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The Ulster County (NY) Legislature is hosting a public hearing on Wednesday, September 8, to take public comment on proposed changes to the county’s tethering laws.

Those who reside or participate in dog events in Ulster County are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing, and contact the Legislature to express concerns and request clarifying amendments (Scroll down for hearing and contact information).


Ulster County Proposed Local Law 3 amends the county tethering law.  “The intent,” the proposal states, “is for a person to tether a dog outside no longer than necessary.”

In order to accomplish this, the proposal makes the following amendments (click the link above to read the proposal in its entirety):

  • Clarifies that a dog shall not be tethered outside when weather conditions “pose an adverse risk to the health and safety of a dog, based on breed, age or physical condition…” AKC agrees and supports this statement.  However, the provision goes on to state that extreme heat or cold limitations include ambient temperatures at or above 80 degrees, or below 35 degrees.

    AKC is requesting that the provision regarding specific temperatures be removed. Some dogs, depending on the breed, thrive in temperatures outside this range.  Similarly, other dogs will suffer if they spend even a brief amount of time in temperatures allowed under this proposal.  AKC believes that any language seeking to regulate dogs outdoors should be based on the breed, age, general health of the dog and its ability to handle the environment – rather than arbitrary weather and temperature restrictions.  Read AKC’s Issue Brief “Dogs in Inclement Weather” for more information.

  • Current law states that a stationary tether may not be less than 10 feet, or 5 times the length of the dog (whichever is greater). This proposal clarifies that the tether must also prevent the dog from reaching hazards including a pool, fence, porch, or other animals.  Depending on the size of the yard and the placement of the tether, it could be difficult to comply with this clarification while keeping the length at 10 feet.  AKC instead recommends that the tether be an appropriate length to avoid harm and keep the animal from danger.
  • Current law states that a dog may not be tethered outside for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. Proposed Local Law 3 would change this provision to instead state that a dog may not be tethered more than 5 consecutive hours or a total time in excess of 10 hours, nor may they be tethered outside from 10pm to 6am.  Local AKC clubs are requesting an amendment to state that this does not apply when the dog is outside with the owner, or in the owner’s line of sight.
  • Under current law, those who violate the law three times will be fined $1,000 and/or 150 hours of community service, and could be required to surrender the dog (if ordered by the court). This is especially troublesome considering that under this proposal dogs may not be outside even if they are able to not only tolerate the temperatures, but thrive in them.  Further, under this proposal, those who violate the law must register with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry.

What You Can Do:

AKC strongly believes and agrees that no dog should be left in conditions where their health and safety are at risk.  However, the arbitrary and unclear provisions in this proposal could punish responsible dog owners and potentially harm some dogs.  We encourage Ulster County dog owners to do the following:

Attend the hearing and respectfully express your concerns with the proposal as written.  The hearing details are as follows:

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
5:15 pm*
County Office Building, Legislative Chambers, 6th Floor
244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY
Please note that masks are required for any who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine

*While the online agenda states the hearing begins at 5:15, the hearing could begin earlier depending on the amount of time taken on the previous agenda item.  Legislative staff recommend all those wishing to comment to be seated in the Legislative Chambers no later than 4:55 pm to ensure an opportunity to speak.

Contact the members of the County Legislature and respectfully express your concerns with Proposed Local Law Number 3.  Be sure to mention if you are a constituent:

David B. Donaldson, Chairman (Dist. 6 – City of Kingston)
(845) 399-8709, (845) 331-8985

Tracy A. Bartles, Vice Chair (Dist. 16 – Town of Gardiner, Town of Shawangunk)
(845) 255-0804

Jonathan R. Heppner, Majority Leader (Dist. 23 – Town of Woodstock, Town of Hurley)
(845) 594-3141

Kenneth J. Ronk, Jr., Minority Leader (Dist. 13 – Town of Shawangunk)
(845) 728-3276

Mary Wawro (Dist. 1 – Town of Saugerties)
(845) 246-1017

Al Bruno (Dist. 2 – Town and Village of Saugerties)
(845) 399-7288

Dean Fabiano (Dist. 3- Town of Saugerties, Town of Ulster)
(845) 246-2067, (845) 389-5201

Brian Cahill (Dist. 4- Town of Kingston, Town of Ulster)
(845) 336-5217

Abe Uchitelle (Dist. 5 – City of Kingston)
(845) 481-0041

Peter Criswell (Dist. 7 – City of Kingston)
(845) 481-3264

Laura Petit (Dist. 8 – Town of Esopus)
(845) 340-1293

Herbert Litts, III (Dist. 9 – Town of Lloyd, Town of Plattekill)
(845) 741-1997

Mary Beth Maio (Dist. 10 – Town of Lloyd, Town of Marlborough)
(845) 546-7878

Thomas Corcoran, Jr. (Dist. 11- Town of Marlborough)
(845) 527-5139

Kevin A. Roberts (Dist. 12 – Town of Plattekill)
(845) 566-7663

Craig V. Lopez (Dist. 14 – Town of Shawangunk, Town of Wawarsing)
(845) 382-9664

John Gavaris (Dist. 15 – Town of Wawarsing, Village of Ellenville)
(914) 388-3665

James Delaune (Dist. 17 – Town of Esopus, Town of New Paltz)
(914) 475-4342

Heidi Haynes (Dist. 18 – Town of Hurley, Town of Marbletown)
(845) 224-1806

Manna Jo Greene (Dist. 19 – Town of Marbletown, Town of Rosendale)
(845) 687-9253

Eve Walter (Dist. 20 – Town and Village of New Paltz)
(845) 340-3900

Lynn Archer (Dist. 21 – Town of Rochester, Town of Wawarsing)
(845) 626-7358

John R. Parete (Dist. 22- Towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive, and Shandaken)
(845) 332-5438