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The New York Senate Domestic Animal Welfare Committee is scheduled to consider several bills on Monday impacting New York dog owners and future dog owners.  New York residents are urged to contact the committee to express your comments prior to the hearing (scroll down for contact information).

Bills on the agenda for the Monday, February 3 hearing include:

Senate Bill 4577A – Establishing Red and Blue Alerts for Companion Animals Outside in Extreme Weather

As written, Senate Bill 4577 would restrict dogs being outdoors in certain temperatures.  The Department of Agriculture would be required to issue a Blue Alert when the temperature will reach 25 degrees or lower without precipitation (or 32 degrees or lower with precipitation), or when the wind chill will be zero degrees or lower for more than two hours.  A Red Alert would be issued when the heat index will be 95-99 degrees for at least two consecutive days, and any time the temperature reaches 100 degrees F.  When an alert is issued, no animal may be left outside or in a vehicle without proper shelter or protection.

The AKC completely agrees that no dog should ever be left in dangerous weather where their health and safety could be at risk.  However, our concerns with this bill are that since it includes specific temperatures, it does not take into account that certain breeds thrive outside these temperatures, nor does it consider that some breeds require a more moderate climate and even a brief time in temperatures permitted under this proposal could jeopardize the dog’s health.

AKC greatly appreciates that the bill has been amended to exempt working dogs and situations when appropriate shelter is provided (taking into account the dog’s breed and physical condition), and when shade is provided when the sun could threaten the animal’s health.  However, it remains unclear whether the shelter is required when a dog is outside for a brief period of time, and also whether it is required when the dog is not left unattended. AKC is asking for clarification, as we understand in speaking to the sponsor’s office that the intent is to target those that are truly harming dogs.

AKC supports current New York law that requires when dogs are left outdoors without ready access to a permanent shelter, residence, apartment, etc., appropriate shelter must be provided to protect them from inclement weather likely to adversely impact the animal.  The dog’s age, physical condition, breed, and other factors are taken into consideration in this requirement.

Senate Bill 4234A – This bill would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs or cats.  Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency.

Current law requires that pet dealers (defined in part as anyone who sells more than 9 dogs a year that are not bred and raised on their property) must comply with extensive consumer protection laws.

The measure also specifically removes retail pet stores from the definition of “pet dealer”.  As such, they are also removed from the requirements that protect the health and welfare of dogs and enable consumers to know the health and background of the animal prior to sale.  In addition, even though the bill allows animals to be “showcased” that are available for adoption, it is not immediately clear if background information or information on the shelter or rescue is required.

Read AKC’s previous alert for more talking points.  For additional talking points, read AKC’s position statement on Pet Choice, and the article Why Pet Shop Laws Affect You.

Other bills under consideration include:

S. 186 – This bill expands the definition of aggravated cruelty to animals to include harming a companion animal during the commission of a felony.

S3959C – This bill, called “Buoy’s Law”, requires veterinarians to provide certain information regarding the risks and side effects of certain medications prior to issuing a prescription.

What You Can Do:

New York residents are encouraged to contact the Senate Domestic Animal Welfare Committee prior to the hearing on Monday, February 3 at 11:00 am to express concerns with S.4234, and comment on S. 4577.  If you are a constituent, please be sure to mention that when contacting their office.

Monica R. Martinez, Chair (Hauppauge)
District Office: (631) 360-3356
Albany Office: (518) 455-2950

Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (Howard Beach)
District Office: (718) 738-1111
Albany Office: (518) 455-2322

Phil Boyle (Bay Shore)
District Office: (631) 665-2311
Albany Office: (518) 455-3411

Simcha Felder (Brooklyn)
District Office: (718) 253-2015
Albany Office: (518) 455-2754

Pete Harckham (Carmel)
District Office: (845) 225-3025
Albany Office: (518) 455-2340

Jen Metzger (Middletown)
District Office: (845) 344-3311
Albany Office: (518) 455-2400

James Tedisco (Clifton Park)
District Office: 518-885-1829
Albany Office: 518-455-2181

For questions or more information, contact AKC Government Relations at