New York Legislature Passes Three Measures Impacting Dog Owners, Hunting Dogs

The New York Legislature has adjourned and will likely not reconvene until 2016.  Prior to adjournment, three bills were passed that would directly impact dog owners.  The bills must still be sent to the governor for his approval or veto:

Assembly Bill 6626/Senate Bill 5372 – Allowing Service/Therapy Dogs to Accompany Domestic Violence Victims:

The AKC has submitted a letter to the governor in support of these bills, which will allow victims of domestic violence to bring their service or therapy dogs with them when going to an emergency shelter.  Read AKC’s previous Legislative Alert for more details on this legislation.

Assembly Bill 5956/Senate Bill 4327 – Allowing Dogs in Outdoor Dining Establishments:

The AKC supports these bills, which would allow dogs in outdoor eating establishments if the owner chooses to allow dogs, as long as certain conditions are met.  Dogs must kept on leash or in a pet carrier and cannot be on chairs, benches or other fixtures in the dining area.  The dining area must also follow specific guidelines, including having a separate entrance for diners bringing their dogs and posting clear signage stating that companion dogs are allowed. 

Assembly Bill 7220/Senate Bill 3440 – Clarifications and Changes to Hunting Dog Laws:

These bills will make several changes and clarifications to the laws regarding hunting dogs.  This includes stating that the dog may not be declared “at-large” if the dog is released on a property where hunting is permitted and is wearing a tag, collar or other device that includes contact information for the owner, handler or trainer.  The owner, handler or trainer must also be able to demonstrate that they have a license to hunt pursuant to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Law.  If it cannot be immediately determined that the owner, trainer or handler is in compliance, then they could potentially be charged with an at-large dog violation.

Next Steps:

Each of these bills have passed the legislature but have not yet been sent to the governor. There is no time frame for when the legislature must send bills to the governor.  Once the governor receives the bills, he has 10 days in which to decide whether to sign or veto them. 

A number of other bills impacting dog owners were considered by the legislature this year and will likely be reconsidered in 2016.  AKC will continue to monitor legislation and provide updates.