[Added 11-7-1989 by L.L. No. 7-1989]
It is hereby found and determined that the regulation and control of vicious dogs is a matter of grave concern and that these dogs pose a serious danger to the public health, safety and welfare.
In the past few years unpredictable dangerous and vicious dogs have, with and without provocation, attacked and seriously injured and killed individuals across the country, with children or the elderly being the most frequent victims.
As used in this article, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
- A. Any dog:
- (1) 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.
- (2) With a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals.
- (3) Which bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property.
- (4) Which has been ordered confined pursuant to the provisions of § 121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
- B. Notwithstanding the foregoing, except pursuant to Subsection A(4) above, no dog may be considered to be a dangerous/vicious dog by reason of any injury or damage sustained by a person when such person was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime; any injury or damage sustained by a domestic animal which, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog; or any injury or damage caused by the dog in protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
- Any person other than the owner of a dangerous/vicious dog who harbors or has in his or her possession a dangerous/vicious dog or manages, controls or cares for a dangerous/vicious dog.
- Any person or legal entity having a possessory property right in an animal or who harbors, cares for or exercises control over an animal or knowingly permits an animal to remain on premises occupied by him.
- Outside the confines of a residence or commercial structure commonly occupied by human beings or an enclosure of at least six feet in height with secure sides, top and bottom or, if there is no bottom, with sides which extend at least one foot underground, and which shall be locked and designed to prevent the escape of the animal or the entry of young children.
- A. Any dog owned, harbored or trained primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting.
- B. Any dog owned, harbored or trained primarily or in part for the purpose of attacking a human being or domestic animal upon command.
- C. Any dog known by the owner to be or identifiable as, in whole or in part, of a breed commonly known as a "pit bull," which shall include dogs wholly or partly of the breeds known as "American Staffordshire terrier," "American pit bull terrier," "bull terrier" and "Staffordshire bull terrier," but shall not include any purebred dog of the breed "bull terrier" or "Staffordshire bull terrier" which is registered as such with the American Kennel Club.
No person should suffer, permit or allow any dangerous/vicious dog to remain unconfined on property within the Village of Hempstead or to go beyond the boundaries of such property unless such dog is securely muzzled and restrained with a chain having a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds and not exceeding three feet in length and is under the direct control and supervision of the owner of the dog. The owner or keeper of a dangerous/vicious dog shall post conspicuous notices on the perimeter of the property where such dog is kept to warn persons of the nature of the dog confined therein.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to:
Animal shelters designated by the Department of Health to keep or hold animals, including all shelters operated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Facilities which are maintained by or are under the control of the Village.
Places of public exhibition, contest or show sponsored by a dog club association or similar organization and persons who have brought a dog temporarily within the jurisdiction of the Village of Hempstead for the purpose of showing a dog to such an exhibition, contest or show or for other entertainment purposes as defined in regulations promulgated by the Village Board, provided that the sponsor of the exhibition, contest, show or entertainment has obtained written permission from the Village Board and has provided protective measures adequate to prevent dogs from escaping or injuring the public.
Laboratories operated pursuant to § 504 of the Public Health Law or educational or scientific institutions.
Persons authorized to enforce the provisions of this article.
This article shall not be deemed to prohibit any business transaction concerning a dog that is not physically present in the Village.
The owner of any dangerous/vicious dog shall register such dog with the office of the Village Clerk no later than 180 days after the effective date of this article.
No owner of any dangerous/vicious dog shall be allowed to register said animal unless such owner produces proof that he has obtained liability insurance in the amount of at least $100,000 covering any damage or injury which may be caused by such dog during the twelve-month period for which registration is sought.
Any police officer or code enforcement officer of the Village of Hempstead is authorized to issue an appearance ticket or uniform appearance ticket for the violation of any provision of this article.
Any animal which is observed running at large in violation of the provisions of this article may be picked up or captured by a dog warden, animal control officer, police officer or by any other person or agency duly designated by the Village of Hempstead to perform such service. Any such dog warden, animal control officer, police officer or the authorized person or agency who picks up or captures such animal shall be empowered to exercise such degree of force as shall be necessary to effect such pickup or capture without intentionally injuring or harming the animal.
When the animal seized is a dog, it shall be held, cared for and disposed of in a manner consistent with § 118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of New York.
Every reasonable effort will be made by the Village of Hempstead to locate and notify the owner of the pickup or capture of his or her animal. Upon such location and notification to the owner, the Department of Health will return the animal to its owner within a prompt and reasonable period of time, provided that such return of the animal is not contrary to the provisions of this article. The Village may require reasonable proof of ownership. The return of such animal to its owner shall be deemed proof of ownership unless such animal has a valid license tag pursuant to the provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York, in which case such tagging shall be deemed proof of such ownership. The owner shall be subject to the penalties provided in this article.
[Amended 7-7-2020 by L.L. No. 3-2020]
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article, as the same may be from time to time amended, shall be punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in accordance with § 1-16 of the Village Code. Every dangerous dog or vicious dog that is not in compliance with the provisions of this article shall constitute a separate additional offense.