[Adopted 8-18-1997 by L.L. No. 5-1997; amended in its entirety 9-28-1998 by L.L. No. 3-1998 (Ch. 146, Art. II of the 1984 Code)]
The Common Council finds that dogs defined in § 250-9, when uncontrolled, can pose a substantial threat to public safety and welfare. This year news accounts across the country, and incidents in the City of Peekskill, of vicious attacks by dogs against people and other animals have increased dramatically, with children and elderly persons being the most frequent victims. In response to the accounts of numerous deaths and serious injury from such attacks, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has called for a formal study to determine more effective measures to control pit bulls, which along with rottweilers, are the breeds most involved in such incidents in the City of Peekskill. These dogs are often bred or raised to promote aggressive and vicious traits to make them more suitable for fighting or guarding. These traits have led to vicious and unpredictable attacks against other animals and people. Strict controls on the handling of such animals are necessary to help eliminate the likelihood of such attacks in the City of Peekskill.
As used in this article, the following words and terms have the following meanings:
- A. Any dog:
- (1) Ordered confined pursuant to the provisions of § 121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law; or
- (2) Which, when unprovoked, approaches any person upon the streets, sidewalks or on any public grounds or places in a vicious or terrorizing manner or in any apparent attitude of attack; or
- (3) With a known tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or
- (4) Which bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property; or
- (5) Owned, harbored or trained primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting; or
- (6) Owned, harbored or trained primarily or in part for the purpose of attacking a human being or domestic animal upon command.
- B. Because of their characteristics and disproportionate involvement in dog fighting, and incidents resulting in injury to humans and other domestic animals in the City of Peekskill, there will be a presumption, which may be rebutted only by substantial evidence, that the following dogs are dangerous:
- (1) Identifiable as a whole or part of a breed commonly known as a "pit bull," including dogs which are any of the following breeds or which have an element of its breeding in any of the following breeds: bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier; or
- (2) Identifiable as a whole or part of a breed commonly known as a "rottweiler."
- DOMESTIC ANIMAL
- A domestic animal under this chapter means a "domestic animal" as defined in § 108 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York or a "companion animal" and "pet" as defined in § 350 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York, including any dog or cat or any other domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or person who cares for such other domesticated animal.[Added 12-10-2007 by L.L. No. 10-2007]
- Any person other than the owner of a dangerous dog who possesses, harbors, manages, controls or cares for a dangerous dog.
- The display of a dog of a disposition, determination or intent to attack or inflict injury or harm to a human being or other domestic animal.
- Any person or legal entity having a possessory property right in a dangerous dog or who harbors, cares for or exercises control over a dangerous dog, or knowingly permits a dangerous dog to remain on premises occupied by him or her.
- SEVERE INJURY
- Any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring either multiple stitches or cosmetic surgery.
- That the dog was not hit, kicked or struck by a person with any object or part of a person's body, nor was any part of the dog's body pulled, pinched or squeezed by a person.
Upon the complaint of the City of Peekskill Animal Control Officer, of a peace officer acting pursuant to his special duties, of a police officer or of any other person, a Judge of the City Court will determine whether a dog is a dangerous dog, as defined in § 250-9. Upon reading such complaint, and any other evidence presented on the issue, the Judge shall immediately determine if there is probable cause to believe that the dog is a dangerous dog as defined in § 250-9 of this article and, if so, shall issue an order to an Animal Control Officer, a peace officer acting pursuant to his special duties or a police officer of the City of Peekskill, directing such officer immediately seize such dog and hold same pending judicial determination as herein provided.
The provisions of § 373, Subdivision 6, of the Agriculture and Markets Law relating to the posting of security by either the person from whom a dog is seized or the owner of the dog shall apply to the seizure of any dog seized pursuant to this article pending the judicial determination of any charge brought pursuant to this article. For this purpose, the Police Department shall be considered the impounding organization.
