Aug 8 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Thom Tillis and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) recently introduced the Bring Animals Relief and Kibble (BARK) Act, which encourages pet food donations to animal shelters by amending the liability protections on good-faith donations. The legislation would amend the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which waives liability for good-faith donations that go to non-profits serving humans, by also waiving liability for good-faith donations to animal shelters. 

“Every year, pet stores throw out surplus pet food, which could easily be donated to feed hungry pets in animal shelters,” said Senator Tillis. “This commonsense legislation removes unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions that keep many pet stores from donating food to animal shelters. No shelter pet should have to go hungry when so many pet stores have a surplus of readily available food.” 

Every year, pet stores throw away expired pet food instead of donating to animal shelters out of fear that they can be held legally liable by the shelters. At the same time, animal shelters have struggled to meet the needs of their communities due to inflation and lower donation levels, and in recent months, animal shelters around the country have reported overcrowding, concerns about running low on pet food and a drop-off in charitable donations during the pandemic. 

The BARK Act would help mitigate the food shortages facing shelters, while also helping to reduce the millions of pounds of pet food that end up wasted in landfills each year. The legislation is endorsed by 58 organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, and Best Friends.

Bill text available HERE.