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AKC Government Relations has just learned that on Tuesday, October 9, the Albany County Legislature is expected to consider two proposals that would have a direct impact on dog owners who reside or participate in events in the county.

If you live in Albany County or participate in dog events, you are encouraged to contact the County Legislature immediately or consider attending tomorrow’s meeting.  Scroll down for more information.

Summary:

Two proposals under consideration could have a negative impact on dog owners in the county.  Click the link and review the two proposals to see how they could impact you.

Proposed Local Law “G” – Tethering Restrictions

The legislative intent of this proposal acknowledges that sometimes animal owners will tether their animals outdoors for a short period of time, and that the goal is to limit outdoor tethering to no more than two hours in a 24-hour period.

However, as currently written, several restrictions appear to not allow for temporary tethering, even if the owner is with the dog.  For example, the proposal states that no one may tether, secure, or restrain a dog to any stationary object outdoors for any period of time if the dog is under 6 months of age.  In addition, no tether may be less than 10 feet in length, even though the proposal also prohibits a tether that could become entangled, allow a dog to move off the owner’s property, or could potentially strangle or harm the dog.

Neither of these restrictions take into account training, temporary tethering if a person does not have a fenced-in yard, temporary tethering for dog shows or performance events, or grooming done outdoors on a grooming table, among other humane activities.

It is also important to note that New York State Law already requires owners to provide proper shelter if a dog is left outdoors without the ability to enter a home or a permanent structure for protection in cases of inclement weather.

AKC believes that a better solution would be for the county to prohibit tethering when the dog’s health and safety are at risk.  This would address the county’s concerns while still allowing for humane tethering.

Proposed Local Law “H” – Dogs in Vehicles
This proposed law seeks to protect dogs left in cars when their health and safety are perceived to be at risk.

Current New York State law already prohibits keeping companion animals in vehicles during extreme heat or cold conditions without proper ventilation or protection from extreme temperatures.  Police officers and peace officers are permitted to enter vehicles to remove animals in these situations.

Proposed Law “H” expands the first responders who may remove dogs from a motor vehicle if they believe it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the animal.  However, the proposal also would allow any person to enter a vehicle if they have a “good faith and reasonable belief… that entry… is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger and harm.”  The person must try to locate the owner first and call law enforcement or 9-1-1, and must remain with the animal until law enforcement arrives.

Under this proposal, any person who enters a vehicle to remove a dog is immune from any criminal or civil liability.  There is no recourse for the owner for damage incurred when the animal in the car was not in danger, or for protection if the dog harms someone as a result of being removed from the vehicle.   These protections are especially important if the animal flees the car and roams at large or bites someone.

Another concern is the risk of dog theft.  A trend on the rise across the United States is known as “dog flipping”, where dogs are stolen and then resold online for a profit.  The statistics have dramatically increased since the AKC began tracking this trend in 2008.

There also is no requirement for immediate veterinary care, which, if the dog is believed to be in imminent danger, should be required.

What You Can Do:

Those who reside or participate in dog events in Albany County are strongly encouraged to express your comments and concerns with these proposals.  Let the legislators know if you are a resident or participate in Albany County events, and what you do to ensure the safety of your dog in these situations.

  • Attend the Legislature meeting on Tuesday, October 9:
    Albany County Legislature Meeting
    Tuesday, October 9, 2018
    Albany County Court House
    16 Lodge Street
    Legislative Chambers, Second Floor
    Albany, NY
    7:00 pm
  • Contact the members of the Albany County Legislature: Visit albanycounty.com/legislature/legislators.aspx to view the names and contact information for the county legislators.

AKC Government Relations and the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State are also communicating with the legislature on these proposals and monitoring any action.  For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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