[Adopted 12-19-1977 by Ord. No. 77-104]
The City Council of the City of Schenectady finds that the running at large and other uncontrolled behavior of dogs has caused physical harm to persons and damage to property and has created nuisances within the City. The purpose of this article is to protect the health, safety and well-being of persons and property by imposing restrictions on the keeping and running at large of dogs within the City.
[Amended 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-33]
For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DOG ENUMERATOR
- Any employee of the City of Schenectady who is not an Animal
Control Officer and whose duties are principally related to locating
unlicensed dogs.[Added 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-01]
- A fence or structure of at least six feet in height, forming or causing an enclosed structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and suitable to confine a dog in conjuncture with other measures which may be taken by the owner or keeper, such as tethering of the dog. Such "enclosure" shall be securely enclosed and locked and designed with secure sides, top and bottom and shall be designed to prevent the animal from escaping from the enclosure.
- Taken into the custody of the public pound used by the City of Schenectady.
- A person in whose name a dog is licensed or who provides food and shelter to a dog, except that if that person is under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian of that person is considered the "owner."
- A natural person or any legal entity, including but not limited to a corporation, firm, partnership or trust.
[Added 1-5-1981 by Ord. No. 8-158]
[Amended 5-19-1986 by Ord. No. 86-36; 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-33; 10-23-1995 by Ord. No. 95-32; 8-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-20]
It is unlawful in the City of Schenectady for an owner or person in possession of a dog:
To keep, harbor or maintain a dog that creates a nuisance by:
Upon a finding that a dog has committed a violation of Subsection A(1) or (2) of this section, the court must impose a fine in accordance with Subsection A of § 144-10 of this chapter. In addition to said fine the court, in its discretion, may:
If an individual is convicted of two offenses within one year, stemming from different dates, of violating § 144-7 of this Code, all his/her dog licenses will be deemed void. In order to be issued another dog license the additional condition of providing a liability insurance policy, with minimum coverage of at least $50,000, will be added to the requirements of § 144-14. A liability insurance policy will be required for each dog the person licenses, regardless of whether or not the dog was involved in the event which led to a conviction under § 144-7. This additional requirement will last for three years after the date of conviction of the most recent violation of § 144-7.
[Added 7-23-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-09]
[Added 8-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-20]
A "dangerous dog" is any dog which:
[Amended 4-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-01]
When unprovoked, approaches a person engaged in lawful conduct in a vicious or terrorizing manner, in an apparent attitude of attack threatening injury to said person, his/her property or his/her domestic animals, and behaves in a manner that causes reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or injury to any person, his/her property or domestic animal while the dog is off the owner's property;
Bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being engaged in lawful conduct or a domestic animal or household pet, without provocation, while the dog is off the owner's property; or while upon the owner's property bites or inflicts injury upon a business invitee or lawful guests; or
Is owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dogfighting or any dog trained for dogfighting.
Upon a finding that a dog is a dangerous dog, the court must impose a fine in accordance with Subsection B of § 144-10 of this chapter and the court may, within its discretion, order the dog destroyed or return the dog to the owner upon condition that:
The owner securely confine such dog permanently or until or during such time as directed in the court order; or
The owner has provided proof that he has:
Obtained general liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 for any injury which the dog may cause, naming the City of Schenectady as an additional insured for the purpose of receiving notification of termination. It shall be the duty of said dog owner to maintain such insurance policy in force so long as the dog shall be present in the City of Schenectady;
Obtained a leash, muzzle and collar for said dog, wherein the leash shall have a maximum length of three feet and both the leash and collar shall have a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds. It shall be unlawful at all times thereafter to allow said dog to leave a secure enclosure upon the owner's property unless said dog is tethered by the aforementioned leash, muzzle and collar to a person of at least 18 years of age;
Registered said dog with the Clerk of the City of Schenectady, who shall note the § 144-8C violation. The dog will then be assigned a number by the City Clerk, which shall be tattooed, at the owner's expense, upon the dog's inside left flank. It shall be the duty of the owner of said dog to inform the City Clerk upon the dog's death or if the owner sells or otherwise disposes of said dog. Where the dog is conveyed to another individual or institution, the owner shall inform the City Clerk of the name and address of said new owner;
Sterilized the dog.
Under no circumstance shall an adjudicated dangerous dog be returned to the custody of an owner, or other individual, who is less than 18 years of age.
[Amended 2-25-1980 by Ord. No. 80-34]
A Dog Control Officer or peace officer shall seize any dog found on or off the property of the owner and not properly restrained in accordance with the provisions of § 144-7A or where the Dog Control Officer or peace officer has probable cause to believe a § 144-7 or § 144-7.1 violation has occurred or is occurring.
