Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are New Yorkers responsible dog owners?

I just stumbled on the following article on the website of New York State Senator John D. Sabini. It's a telling statistic:


Licensing Ensures Safety and Could Yield Millions in Revenue: Sabini

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

State Senator John D. Sabini (D/WF-Jackson HTS) has introduced a bill to remind people that not only is it against the law to own an unlicensed dog, but it endangers people and deprives New York of crucial funds, too. The bill was swiftly passed in the Consumer Protection committee, of which Senator Sabini is a member, on June 1.

There are about 900,000 unlicensed dogs owned by New York City residents alone, according to New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. At $8.50 per sterilized dog and $11.50 per non-sterilized one, compliance with the law could bring $8-10 million to City coffers.

Senator Sabini's bill, S5454, forces pet stores and other dog vendors to notify buyers at the time of sale that State law requires dogs to be licensed with the local municipality in which they reside (e.g., the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in New York City).

"The lower cost of licensing a sterilized dog, as well as a license application's reminder that all dogs must be vaccinated against rabies by law, encourages practices that protect both animals and the public," Senator Sabini said. "More licensed dogs means less strays running around threatening to bite people in the street."

Licensing also protects the dogs themselves, because unlicensed dogs cannot easily be returned to their owners when they get separated, leading to New York City's staggeringly high dog euthanasia rate. According to The New York Observer, almost 70 percent of the animals that enter the shelter system each year--or about 100 per year--are put down every year partly because they're not licensed (licensing provides certificates of ownership and dog tags). Animal Care & Control of New York City estimates that only one percent of unlicensed dogs are returned to their owners after being separated.