Sunday, November 15, 2009

Local Hunters Receive Commendations for Rescuing Dog in Desperate Need

Dog Federation Of New York salutes trio of Saratoga-area men who saved Daisy’s life

Albany, NY – November 16, 2009 - The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY) today issued letters of commendation and thanks to Ed Dandaraw, Tom Peters and Kevin McCauliffe, the Saratoga-area deer hunters whose quick response to a pet’s dire distress saved her life. Dandaraw was hunting on his property with his two companions when he came across the cruelly taped and bound beagle. Daisy had been covered with duct tape, wrapped in a plastic garbage bag, and left to die in a swampy, remote area on Dandaraw’s property. She had been missing from home for two weeks.

Because of the difficult terrain, the men needed to use a four-wheeler to get the dog to safety. A former beagle owner himself, Dandaraw took the dog to his own veterinarian and was prepared to provide Daisy with a new home if her owners could not be located. Happily, the dog’s distraught family was quickly identified and Daisy is back home, responding well to treatment and gaining weight steadily.

“On behalf of dog lovers everywhere, we want to express our gratitude to Ed Dandaraw, Tom Peter and Kevin McCauliffe,” commented DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer. “Without their quick thinking and commitment to saving her life, Daisy would have died.”

A confirmed animal lover who owns goats, chickens and a cat, Dandaraw describes himself and his hunting companions as “regular people” who didn’t hesitate when help was needed. “The day we rescued that little dog was one of the best days of my life.”

The Saratoga County Sheriff's Department is in charge of the investigation of the crime, and persons with information are asked to contact the Department at (518) 885-6761. Because Daisy’s veterinary needs have been addressed and she is recuperating well, the Dog Federation of New York suggests that dog and animal lovers wishing to make a contribution consider a donation to the local animal shelter of their choice.

About the Dog Federation of New YorkThe Dog Federation of New York is a statewide coalition of dog clubs and organizations that serves the public interest by educating citizens and legislators on responsible dog ownership and advocating for strong, and humane dog-related legislation. The Dog Federation of New York welcomes all dog owners and dog-related organizations in New York. On the web at

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Recent federal decision suggests defects
in New York Ag. & Mkts. law

Provisions similar to NY law found unconstitutional

In early October, 2009 the U. S. District Court Western District in Louisville, Kentucky, struck down parts of a municipal ordinance which were substantially similar to existing New York law governing forfeiture of animals in animal cruelty cases. The federal court enjoined the City of Louisville from enforcement of §91.101 of Metro Louisville’s controversial “
Animal Ordinance”, because the forfeiture provision “threatens to deprive pet owners of their property rights without a finding of guilt (emphasis added).”

A copy of Judge Simpson’s entire Order and Memorandum Opinion is available
here. To quote his discussion of the section of the Louisville ordinance allowing animals to be seized and forfeited prior to adjudication of charges if the defendant fails to post a security bond to guarantee the cost of maintaining the animal(s) during proceedings, the court reasoned:

“It is perfectly possible for a judge to find probable cause that a person has committed an offense, but for the person to later be found innocent. Under the scheme set up [in Louisville] if a person was unable to put up $450 immediately upon the probable cause finding, his pet is forfeit and he has no apparent recourse for its recovery, even if he is ultimately found innocent of the underlying charge. There is thus a high risk of erroneous deprivation.” (emphasis added)

Does New York law support erroneous deprivation?

As was the case in Louisville, existing New York State law allows similar onerous financial requirements to be placed upon defendants at arraignment by the filing of civil petitions for security bonds requesting the cost of maintaining animals seized while charges are pending.

The relevant section of Agriculture and Markets Law Article 26, §373(6)(a), setting out seizure and subsequent forfeiture proceedings reads:

. . .[U]pon arraignment of charges the duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, pound, animal shelter or any authorized agents thereof, hereinafter referred to for the purposes of this section as the "impounding organization", may file a petition with the court requesting that the person from whom an animal is seized or the owner of the animal be ordered to post a security.
Note that in New York, unlike Louisville, beneficiary impounding organizations are private, not for profit corporations or authorized agents, and not a municipal agency. Forfeited property (animals) goes to the private impounding organization, not the State of New York.

Agriculture and Markets Article 26, §373(6)(b)(2) continues:

"If the court orders the posting of a security, the security shall be posted with the clerk of the Court within five business days of the hearing provided for in subparagraph one of this paragraph. The court may order the immediate forfeiture of the seized animal to the impounding organization if the person ordered to post the security fails to do so. Any animal forfeited shall be made available for adoption or euthanized subject to subdivision seven-a of section one hundred eighteen of this chapter or section three hundred seventy-four of this article.” (emphasis added)

These provisions mean that if the defendant has the money to pay the bond (often thousands and tens of thousands of dollars per month), the animal owner is disbursing money prior to discovery, pre-trial motion hearings, prior to trial, and obviously, prior to a verdict on the alleged charges.

Conversely, if the defendant does not have the finances to pay the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars per month, he will immediately forfeit his animals - his property – prior to any action being taken in his defense.

Equally disturbing is that security bond petitions are civil matters; defendants relying on a publically-provided attorney will not have the benefit of counsel during the security bond hearing, a civil matter. Public defenders represent defendants in criminal matters in New York.

Disposition of seized property in New York

Estimated costs to be born by an impounding organization with custody of seized animals are cited as justification for security bonds. In essence, New York’s forfeiture provisions make the defendant responsible for preserving the evidence – the seized animals (property). This provision is antithetical to the provisions of state law, which clearly places the onus for maintaining seized property on the courts and the agencies which have custody.