[Amended 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-33; 7-9-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-11]
Each dog seized may be redeemed by its owner within the appropriate redemption period allowed by statute, provided that such owner produces proof that the dog has been licensed and that the dog has had rabies inoculation shots, and further provided that the owner shall pay the following impound fees:
[Amended 3-18-1991 by Ord. No. 91-08; 6-8-1992 by Ord. No. 92-27; 7-1-1996 by Ord. No. 96-38; 11-22-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-17]
For the impoundment of any dog owned by that person: $40 per day.
Any cost incurred by the City related to the impoundment of a dog pursuant to this section or any other section of this article, including but not limited to the cost of any medical care rendered to that dog, shall be paid by the owner to the City, prior to redemption of the dog. The City may, in its discretion, allow such costs to be paid over a reasonable period of time. The refusal of an owner to redeem a dog either during or at the conclusion of an action or proceeding concerning the dog shall not impair nor diminish the responsibility of the owner to pay for any such care or shelter of the dog incurred by the City pending the disposition of the case, action or proceeding.
In the case of a violation of § 144-7 or § 144-7.1, said seizure shall be accompanied by an appearance ticket as authorized by § 114 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, as it may be amended from time to time, which shall be answerable as provided in § 144-9B herein.
[Added 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-33; amended 7-9-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-11]
If, as a result of an owner's failure to answer the appearance ticket within the allotted time or failure to make arrangements to resolve a § 144-7 or § 144-7.1 complaint and a dog has been impounded for a period of five days from the return date of the appearance ticket, it shall be deemed abandoned and the individual having custody, care or control of the animal shall make the appropriate disposition in accordance with the provisions of § 374 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
A Dog Warden or peace officer having reasonable cause to believe that a violation of this article has been committed in his or her presence may issue and serve an appearance ticket as authorized by § 114 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, as it may be amended from time to time.
[Amended 2-25-1980 by Ord. No. 80-34]
A person may answer the appearance ticket within five days of its issuance, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, in lieu of a personal appearance on the specified return date. If the person charged admits to the violation as charged, a check or money order in the amount checked on the schedule of penalties for violation must accompany the answer. If the person charged denies part or all of the violation as charged, the reverse side of the appearance ticket must be completed and forwarded together with security in the amount of $15, to the office specified in the appearance ticket. Upon receipt, the office shall enter the answer, establish a new return date and notify the person by return mail of the time and place of the new return date. If the person appears on that return date, the security must be returned. If the person fails to appear, the security is forfeited and a summons or warrant of arrest may be issued in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law.
A person observing that a dog is in violation of this article may file a signed complaint under oath with a Police Justice of the City of Schenectady specifying the objectionable conduct of the dog, the date thereof, the damage or injury caused, if any, a description of the dog and the name and residence of the owner. The Police Justice may issue a warrant of arrest for the owner named in the complaint.
[Amended 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-32; 8-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-20]
A violation of the provisions of Subsections A and/or B of § 144-7 of this article by an owner, or person in possession of a dog is an offense punishable by the following:
A violation of any of the provisions of § 144-7.1 of this article by an owner, or person in possession of a dog, is an offense punishable by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500, or a term of imprisonment of up to 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
[Amended 10-9-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-12]
If the owner or person responsible for an adjudicated dangerous dog violates any condition imposed by the court for the continued ownership of said dog, any animal control officer, peace officer or police officer may destroy such dog on or off the premises of the owner.
After an individual is convicted of violating § 144-7.1 of this Code, all his/her dog licenses will be deemed void. In order to be issued another dog license, the additional condition of providing a liability insurance policy, with coverage in an amount of at least $50,000, will be added to the requirements of § 144-14. A liability insurance policy will be required for each dog the person licenses, regardless of whether or not the dog was involved in the event which led to a conviction under § 144-7.1. This additional requirement will last for five years after the date of conviction of the most recent violation of § 144-7.1.
[Added 7-23-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-09]
It is unlawful in the City of Schenectady for any person to file a complaint under the provisions of this article knowing any material matter complained of to be false.
No action may be maintained against the City of Schenectady and a duly designated Dog Warden of the City or any other agent or officer of the City for the possession or value of damages for injury to or compensation for the destruction of a dog seized or destroyed under the provisions of this article.
[Amended 9-29-1980 by Ord. No. 80-125; 6-24-1982 by Ord. No. 82-67; 11-30-1987 by Ord. No. 87-75; 3-18-1991 by Ord. No. 91-08; 11-22-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-17]
Fee for adoption. The fee for adoption of any dog which has been seized in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 of the Agricultural and Markets Law and has not been redeemed at the expiration of the redemption period by its owner is the sum of $10.
[Added 11-22-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-17]
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide for the licensing and identification of dogs, the control and protection of the dog population and the protection of persons, property, and domestic animals from dog attack and damage.
