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Urgent Call to Action - Oppose NY State Docking Bill

(Tuesday, April 07, 2009)

New York State Assembly Bill 7218 seeks to make the docking of tails unlawful. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Responsible Dog Owners Association of New York both vehemently oppose AB 7218. This bill has been referred to the New York Assembly Agriculture Committee. It is imperative that ALL concerned dog breeders and owners contact the Assembly members listed below and respectfully yet strongly urge them to oppose AB 7218.

As written, AB 7218 would:

  • Make all instances of tail docking unlawful, except those deemed necessary by a duly-licensed veterinarian to protect the life or health of the dog.
  • Make anyone exhibiting a dog with a docked tail subject to a misdemeanor charge, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • Allow any New York animal rights organization to sue a violator for declaratory judgment, via a private right of action, to obtain redress for a violation.

Points to Consider:

  • The AKC recognizes that ear cropping and tail docking, as prescribed in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health, and preventing injuries. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
  • Tails are docked on breeds that are active in the field when those puppies are generally less than 5 days old, and when the tails bones and nervous system are not yet fully formed. Pain if any, is momentary, but this procedure will prevent painful, serious injury later in life. For docked breeds, an intact tail at full-length would result in injured and bloodied tails when the dogs perform the functions for which they were bred. Any inference that these procedures are unnecessary is a severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.
  • Tail docking remains a longstanding, accepted practice for more than 50 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. The criminalization of docking embodied in AB 7218 penalizes dog owners for taking procedures appropriate for the breeds impacted.
  • Owners, in close consultation with their veterinarians—not the government—should make informed decisions about their pets' health care.
  • Once legislators determine they can ban certain elective procedures, they may be just a short step away from removing veterinarians' and owners' rights to make informed decisions about other aspects of animal care and treatment.

What You Can Do:

  • All concerned dog breeders and owners in New York: Please contact your Assembly member and the Assembly Agriculture Committee members listed below to let them know that you are a constituent and urge them to oppose AB 7218.
  • All concerned dog breeders and owners who are not from New York but exhibit their dogs at shows and events in New York: Please contact the committee members listed below. Let them know that you show your dogs in New York and that this measure will impact your ability to visit New York to exhibit your dogs. Respectfully urge them to oppose the measure.
  • Contact your veterinarians and urge them to oppose AB 7218. Point out that veterinarians should be concerned about allowing the government and public opinion too much control over their practices.
  • Share this information with other fanciers and dog clubs. Everyone’s help is valuable!

Assembly Agriculture Committee:

Assemblyman William Magee, Chairman
LOB 828
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4807
MageeW@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Marc S. Alessi
LOB 419
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5294
AlessiM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman George Amedore
LOB 426
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5197
AmedoreG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto
LOB 919
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5296
BenedeM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler
LOB 318
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5393
ButlerM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch
LOB 450
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5741
CrouchC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte
LOB 553
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5284
DelMonF@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito
LOB 621
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5454
DestitR@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Gary D. Finch
LOB 320
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5878
FinchG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Tim Gordon
LOB 529
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5777
GordonT@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther
LOB 435
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5355
GuntheA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley
Room 531 LOB
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5811
HawleyS@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton
LOB 555
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5444
LiftonB@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Peter D. Lopez
LOB 429
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5363
LopezP@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Alan Maisel
528 LOB
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5211
MaiselA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey
LOB 654
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4755
MarkeyM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman John J. McEneny
LOB 648
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4178
McEnenJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Bob Reilly
LOB 452
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5931
ReillyR@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera
LOB 826
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5102
RiveraP@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal
821 LOB
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5802
RosentL@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell
LOB 602
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5545
RussellA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Frank K. Skartados
LOB 545
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5762
SkartadosF@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Al Stirpe
Room 430
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4505
StirpeA@assembly.state.ny.us

RESOURCES:

For a sample letter to Assembly Agriculture Committee members that you can personalize:

  • Please click here if you live in New York
  • Please click here if you live outside New York but exhibit your dogs in New York

For tips on how to effectively communicate with legislators, please click here.

For a copy of our Disagree Diplomatically brochure, please click here.

For more information, contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org; or contact Ann Lettis with the AKC’s state federation, the Responsible Dog Owners Association of New York, at lettis@webtv.net.