“Matthew’s Law” Protects Pets of Deceased Humans
Legislation/Policy Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Nathan Winograd
September 2021

This law now allows someone access into the home of a deceased human to rescue surviving pets.

State of Arizona, House Bill 2507, 2021

Cat Anya

When a man who lived alone with three cats was killed in Arizona, his cousin tried desperately to get in his apartment to rescue his cats. But because Matthew’s cats are considered “property,” she was not allowed out to do so.

Refusing to give up, she was able to get them into rescue but not before they went without food and water for days. One of them was almost dead. She vowed that she would not allow this to happen to anyone else’s pets. And now it won’t.

Even though she lives out of state, she succeeded in getting Matthew’s Law passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. Matthew’s Law requires a landlord to ask for an emergency pet contact in the event the renter dies or becomes incapacitated. If that happens, it allows a landlord to release an animal to that person or deem an animal abandoned and remove the animal to an animal shelter or rescue if the landlord is unable to contact the authorized person or that person fails to respond in a timely manner.

Of course, it is mind-boggling that this needs to be legislated or that anyone would allow cats to go without food or water when they have the power to rescue them. But thankfully, this law was passed.

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