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New York Debarking, Pet Dealer Bills Advancing

(Thursday, February 14, 2013)

Two bills in New York impacting dog owners were approved by the Assembly Agriculture Committee and now advance to the Codes Committee:

Assembly Bill 1204 would outlaw the veterinary procedure commonly called “debarking”. Much misinformation exists about this procedure. Debarking does not prevent a dog from barking, but rather softens the volume of a dog’s bark so it is not as loud and offensive to neighbors. This procedure is performed by a qualified veterinarian, using a laser or biopsy tool. Debarking may be a viable option when other attempts to correct excessive barking have failed. Ensuring that debarking can remain safe and legal is crucial to ensuring the wellbeing of dogs whose excessive barking creates a problem in the community. Without the option to debark a dog, owners of pets whose noise is disruptive could otherwise be forced to relinquish their pets where they will be housed at a shelter or euthanized.

Assembly Bill 740 clarifies that counties and municipalities can regulate “pet dealers”, so long as the laws are not less stringent than state law. “Pet dealer” is defined in current law as those who sell 9 or more dogs/year. Breeders who raise dogs on their residential premises are exempt, so long as they sell under 25 dogs/year. This bill could allow for strict, burdensome new laws for those who meet the definition of “pet dealer” and also likely create a confusing patchwork of local laws that will be difficult to enforce.

Read AKC’s previous Legislative Alert for more information and talking points on these bills.

New York residents are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the Assembly Codes Committee – as well as your State Assemblymember – and express your concerns with Assembly Bills 1204 and 740.

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide updates as they become available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

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