ASPCA Urges NYC Council Health Committee to Support Dog Licensing & Anti-Tethering Bills

<p>Hearings to discuss Intro. 328 &amp; Intro. 425, both boons to public health, safety</p>
December 17, 2010

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced its support of two pieces of legislation beneficial to New Yorkers and their pets.

Intro. 328, introduced by Councilmember Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan), would 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.

Intro. 425, known as anti-tethering legislation and 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.

"We are grateful for the council's consideration of these two very important bills, which will improve the lives of New York City's two- and four-legged residents," says ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "We hope that the increase in the licensing fee will encourage dog owners to spay or neuter--as well as license--their pets in order to make this program as effective as it can be. We are also excited by the possibility of AC&C having access to increased funding to address NYC's animal overpopulation problem.

"The ASPCA has long recognized the importance of spaying and neutering and provides free and low-cost surgeries in all five boroughs, seven days a week," adds Sayres.  "A well-funded animal population control program would reduce the number of cats and dogs euthanized and decrease potential threats to public health and safety.  We look forward to working with the City, the Council, and Speaker Quinn to find innovative ways to educate and encourage people to license their pets and greatly increase dog license compliance rates."

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.  Prohibiting tethering could help reduce threats to public safety.

The ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement department receives numerous calls each year from NYC residents reporting instances of neglected dogs tethered outdoors.  "Unfortunately, there is little we can do until the dog is suffering from clear signs of starvation, injury, or illness, and can pursue cruelty charges against the owner," says Sayres.  "This proposed legislation is an important first step in enabling law enforcement to take action before a dog begins to suffer, and we look forward to working with Councilmember Vallone and his colleagues on strengthening the bill's language to make it as effective as possible."