE FOR PETS OF HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS

Encourages Other Hospitals Across the State to Adopt Similar Programs

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association's Special Committee on Animals and the Law announced today a new voluntary program that ensures the pets of hospitalized patients will be given proper care while the patient focuses on his or her health and well being. The program is being launched in partnership with St. Vincent 's Hospital and the Not Home Alone Project.

Under this new program, forms developed by St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattanare now available for download at www.nysba.org/PatientPetCare. The forms help hospital program coordinators determine whether a patient has pets and also provide the hospital with legal authority to access residences and make arrangements to see that pets are cared for while a patient is being treated.

If a patient cannot return home, there are short-term and long-term options available. Patients are typically responsible for the cost of their pet's care, which may be provided by volunteers or third-party commercial services. Hospitals may wish to work with local shelters and rescue organizations in implementing the service.

Committee member Rachel Hirschfeld, in conjunction with St. Vincent's Hospital Patient Pet Care Coordinator, Kate Fischer, are encouraging hospitals across the state to adopt similar programs, which will ensure that the pets of hospital patients are not left unattended, do not end up on the street or sent to a shelter. Individuals who may be interested in working on this program for other hospitals should contact Rachel Hirschfeld , at rhirschfeld@aol.com, the Not Home Alone Project at nothomealoneMA@aol.com, or Kate Fischer at mfischer@svcmcny.org.

The 74,000 member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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