ASPCA Supports NYC Legislation to Protect Animals, Public Safety

<p>NYC Council Passes Dog Licensing &amp; Anti-Tethering Bills</p>
January 18, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today supported the NYC Council in passing two pieces of legislation intended to improve the well-being of New Yorkers and their pets, while also having the potential to augment funding to address NYC's animal overpopulation problem.

Intro. 328, introduced by Councilmember Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan), will allow the City to raise the license fee for an unaltered dog from $11.50 to $34.00, with the new surcharge of $25.50 going to a specially designated City Animal Population Control Fund administered by the Department of Health to help NYC Animal Care and Control (AC&C) implement a population control program. This surcharge, which was previously sent to the State, will now remain in New York City.

"The City of New York has taken a major step forward today in protecting the well-being of the city's dogs with two important pieces of legislation," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "However, there is still a lot of work to be done for homeless dogs and cats, and that begins with ensuring AC&C has the sufficient funding to save more lives."

"The ASPCA is committed to ending the tragic euthanasia of adoptable animals in New York City by providing free and low-cost spay neuter surgeries in all five boroughs, seven days a week, performing more than 30,000 surgeries last year," added Sayres. "Recognizing that many of the most serious animal health crises arise in neighborhoods with limited access to veterinary care, the ASPCA brings spay/neuter services directly to such communities."

Intro. 425, introduced by Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. (D-Queens) would prohibit pet owners from restraining animals outdoors for longer than three hours in a continuous 12-hour period. Law enforcement agents including the New York City Police Department would be charged with enforcing the new regulation, which carries with it fines of up to $500 or three months imprisonment.

Chained dogs can and have become aggressive due to constant confinement, a lack of socialization with humans, and an inability to escape from perceived threats.  Tethering also exposes dogs to injury by other animals and people, extreme weather conditions and the tether/chain itself.  Tethering is a public safety issue as well as an animal welfare issue, and when coupled with the proper enforcement of animal cruelty and animal fighting laws, restrictions on tethering have been shown to reduce dog attacks, dog fighting and cruelty complaints.

Sayres added, "We thank Speaker Quinn and the Council for recognizing some of the problems facing NYC's animals and look forward to continuing our collaborative work to improve the health, welfare and safety of the City's residents and animals."