The Judge may consult with a veterinarian to determine whether a dog meets the definition of a dangerous dog under § 250-9. The Judge will make such determination after a hearing, written notice of which will be given to any citizen complainant and to the owner of the dog, where the owner's address can be reasonably ascertained by the Court. The hearing will be held no less than five days nor more than 15 days after such notice is mailed to the owner. At such hearing all interested persons have the opportunity to present evidence on the issue of the dog's dangerousness.
If, after the hearing, the Judge determines that the dog is dangerous, he or she may order the keeper or the owner to comply with one or more of the following requirements, in any combination thereof:
Registration. The Judge may order the keeper or the owner of a dangerous dog to register such dog with the City Clerk. The application for such registration must contain the name and address of the owner, the breed, age, sex, color and any other identifying marks of the dangerous dog, the location where the dangerous dog is to be kept, if not at the address of the owner, or any other information which the Judge may require. The application for registration will be accompanied by a registration fee as set forth in the Consolidated Fee Schedule maintained in the office of the City Clerk. Each dangerous dog registered will be assigned an official registration number by the City Clerk. The registration number will be inscribed on a metal tag to be attached to the dog's collar at all times. The Judge will prescribe the form and design of the certificate of registration and tag. A tag and certificate of registration will be issued to the owner only after the owner has complied with all of the orders of the Judge, as prescribed at the determination hearing, and paid the registration fee.
[Amended 9-25-2017 by L.L. No. 2-2017]
Confinement. The Judge may order the keeper or the owner of a dangerous dog to confine the dog at all times, indoors or in a proper enclosure for a dangerous dog which must consist of a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure which prevents the dog from escaping. The pen must also prevent the entry of young children or any part of their bodies or other foreign objects. The keeper or the owner will also conspicuously display a sign designed with a warning symbol approved by the Judge which indicates to both children and adults the presence of a dangerous dog. This sign must be displayed on the pen or structure and near the entrance to the premises where the dog is kept. At any time that the dangerous dog is not confined as required herein, the dangerous dog must be muzzled in such a manner as to prevent it from biting or injuring any person and kept on a leash no longer than six feet, with the keeper or the owner or some other responsible and capable person attending the dangerous dog. If the keeper or the owner fails to confine the dog as required by such order, an Animal Control Officer, a peace officer acting pursuant to his or her special duties or a police officer shall destroy such dog on or off the premises of the owner.
The Judge may order the owner of a dangerous dog to maintain, in full force and effect, a liability policy of $100,000 for the personal injury or death of any person resulting from an attack by such dangerous dog.
In the event that the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog is a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor will be liable for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by an unprovoked attack by the dangerous dog.
No dog will be declared dangerous pursuant to § 250-10 if the threat, injury or damage caused by such dog was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the keeper or the owner of the dog or was tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have tormented, abused or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime, nor will any dog be declared dangerous if it was responding to pain or injury or was protecting itself or its offspring.
Should the keeper or the owner of a dangerous dog violate any order of the Court made after a hearing, the owner's dog may be seized or impounded by the Police Department on order of the Court. In addition, any dog determined to be dangerous after a hearing shall be immediately seized by the Police Department, if not already in its custody, if the dog is proved to have bitten or attacked a human being and caused injury, or if the dog, at the sufferance of its keeper or owner, has been engaged in or apparently engaged in a dog fight contest or was proximately near the area in which such a contest was being conducted.
Any seized dangerous dog shall be held and disposed of pursuant to § 118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York, except that the owner of any dog seized or impounded pursuant to § 250-12A shall be required to pay an impound fee of $100 for every day that the dog is held until it is legally disposed of.
No person shall own or harbor, sell, offer for sale, breed, buy or attempt to buy any dog for the purpose of dog fighting, or train, torment, badger, bait or use any dog for the purpose of causing or encouraging the dog to attack human beings or domestic animals when not provoked.
The Judge may order the humane destruction of any dog which is found to be a dangerous dog after a hearing and which is proven to have killed or caused severe injury to a human being when unprovoked.
Any person who violates any provision of this article or any of the regulations promulgated hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
If any provision of this article is adjudged invalid, the adjudication will apply to only the provision adjudged invalid, and the balance of this article will remain valid and effective.