July 26, 2019
The Dutchess County Legislature is considering two proposals in an effort to improve animal welfare in the county. AKC Government Relations understands that the proposals are likely to be considered on Monday, August 12. Those who reside or participate in performance or other events in Dutchess County are encouraged to contact the legislature and comment (Scroll down for contact information).
Proposed Resolution 2019204 (Tethering Regulations) – This proposal states that the county “finds it necessary and appropriate to adopt regulations for tethering a canine.” It further states that when a dog is tethered without shelter, it leaves the dog susceptible to adverse weather, wild animals and unwanted human interactions.
Under the proposal, tethering is permitted so long as certain standards are met (including allowing the dog to move in an area not less than 125 square feet, and ensuring that if the tether is attached to a pulley, running line, trolley or cable system, the tether is at least 15 feet long and less than 7 feet above the ground). Dogs tethered for more than 2 hours must have access to shelter, and must not be exposed at any time to animal waste, garbage, or potential attack by other animals, among other requirements.
The proposal also states that the animal cannot be tethered during any weather alert. AKC agrees that no animal should be left outside in dangerous conditions, but it is unclear how this would impact dogs humanely tethered that can tolerate certain weather and conditions (for example an arctic breed that would thrive in being outside even if there is a winter weather watch).
The proposal also states that it is not the intent to require every violator of the proposed tethering law to register as an animal abuse offender (see next proposal for more information). However, the court may require it for severe first-time or persistent violators. This intent is not mentioned in Proposed Resolution 2019205.
Proposed Resolution 2019205 (Animal Abuse Registry) – This proposal would create a county-wide animal abuse registry for violators of certain state animal care and cruelty laws. Violators would be banned from owning or living with an animal for 15 years, unless it is a service or farm animal. If there is a subsequent violation, the person will be listed for life on the registry and permanently prohibited from owning or residing with an animal.
Violations that would require registration include crimes such as dogfighting, poisoning, torturing, and aggravated cruelty. Other violations that would require registration including violations of the state’s ban on ear cropping, and a violation of the state law against throwing items in a public place that could injure an animal. Also, those who have impounded or confined an animal and do not provide food and water every 12 hours must also register.
What You Can Do:
AKC Government Relations understands these proposals will likely be considered on Monday, August, 12; however, the agenda has not yet been released.
Those who wish to contact the county legislature may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (845) 486-2100.
AKC and the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State will continue to closely monitor these proposals and provide more information as it becomes available. For questions, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.