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May 24, 2019

The New York Senate Domestic Animal Welfare Committee will be considering several bills on Thursday, May 30, including one that would regulate the appropriate temperature for a dog to be outside.  Those who reside or participate in dog shows, field trials, and other dog events in New York are encouraged to contact the committee.  Let them know how this would impact your dogs and events and explain the steps you already take to ensure your dogs are protected.

Summary:

Senate Bill 4577 would require the Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue “red and blue code alerts” through public service announcements to notify all owners of companion animals in the area to bring their animals inside.

A “blue alert” must be issued when the temperature will reach 25 degrees or lower without precipitation, 32 degrees or lower with precipitation, or if the wind chill will be below zero degrees Fahrenheit for at least two hours.  A “red alert” must be issued when the heat index is forecasted to be 95-99 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two consecutive days, or temperatures will reach 100-104 degrees for any length of time.

No one may leave a companion animal outside or in a vehicle when an alert has been issued.  Those in violation will be given a warning, and if they do not comply, the animals may be seized.

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 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.

Other bills on the agenda:
The committee is scheduled to consider two other bills at the May 30 hearing:

  • Senate Bill 5054 expands the list of who may remove an animal from a vehicle when the animal is in imminent danger, to include EMS personnel, paid firefighters, or volunteer firefighters (if they are specifically called in the course of their duties as a volunteer firefighter to assist the animal). Current law allows police officers, peace officers, and peace offers acting as agents of humane societies duly incorporated in New York.
  • Senate Bill 5087 expands the penalty for those convicted of aggravated cruelty. Current law requires that the penalty must be a definite sentence not to exceed two years.  This bill removes this limit.  “Aggravated cruelty” is defined as acts where a person intentionally kills or severely injures an animal with an intent to cause prolonged pain, or when it is done in a sadistic manner.

What You Can Do:
Contact the members of the Senate Domestic Animal Welfare Committee.  Respectfully express your concerns with Senate Bill 4577 and ask that specific temperatures be removed from the bill.  If you are a constituent, please mention that when contacting their office.

Monica R. Martinez, Chair (Hauppauge) – Sponsor of S. 4577
District Office: (631) 360-3356
Albany Office: (518) 455-2950
Email: martinez@nysenate.gov

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

Phil Boyle (Bay Shore)
District Office: (631) 665-2311
Albany Office: (518) 455-3411
Email: pboyle@nysenate.gov

Pete Harckham (Carmel)
District Office: (845) 225-3025
Albany Office: (518) 455-2340
Email: harckham@nysenate.gov

Jen Metzger (Middletown)
District Office: (845) 344-3311
Albany Office: (518) 455-2400
Email: metzger@nysenate.gov

Zellnor Myrie (Brooklyn)
District Office: 718-284-4700
Albany Office: 518-455-2410
Email: myrie@nysenate.gov

James Tedisco (Clifton Park)
District Office: 518-885-1829
Albany Office: 518-455-2181
Email: tedisco@nysenate.gov

For more information on these bills or other legislation pending in New York, contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org.

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