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NY Assembly to Vote on Two Important Dog Measures

(Thursday, January 09, 2014)
The New York Assembly will soon vote on two bills that will have a significant impact on New York dog owners. New York residents are strongly encouraged to contact your State Assemblyperson and ask them to support Assembly Bill 3952 (prevent breed discrimination in insurance)and oppose Assembly Bill 1204 (ban on debarking procedures).

Both of these bills passed the Assembly in 2013, but died in the Senate. They were both immediately placed on a calendar on the first day of the 2014 session, meaning they can now be voted on in the Assembly any day.

To find the name and contact information for your New York State Assemblymember, click here and type in your address. A full list of Assemblymember e-mail addresses can be found here.

Assembly Bill 3952 – Prevent Breed Discrimination in Insurance

Assembly Bill 3952 prohibits insurers from refusing to issue, renew or cancel or raise premiums for homeowners’ insurance based solely on the breed of dog (or mixed-breed) 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.

New York state law already expressly prohibits municipalities from passing laws that target specific breeds of dogs. AKC GR supports A. 3952, which would ensure that the rights of dog owners are also protected when obtaining homeowners’ insurance. At the same time, it does allow insurance companies to impose a “reasonably increased premium or rate” or to cancel or deny a policy if the applicant owns a dog that has been declared dangerous as defined in state law.

Talking Points:

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

Click here for a sample letter to personalize

Assembly Bill 1204 – Debarking Ban

Assembly Bill 1204, which would outlaw the veterinary surgery commonly called “debarking” or “bark softening”, has been scheduled for a vote by the NY Assembly.

The AKC opposes this measure, which would restrict the rights of responsible dog owners to make viable, safe decisions on behalf of their pets in conjunction with their veterinarians.

There is much misinformation about the veterinary surgical procedure of debarking. Debarking is a viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog owner to keep a dog in its loving home rather than to be forced to euthanize or surrender it to a shelter when the pet's noisy behavior continually disrupts the community.

Debarking should only be performed under anesthesia by a qualified veterinarian after behavioral medication efforts to correct a dog’s 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.

Talking Points:

Read the AKC’s position statement on debarking

Read AKC’s Issue Analysis: Dispelling the Myths of Cropped Ears, Docked Tails, Dewclaws, and Debarking

View a sample letter to personalize

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.