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NY ALERT: Insurance, Debarking, Other Dog Bills To Be Considered Thursday, 4/26

(Tuesday, April 24, 2012)

Several bills important to dog owners will be considered by two committees of the New York Assembly on Thursday, April 26, 2012. The American Kennel Club encourages all concerned New York dog owners to consider the provisions of these bills, and to contact the respective committee members with their concerns.

ASSEMBLY BILL 3507AB 3507 prohibits insurers from refusing to issue, renew or cancel or raise premiums for homeowners insurance based on the breed of dog owned by the policyholder. The bill does allow for insurance companies to take these actions if the dog has been declared dangerous based on current law, which also already expressly prohibits municipalities from passing laws that target specific breeds of dogs. The American Kennel Club strongly supports AB 3507 as currently written, and encourages all dog owners to write the members of the Assembly Insurance Committee and encourage them to pass AB 3507.

Read the AKC's policy position statement on "Dangerous Dog Control Legislation".

Read AKC's one-page issue brief with talking points on breed-specific legislation.

Assembly Insurance Committee Contact Information:

Assemblyman Joseph Morelle (Chairman)
Phone: 518-455-5373
E-mail: morellej@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti
Phone: 518- 455-5753
E-mail: abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman George Amedore
Phone: 518-455-5197
E-mail: AmedoreG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman William Barclay
Phone: 518-455-5841
E-mail: BarclaW@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush
Phone: 518-455-5759
E-mail: blankenbushk@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein
Phone: 518-455-5425
E-mail: braunsteine@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Marc Butler
Phone: 518-455-5393
E-mail: ButlerM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Nancy Calhoun
Phone: 518-455-5441
E-mail: CalhouN@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Vivian Cook
Phone: 518-455-4203
E-mail: CookV@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
Phone: 518-455-5214
E-mail: CymbroS@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Gary Finch
Phone: 518-455-5878
E-mail: FinchG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley
Phone: 518-455-5811
E-mail: HawleyS@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
Phone: 518-455-4926
E-mail: HevesiA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
Phone: 518-455-5385
E-mail: JacobsR@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman George Latimer
Phone: 518-455-4897
E-mail: LatimeG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Charles Lavine
Phone: 518-455-5456
E-mail: LavineC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Guillermo Linares
Phone: 518-455-5807
E-mail: linaresg@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Dan Losquadro
Phone: 518-455-5294
E-mail: losquadrod@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Francisco Moya
Phone: 518-455-4567
E-mail: Click here to access online contact form

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Phone: 518-455-5005
E-mail: PeopleC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman N. Nick Perry
Phone: 518-455-4166
E-mail: PerryN@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow
Phone: 518-455-5291
E-mail: PretloJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Dan Quart
Phone: 518-455-4794
E-mail: quartd@assembly.state.ny.us
Assemblyman Jose Rivera
Phone: 518-455-5414
E-mail: RiveraJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman David Weprin
Phone: 518-455-5806
E-mail: weprind@assembly.state.ny.us

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ASSEMBLY BILL 3431AB 3431 seeks to virtually eliminate the veterinary procedure commonly known as debarking from being performed in the state.  The American Kennel Club opposes AB 3431, and urges all concerned dog owners and breeders in New York to contact the members of the Assembly Agriculture Committee (listed below) and urge them to not move AB 3431 out of Committee.
In 2010, the AKC Board of Directors adopted the following position statement on debarking:

"Debarking is a viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog owner to keep a dog that barks excessively in its loving home rather than to be forced to surrender it to a shelter. Debarking should only be performed by a qualified, licensed veterinarian after other behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive barking have failed. As with other veterinary medical decisions, the decision to debark a dog is best left to individual owners and their veterinarians."

The AKC believes that much misinformation exists about the debarking of dogs. This procedure, which is performed by a veterinarian using laser or biopsy technology, is safe and relatively non-invasive. It is an acceptable medical procedure that is often done as a "last resort" when all other methods of modifying a dog's behavior have failed. For many responsible owners, debarking is the only alternative to euthanizing or surrendering their canine companion to a local shelter when their pet's noisy behavior continually disrupts the community.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also shares these concerns. "Canine devocalization should only be performed by qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed." (Read more here).

This problematic bill would:

  • Restrict veterinarians from performing surgical devocalization procedures, except for cases when it is medically necessary to treat or relieve a physical illness, disease or injury or correct a congenital abnormality suffered by the animal that causes or may cause physical pain or harm.

  • Impose stiff penalties for violators, including imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000. Courts may also order violators to complete humane treatment courses or be barred from owning or keeping a dog or cat or sharing a residence with another who owns or keeps a dog or cat for a period of time to be determined by the court. Veterinarians who perform the procedure in violation of AB 3431 will be subject to license revocation or suspension.

Assembly Agriculture Committee Contact Information:

Assemblyman William Magee, Chairman
Phone: 518-455-4807
E-mail: MageeW@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman George Amedore
Phone: 518-455-5197
E-mail: AmedoreG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto
Phone: 518-455-5296
E-mail: benedettom@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush
Phone: 518-455-5797
E-mail: blankenbushk@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Harry Bronson
Phone: 518-455-4527
E-mail: bronsonh@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Marc Butler
Phone: 518-455-5393
E-mail: ButlerM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch
Phone: 518-455-5741
E-mail: CrouchC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Gary Finch
Phone: 518-455-5878
E-mail: FinchG@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther
Phone: 518-455-5355
E-mail: GuntheA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley
Phone: 518-455-5811
E-mail: HawleyS@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton
Phone: 518-455-5444
E-mail: LiftonB@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Peter Lopez
Phone: 518-455-5363
E-mail: LopezP@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Alan Maisel
Phone: 518-455-5211
E-mail: MaiselA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey
Phone: 518-455-4755
E-mail: MarkeyM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman John McEneny
Phone: 518-455-4178
E-mail: McEnenJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Francisco Moya
Phone: 518-455-4567
E-mail: Click here to access online contact form

Assemblyman Bob Reilly
Phone: 518-455-5931
E-mail: ReillyR@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman José Rivera
Phone: 518-455-5414
E-mail: RiveraJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Peter Rivera
Phone: 518-455-5102
E-mail: RiveraP@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal
Phone: 518-455-5802
E-mail: RosentL@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Addie Russell
Phone: 518-455-5545
E-mail: RussellA@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz
Phone: 518-455-4404
E-mail: simanowitzm@assembly.state.ny.us

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ASSEMBLY BILL 269AB 269 seeks to increase the penalty for repeat convictions of animal cruelty to a Class E felony, if convicted within five years from the date of a prior conviction. Class E felony convictions include up to four years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. The American Kennel Club has a zero-tolerance policy regarding animal cruelty and encourages all dog owners to contact the members of the Assembly Agriculture committee (listed above) in support AB 269.

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The Assembly Agriculture Committee is also scheduled to consider Assembly Bill 1327, which seeks to allow municipalities to set license fees for unspayed or unneutered dogs; and Assembly Bill 1766, which relates to the creation of an animal cruelty and animal fighting database.

For more information, contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.