Updated 01/18/2011 07:57 PM
City Council Approves New Dog Protection Measures
The City Council passed two bills Tuesday aimed at protecting dogs. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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Many dogs out for a walk in the park or a stroll down the street look happy and healthy. But not all pooches are so lucky. Some, who are restrained for long stretches of time, end up with serious injuries.
"Tethering an animal is a form of animal cruelty. And an animal that's abused like that becomes more dangerous," said City Councilman Peter Vallone Junior.
Vallone Jr. says a dog that's tied up is three times more likely to bite than one that's allowed to roam free. He sponsored legislation to make it illegal to tie up a dog for more than three consecutive hours in 12-hour period. It prohibits owners from using tethers that choke a dog or are too heavy. The bill also requires food, water, and adequate shelter be given to a dog if it's restrained for more than 15 minutes. First-time offenders face a fine of up to $250. A repeat violator could face a fine of up to $500 or up to three months in prison.
"We simply don't have tough enough laws on the books to deal with this. Nor do we have enough people in power to enforce the law nor do we have strict enough fines or criminal penalties and that's what this bill will do," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The Council overwhelmingly approved the bill on Tuesday. But there was some strong opposition from Republicans on the Council to a second piece of related legislation, that would increase the fee owners have to pay to register their dog, if it isn't neutered or spayed.
"At the end of the day, now we are taxing our dogs. I think it's come time that the city stop taxing its citizens and start reducing the unnecessary spending it engages in," said City Councilman Dan Halloran.
The registration fee would jump from $11.50 to $34. The extra money will be used to subsidize animal population control programs and is meant to encourage New Yorkers to spay and neuter their pets.
The Council approved the legislation by a vote of 41-to-7.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign both bills into law.