All dogs within the City of Schenectady which are four months of age or older shall be licensed, unless otherwise exempted. The owner of each dog required to be licensed shall obtain, complete and return to the Clerk of the City of Schenectady a dog license application, together with the license application fee, any applicable license surcharges and such additional fees as may be established by the City of Schenectady. Each license application shall be accompanied by proof that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies or a statement from a licensed veterinarian that such vaccination would endanger the dog's life, in which case vaccination shall not be required. Each license issued shall be valid for a period of one year and shall not be transferable.
The City of Schenectady authorizes the organization with whom it contracts for shelter services to provide, accept and grant an application for a dog license made by a resident of the City of Schenectady at the time of the adoption of a dog from the organization, provided that such application is made in accordance with the dog licensure subsection of this section. The license fee, any additional fees and surcharges shall be remitted to the Clerk of the City of Schenectady on or before the third day of the month following the month in which the license fee and additional fee and surcharge was received.
Purebred license. The owner of one or more purebred dogs registered by a recognized registry association may annually make an application for a purebred license, in lieu of or in addition to the individual licenses required by this article. A purebred license is nontransferable, and shall be valid for a period of one year beginning with the first day of the month following the date of issuance, and shall be renewable annually thereafter prior to the expiration date. Each purebred license application shall include a statement by the owner that all purebred dogs over the age of four months which are harbored on the premises have been listed.
Exemptions from license requirement. Any dog harbored within the City of Schenectady which is owned by a resident of New York City or licensed by the City of New York, or which is owned by a nonresident of New York State and licensed by a jurisdiction outside the State of New York, shall for a period of 30 days be exempt from the licensing and identification provisions of this section.
The City of Schenectady hereby establishes the fee for a dog license issued pursuant to this section at $10 to which amount shall be added $5 if the dog for which the license application is made is unspayed or unneutered. Dogs owned by one or more persons, each of whom are 65 years of age or older, are exempt from the payment of this local ten-dollar license fee.
In addition to the license fee established by Subsection C(1) of this section, each applicant for a dog license shall pay a surcharge of $1 if the dog to be licensed is altered, or a fee of $3 if the dog to be licensed is unaltered. Surcharge will be remitted to the Department of Agriculture and Markets for transmittal to the State Comptroller for deposit in the population control fund.
In addition to the license fee imposed by Subsection C(1) of this section, each applicant for a dog license shall pay a surcharge of $2.50 which shall be retained by the City of Schenectady and used to defray the cost of enumeration of dogs living within the City of Schenectady, and the cost of providing replacement identification tags.
The annual fee of each purebred license shall be $40. In addition to the purebred license fee imposed by this section, each applicant for a purebred dog license shall pay a surcharge of $3. The surcharge will be remitted to the Department of Agriculture and Markets for transmittal to the State Comptroller for deposit in the population control fund.
Exemptions from fee requirement. Applications submitted for a dog license for any guide, hearing, service, war, working search, detection, police and therapy dogs shall not be required to pay a license fee.
In addition to the license fee established by this article, each applicant shall pay an additional fee of $15 if they are licensing a dog which was found to be unlicensed by a dog enumerator.
[Added 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-01]
Identification. Identification tags which have been obtained for a dog must be worn at all times by the dog. A dog participating in a dog show shall, however, be exempt from this identification requirement during such participation.
Change of ownership; lost or stolen dog.
In the event of a change in the ownership of any dog which has been assigned an official identification number or a change in the address of the owner of record of any such dog, the owner of record shall, within 10 days of such change, file with the Clerk a written report of such change. Such owner of record shall be liable for any violation of this section until such filing is made or until the dog is licensed in the name of the new owner.
If any dog which has been assigned an official identification number is lost or stolen, the owner of record shall, within 10 days of the discovery of such loss or theft, file with the Clerk a written report of such loss or theft. In the case of a loss or theft, the owner of record of any such dog shall not be liable for any violation of this section committed after such report is filed.
In the case of a dog's death, the owner of record shall so notify the Clerk either prior to renewal of licensure or upon the time of such renewal. Failure to notify the Clerk of the death of a dog as so required herein shall constitute a violation and the owner of record shall be held liable.
It shall be a violation for an owner to fail to license any dog; fail to have any dog identified; knowingly affix to any dog any false or improper identification tag, special identification tag for identifying guide, service or hearing dogs or purebred license tag; fail to notify the Clerk of a change of dog ownership and a change of address; furnish any false or misleading information on any form required to be filed with the Clerk.
A violation is an offense punishable by a fine of not less than $50, except that:
Where the person was found to have violated this section within the preceding five years, the fine may not be less than $100; and
Where the person was found to have committed two or more such violations within the preceding five years, the fine may not be less than $200 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both.
Where prosecuted as an action to recover a civil penalty, the amount shall not be less than $50, except that:
Editor's Note: Former § 144-14, Vicious dogs, added 12-28-1987 by Ord. No. 87-92, as amended, was repealed 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 92-33.