Memo in Support of A.2059 (Zebrowski) The members of the NYS Animal Protection Federation support increasing the financial penalties for not providing proper shelter to dogs left outdoors. Increasing legal penalties is a necessary step forward in curtailing this particularly thoughtless manifestation of animal abuse. The Federation considers this bill, A.2059, an important step forward in decreasing the number of dogs left outside without proper shelter, food and water while at the same time increasing financial penalties. NYSAPF is the voice of New York’s humane societies, SPCAs, nonprofit and municipal animal shelters as well as animal welfare organizations which focus on homeless animals. Libby Post Executive Director [email protected] Chapter 353-B of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law which was enacted in 2004 states that dog owners who leave their animals outside must provide the dog with shelter that is appropriate to its breed, size, and physical condition as well as the climate so that the animal will be protected. Dogs are pack animals. They want to be with their families. Leaving dogs outside, by and large, is not good for them and can lead to behavioral problems. Shelters should be seen as places to sleep and escape from the elements, not as permanent places for dogs to live. However, since dogs are seen as property under state law, owners have the right to have them reside indoors or out. Keeping dogs outside means dog owners have to be just as responsible as those whose dogs are treated like one of the family. Dogs that are kept outside must have proper shelter, food and care. The past two New York State winters have been particularly cold. In 2014, as the “polar vortex” bore down on the entire northeast, there were a number of incidents across the state where dogs were left outside without proper shelter and care. One such situation that generated a great deal of attention was in Sprakers, NY (Montgomery County). A border collie backyard breeder/puppy mill was taken to court because he did not provide proper care for the dogs and puppies he was breeding. One of the dogs from Sprakers. All they had for shelter were plastic drums and a bit of straw for insulation. This winter, there were two horrific incidents. A 58 year old Wyoming County man left his pregnant pit bull to give birth in not much more than a wooden box without insulation or fresh water. Both the mom and all her puppies froze to death. In Chenango County, 31 year old man left his dog outside without shelter or food. He lied to the local animal control officer saying at first the dog had been hit by a car or that the dog has just “passed out.” In fact, according to the ACO, the man just left the dog’s body in a snow bank. Very few dogs can survive a winter without shelter. Dogs such as Sheepdogs, St. Bernards, Chow Chows, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Huskies, may love the snow and cold, and may be able to live outdoors in the winter, but even they need proper shelter, food and water to survive. We urge the passage of A.2059 in order for to take another step forward in becoming a more humane place to live.
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