New York’s four-legged finest are now officially representing the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that names the “working dog” as the official New York state dog.
All breeds trained to provide a service are celebrated in this law, from the German Shepherd Dog that stands guard at Grand Central to the Belgian Malinois that patrols with police to the sweet Golden Retriever that leads his visually impaired owner around the city to the many more working dogs around the state.
AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung says of the legislation: "Working dogs provide unparalleled service to individuals and to our communities in a vast array of roles from search-and-rescue, to disease detection, to military and police work, to therapy and service for the disabled. We are extremely pleased by this recognition of the value that all working dogs bring to our lives.”
The inspiration for the bill is Bari, the dog of Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island), who is trained as a therapy dog. Together they are working with non-verbal preschool autistic children and young adults facing adversity, like homelessness and drugs.
Inspired by the work Bari has done, Titone sponsored the bill signed by Gov. Cuomo on Dec. 23.
“Once I actually saw him working and the result of his work, that’s when I knew in my heart of hearts that [sponsoring this bill] was the right thing to do," Titone said.