Town of Bethlehem, NY
Albany County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bethlehem as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 2-13-1980 by L.L. No. 1-1980]
[Amended 7-10-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991]
The Town Board of the Town of Bethlehem finds that the running at large and other uncontrolled behavior of licensed and unlicensed dogs have created physical harm to persons and damage to property and have created other nuisances within the Town. 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.
This article is enacted pursuant to the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York.
The title of this article shall be the "Dog Control Law of the Town of Bethlehem."
As used in this article, the following words shall have the following respective meanings:
DOG
Male and female, licensed and unlicensed, members of the species Canis familiaris.
FECAL MATTER
All feces, excrement, manure, dung or solid waste matter discharged by a dog.
[Added 7-10-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991]
OWNER
Person entitled to claim lawful custody and possession of a dog and who is responsible for purchasing the license for such dog unless the dog is or has been lost and such loss was promptly reported to the Dog Control Officer or a police agency and a reasonable search has been made. If a dog is not licensed, the term "owner" shall designate and cover any person or persons, firm, association or corporation who or which at any time owns or has custody or control of, harbors or is otherwise responsible for any dog which is kept, brought or comes within the Town. Any person owning or harboring a dog for a period of one week prior to the filing of any complaint charging a violation of this article shall be held and deemed to be the "owner" of such dog for the purpose of this article. In the event that the "owner" of any dog found to be in violation of this article shall be under 18 years of age, any head of the household in which said minor resides shall be deemed to have custody and control of said dog and shall be responsible for any acts of the said dog in violation of this article.
RUN AT LARGE
To be in a public place or on private lands without the knowledge, consent and approval of the owner of such lands.
TOWN
The Town of Bethlehem.
TOWN PARK
All Town land within the Town of Bethlehem designated as parkland, except those areas designated as Town dog parks.
[Added 10-23-2019 by L.L. No. 3-2019]
It shall be unlawful for any owner of any dog in the Town to permit or allow such dog to:
A. 
Run at large unless the dog is restrained by an adequate leash not exceeding eight feet in length or unless it is accompanied by its owner or a responsible person and under the full control of such owner or person. For the purpose of this article, a dog or dogs hunting in the company of a hunter or hunters shall be considered as accompanied by its owner.
B. 
Engage in habitual loud howling, barking, crying or whining or conduct itself in such a manner as to unreasonably and habitually disturb the comfort or repose of any person other than the owner of such dog.
C. 
Uproot, dig or otherwise damage any vegetables, lawns, flowers, garden beds or other property without the consent or approval of the owner thereof.
D. 
Chase, jump upon or at or otherwise harass any person in such a manner as to reasonably cause intimidation or fear or to put such person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or injury on property other than that of the owner.
E. 
Habitually chase, run alongside of or bark at motor vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles while on a public street, highway or place or upon private property without the consent or approval of the owner of such property.
F. 
Cause damage or destruction to property or commit a nuisance upon the premises of a person other than the owner or person harboring such dog.
G. 
If a female dog, when in heat, be off the owner's premises unrestrained by a leash.
H. 
Deposit any dropping or fecal matter on any private property, Town of Bethlehem public roadway and sidewalk or that portion of a front lawn owned by the Town and maintained by the landowner as a front lawn (without the consent of the owner, or Town park).
[Added 7-10-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991; amended 10-23-2019 by L.L. No. 3-2019]
(1) 
Such soiling action is declared to be a public nuisance.
(2) 
Such soiling action shall be deemed prevented and not a violation of this article if such person shall immediately clean up all such fecal matter and droppings by causing the same to be gathered in a suitable container and disposed of in a safe and sanitary manner.
(3) 
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to guide dogs, hearing dogs or service dogs accompanying any person with a disability as defined in Subdivision 21 of § 292 of the Executive Law.
[Added 10-23-2019 by L.L. No. 3-2019]
A. 
In addition to the restrictions enumerated in § 61-5 of this article, it shall be unlawful for any person who brings a dog to a Town park to violate the following rules:
(1) 
All dogs must be a minimum of four months old and licensed in accordance with § 61-8 of this code.
(2) 
At all times, all dogs shall be accompanied by a responsible person at least 12 years of age, under full control of that person, and restrained by a physical leash no longer than six feet in length.
(3) 
No dogs shall be allowed in the following areas:
(a) 
Elm Avenue Park pool complex.
(b) 
Playgrounds.
(c) 
Fitness stations.
(d) 
On courts.
(e) 
On playing fields while in use.
(f) 
Community gardens.
(g) 
Areas temporarily closed due to maintenance, restoration, or weather conditions, as indicated by signs, fences, or flags.
A. 
The Dog Control Officer or any peace officer shall seize any unlicensed dog whether on or off the owner's premises, any dog not wearing a tag and, after January 1, 1980, not identified and which is not on the owner's premises and any dog found in violation of § 61-5A. Such seized dog shall be kept and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. The Dog Control Officer or peace officer may also investigate and report to a Town Justice of the Town any dangerous dog, as described in Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, and see that the order of the Town Justice in such case is carried out.
B. 
The Dog Control Officer or a peace officer observing a violation of this article in his presence shall issue and serve an appearance ticket for such violation.
C. 
Any person who observes a dog in violation of this article may file a complaint under oath with a Town Justice of the Town, specifying the nature of the violation, the date thereof, a description of the dog and the name and residence, if known, of the owner of such dog. Such complaint may serve as the basis for enforcing the provisions of this article.
Any person convicted of a violation of this article shall be deemed to have committed a violation and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $100.
[Adopted 4-22-1981 by L.L. No. 4-1981; amended in its entirety 11-10-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010]
All dogs within the Town of Bethlehem that are four months of age or older, unless otherwise exempted, shall be licensed. The owner of each dog required to be licensed shall obtain a dog license from the Town Clerk. Each license request 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 transferrable.
A. 
Fees for licensing of dogs. The following fees do not include the state-mandated surcharge. There are no refunds of license fees.
(1) 
Spayed or neutered dog: $10 seniors (over 65).
(2) 
Spayed or neutered dog: $15.
(3) 
Unspayed or unneutered dog: $20.
(4) 
Exempt from fee: Service, guide, hearing, war, detection, search, police or therapy dogs.
B. 
Enumeration fee. When the Town determines the need for a dog enumeration, a fee of $5 will be assessed to all dogs found unlicensed or not renewed at the time the enumeration is conducted.
C. 
Purebred license. The Town will not be issuing purebred or kennel licenses. All dogs will be licensed individually as per the fee schedule in § 61-8A.
D. 
The Town does not allow the licensing of dogs by a shelter. The shelter must send the adoptive dog owners to the Town Clerk for licensing.
E. 
All fees will be used in funding the administration of Chapter 61 of the Code of the Town of Bethlehem and Article 7 of New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
F. 
Any dog harbored within the Town of Bethlehem 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 article.
Should any word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, section, part or provision of this article be found by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of any other part of this article which can be given effect without such invalid part or parts.
This article shall take effect on January 1, 2011.