The New York State Assembly and Senate are expected to adjourn for the year in just four weeks. As such, dozens of bills are on the move, including many with the potential to impact dog owners.
Please note that some bills are scheduled for hearings tomorrow, or are pending a vote at any time by the full Assembly or Senate.
Highlights of key bills with anticipated action this week are listed below, along with information on how to contact the appropriate legislators:
- 1130/A. 4283 – Retail Pet Store Bans/Rescue Restrictions
Status: Senate Bill 1130 is pending a vote by the full Senate
Assembly Bill 4283 is being considered by the Assembly Codes Committee on Tuesday, May 10.
Summary: These bills will prohibit retail pet stores from selling any dogs or cats. Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency that has no affiliation with breeders. AKC is concerned that this bill removes consumer protection, and also implies that the best place to get a dog is from a rescue or shelter – and not a rescue that is in any way affiliated with breeders. (See previous AKC alert for more information and talking points)
What You Can Do:
S. 1130- Contact your State Senator TODAY and let them know you oppose Senate Bill 1130. Use the “Find Your Senator” tool on the New York Senate website to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.
A. 4283 – The bill is being heard in the Assembly Codes Committee tomorrow, and also must be considered by the Assembly Rules Committee. However, the pressure is building for this bill to be approved as soon as possible. Contact your State Assemblymember and let them know you are a constituent that opposes this bill. Use the Member Search tool on the State Assembly website to find the name and contact information for your Assemblymember.
- 5746 – Wildlife Competition Restrictions (contains AKC amendments)
Status: Pending a vote by the full Assembly
Summary:This bill makes it unlawful to organize, sponsor, or participate in any competition with the object of “taking or hunting wildlife for prizes or other inducement, or for entertainment.” AKC worked closely with the sponsor in previous years and was successful in getting the bill amended to exempt dog training areas, field trials, or “any similar canine performance events.” Other sportsmen groups were successful in obtaining exemptions for hunting competitions for deer, turkey, or bear.
AKC is pleased that our exemption for performance events and dog training continues to be included in the bill. The other sporting exemptions are also included.
What You Can Do:
AKC remains neutral so long as the important protections for performance events and training remain in the bill. Those who wish to contact their State Assemblymember may do so by using the Member Search tool on the State Assembly website.
- Senate Agriculture – Bills on importation, shelter and rescue regulation, and licensing
Status: Hearing TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 10
Summaries:Two bills of interest are being considered tomorrow in committee:
- 8973 – Lost dog recovery and licensure
This is a simple bill that says that if a stray dog is picked up, it can be returned to the owner if the dog is properly licensed. The owner will be determined as the name and address associated with the license. AKC appreciates that this bill will allow lost dogs properly identified to be reunited more quickly with their owners.
- 6870 – Regulation on importation of dogs for sale, and care for dogs in shelters and rescues
This bill contains numerous new requirements to ensure the appropriate care of animals at shelters. It also contains some requirements for those who provide foster care for animals in shelters.
S. 6870 also provides new requirements for any dog or cat imported into New York “for sale, resale or adoption”. Current law requires a health certificate for dogs entering New York State for sale, resale or adoption. In addition, the dog must have a rabies vaccination unless it is under 3 months of age.
Under this bill, any person in the state who is receiving a dog for one of these purposes must hold the dog for 48 hours. If during this period the dog demonstrates signs of any infectious, contagious, parasitic or communicable disease, then the animal must be taken immediately to the veterinarian and quarantined if necessary until the animal is declared free of disease.
Dogs temporarily entering the state for exhibition for fewer than 15 days are exempted, so long as the dog is vaccinated for rabies (if over 3 months old) and is properly restrained and under the immediate control of the owner.
AKC appreciates that this bill will ensure the proper care and transportation of dogs at shelters, and also that it will protect public health by requiring this brief quarantine period to ensure the health of dogs coming into the state. We also are grateful for the clarification that dogs coming in for shows and competitions do not need to be quarantined, so long as they are under proper control of their owner or handler.
What You Can Do: These bills are being considered TOMORROW (Tuesday, May 9) in the Senate Agriculture Committee. Those who wish may contact the members. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them:
Sen. Leroy Comrie (St. Albans)
- Assembly Agriculture – Bills regarding dogs outdoors, harming wildlife
Status: Hearing TOMORROW (Tuesday, May 10)
Summaries: Three bills being monitored by AKC are being considered tomorrow:
- 456 – This bill creates the crime of aggravated cruelty for the intentional harm of wildlife. It does contain an exemption for hunting and similar activities, as well as accepted agriculture practices. At this time, AKC is monitoring to ensure these exemptions remain.
- 4793 – This bill clarifies and elevates the crime of animal abandonment. It arises from an incident in the sponsor’s district where a dog was left chained to a park bench in subzero temperatures and died from injuries. AKC agrees with current law in New York that does not allow dogs to be left outside in dangerous conditions, and that no dog should be abandoned without proper care or protection.
- 6912 – Current law outlines what is considered proper shelter for dogs “left outdoors”. This bill clarifies that the primary shelter should be constructed in such a way to promote the retention of body heat. In addition, the front entrance must have a windbreak from November-March. The sponsor has expressed concerns about protection for dogs in outdoor shelters in the winter, and also the potential harm from chemicals and other methods use to remove snow and ice. AKC is currently monitoring this bill.
What You Can Do: These bills are being considered TOMORROW (Tuesday, May 9) in the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Those who wish may contact the members. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them:
Donna A. Lupardo, Chair (Binghamton) Anna Kelles (Ithaca)
Didi Barrett (Poughkeepsie) Brian D. Miller (New Hartford, Wallkill)
Ken Blankenbush (Carthage) Jose Rivera (Bronx)
Marianne Buttenschon (Utica) Linda Rosenthal (Manhattan)
Erik Dilan (Brooklyn) Al Stirpe (North Syracuse)
Michael J. Fitzpatrick (Smithton) Chris Tague (Schoharie)
Aileen M. Gunther (Monticello/Middletown) Carrie Woerner (Saratoga Springs)
Stephen Hawley (Albion) Stefani Zinerman (Brooklyn)
Billy Jones (Plattsburgh)
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor all bills with the potential to impact dog owners in New York State and will provide updates as they are available. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.