Issues And Legislation

Learn about the Issues.
Learn about what is happening in other states.
The more knowledgeable you are, the more effective you’ll be in helping the animals.

Current Issues in Delaware

Find your State Senator using our Delaware Senate Contact Sheet.
Find your State Representative using our Delaware House of Representatives Contact Sheet.
Or Visit to find out who your State Legislators are?

Current Animal Welfare Bills

Senate Bill 156: An Act Relating to the Import, Sale, Purchase, Trade, Barter or Possession of Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn

Sponsors: Sen. Karen Peterson (D-District 9), Rep. Sean Lynn (D-District 31)

Status: Passed Senate; awaiting to be assigned to a committee in the House.
  • This bill would ban the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn within the State of Delaware.
  • Wildlife trafficking is an escalating global crisis that the President has identified as a threat to our national interests.
  • Elephant and rhino poaching may soon drive the species to the brink of extinction because of high demand for their ivory tusks and rhino horns.
  • Cruel ivory and rhino horn trade impacts not just animals but also exacts human tolls. During the last decade, over a thousand park rangers across the world have been killed by poachers while on duty.
  • The U.S. is the second largest retail market for ivory in the world. Numerous states are joining the national and global movement to save these imperiled species.
  • State efforts would greatly complement federal implementation and enforcement in cracking down on the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade.

Senate Bill 217, An Act Relating to Stray Livestock, Dogs, Dangerous Dogs and Animal Control

Sponsors: Sen. Patricia Blevins (D-District 7), Rep. Earl Jacques (D-District 27), Sen. Karen Peterson (D-District 9)

Status: Passed the Senate and House. Awaiting Governor Markell’s signature.
  • This bill moves animal control laws to the Office of Animal Welfare, provides improvements to how dangerous dog cases are managed, and provides added protections to dogs left outside during National Weather Service warnings.
  • Updates the hearing process for dangerous and potentially dangerous dog cases to ensure fairness and consistency.
  • All dangerous dog cases will be heard by Justice of the Peace Court instead of an independent volunteer Dog Control Panel.
  • Removes the annual deadline for purchasing a dog license, and instead, establishes a rolling renewal date per the date the dog license was purchased.
  • Updates responsibility for stray livestock response to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, with support from animal welfare officers of the Department of Health and Social Services.
  • Replaces the variety of terms used for persons enforcing dog control, rabies, and dangerous dog laws throughout the Delaware Code to one consistent term – “animal welfare officer.”
  • Updates provisions for dogs housed outdoors during a local alert from the National Weather Services (i.e. blizzard, hurricane, etc.)

House Bill 220, An Act Relating to Animal Fighting and Baiting

Sponsor: Rep. Sean Lynn (D-District 31), Sen. Karen Peterson (D-District 9), Sen. Colin Bonini (R-District 16)

Status: Passed the Senate and House. Awaiting Governor Markell’s signature.
  • This bill would enable the prosecution of animal fighting under Delaware’s Racketeering and Organized Crime Statute.
  • Animal fighting is organized crime. Animal fights are organized events in which people conspire to generate income via illegal acts with most of the acts continuing over an extended period of time.
  • Animal fighting goes hand in hand with other illegal activities. Law enforcement officials have documented a strong connection between animal fighting and the distribution of illegal drugs. Drug enforcement agents often learn about animal fighting operations as a result of narcotics investigations.
  • Firearms and other weapons are common at animal fights, mainly because of the large amounts of cash present.
  • Illegal gambling is the norm at cockfights and dogfights. Thousands of dollars can exchange hands as spectators and animal owners wager large sums on their favored dogs or birds. The owners of animals who win the most fights may win tens of thousands of dollars of presumably unreported income.

Federal Legislation

No issues pending. Please check back.

Contact information for U.S. Congressmen for Delaware:

Senator Tom Carper Phone: (202) 224-2441
Senator Chris Coons Phone: (202) 224-5042
Representative John Carney Phone: (202) 225-4165

General Information on Delaware Legislation

As animal-related bills are introduced in Delaware, they will be posted to the HSUS state web site.
To read a short synopsis of each bill, or to view the entire bill, please click here.

To follow Legislation in the Delaware General Assembly, including Meeting Schedules and Bill-Tracking, visit the State of Delaware Official web site.

General Information on Federal Legislation

A number of bills to protect animals at the federal level are being considered.
To read a short synopsis of each bill, or to view the entire bill, please click here.

For in-depth analysis and the latest status on various bills, go to Animal Law Coalition.