Criminal procedure law reads (emphasis added):

§ 690.55 Search warrants; disposition of seized property.
1. Upon receiving property seized pursuant to a search warrant, the court must either:

(a) Retain it in the custody of the court pending further disposition thereof pursuant to subdivision two or some other provision of law; or

(b) Direct that it be held in the custody of the person who applied for the warrant, or of the police officer who executed it, or of the governmental or official agency or department by which either such public servant is employed, upon condition that upon order of such court such property be returned thereto or delivered to another court.

Under this section of the law, the court, the search warrant applicant, police officer that executed the search warrant or the government or official agency that employs that public servant are responsible for the care of evidence once seized and in its custody. Period.

Defendants cannot be divested of their property -- property no longer in their possession -- because the cost of maintaining evidence is not being covered by the courts. This is a clear violation of the defendant’s right to due process. It is unconstitutional and must be repealed.

As an alternative to costly seizures and impoundments, Agriculture & Markets Law provides for what can be referred to as a “seize in place.” AML § 373(7) provides that animals may be left in the care of the owner, with court-ordered supervision by authorities to guarantee their welfare, pending adjudication of charges against the owner.

Erroneous deprivation here and now

Private, not-for-profit corporations acting as complainants, and ultimately as impounding organizations, benefit through their participation in New York’s pre-adjudication forfeiture proceedings because they receive either the monies from the security bonds , or the valuable animals forfeited. Such animals are transferred to the impounding organization almost immediately following the defendant’s arrest and, with little or no monetary investment from the organization, may soon be sold by the organization.

These are clear financial incentives to seizure and subsequent forfeiture of animals in New York. Consequently the troubling, corrupt pattern of pre-adjudication forfeiture is well established.

Louisville and you

In Louisville, Judge Simpson wrote that “we must hold that the portion of [the Louisville ordinance] that would permanently deprive a pet owner of his property, absent a finding of guilt, is unconstitutional.”

We believe that all responsible owners of animals share a concern for the well being of pets and livestock. Under the law, we are explicitly required to provide for their welfare and should be held accountable if we fail. However, our concerns cannot drive us to surrender the protections of our civil liberties that the U. S. and New York Constitutions afford.

We are innocent until proven guilty.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New York's "Puppymill Proposals"

Puppies! What would the world be without 'em?

Some New Yorkers may not realize it, but many proposed revisions to state law -- marketed by proponents pushing a national extremist agenda -- are based on misinformation, myth and fear-mongering.

Many proposals would make the breeding and care of puppies in the homes and kennels of hobby breeders, and sportsmen and women impossible.

Here's a careful, point-by-point analysis of Assemblywoman Amy Paulin's A7983 and State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer's S4961, proposals placing numerous, cumbersome and inappropriate restrictions on New York's home and hobby breeders.

DFNY's members don't want to live in a world without puppies. We believe New Yorkers should
have a range of choices when selecting a new dog for their home because no option is right for everyone.

A locally-bred, locally-raised dog from a home or hobby breeder is an excellent decision for many families, and legislation that would make such pups unavailable to most New Yorkers just isn't fair.

Friday, May 29, 2009

DFNY Joins New York Farm Bureau to Oppose
Proposed Limit Laws on Dog and Cat Ownership

A 7285, S 5392 and S 4690 contribute nothing to animal well-being

These proposals allow for the seizure of animals if any person or business "has in its care"more than 50 intact dogs or cats over the age of 4 months, without the slightest regard to the health of the animals or the conditions of care provided to them.

In fact, proposals like S5392 do not offer a single protection to dogs and cats over and above existing, comprehensive, New York State laws on cruelty to animals and regulations for pet dealers.

Seized animals may be sold off or killed by the impounding agency if security bond requirements are not met within five days.

S 5392 is on the NY Senate Agriculture committee agenda for June 2, 2009. Please join the Dog Federation of New York in opposing it, and immediately write or phone NY Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Darrel Aubertine and Senate Agriculture committee members to express your concern regarding extremist proposals.

If enacted, a law like S 5392 would devastate lawful, humane hobbyists, pet breeders and sports enthusiasts.

For more information on the many defects and problems in these proposals, see DFNY's position paper.

Read the New York Farm Bureau's opposition statement here.

The Dog Federation of New York believes that one abused animal is one too many. We stand for strong and humane animal-related legislation. . . not numbers games.

We urge the consistent enforcement of reasonable, effective animal cruelty laws. We reject proposals which would shut down lawful, humanely operated kennels and businesses while doing nothing to protect the animals we love.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
Bans dogs based on breed and size

One pet per home, n
o intact dogs or cats

DFNY joins stunned residents of New York City's more than 178,000 public housing units--home to more than 400,000 people--in opposing a newly implemented policy banning dogs based on breed or type (no "pit bulls," Rottweilers or Dobermans), and size (no dogs over 25 lbs.). The new rules took effect on May 1, 2009, and apply to any pets not "grandfathered in" prior to May 1.

NYCHA rules also limit public housing residents to one dog or cat, and requires that the pets be surgically sterilized.

DFNY members vigorously oppose breed specific measures, which are based on negative stereotypes of both dogs and dog owners. No credible expert on community safety and dog bite prevention supports breed profiling, and breed specific public policies are opposed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

New York State law clearly prohibits breed specific laws and New York courts have repeatedly struck down breed specific dangerous dog laws.

In addition, we are deeply disappointed to learn that residents of New York City's vast public housing system are limited to a single dog that cannot exceed a specific weight, and are required to submit their dogs to surgical sterilization in order to avoid eviction.

The Dog Federation of New York is committed to helping elected officials and public agencies respond appropriately to the concerns we all share: protecting the health and safety of the citizens of New York, and helping New York remain a dog-friendly, dog-safe place to live. Our letter calling on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to use his good offices to bring about a change in NYCHA policy may be read here.

We join the American Kennel Club in opposing NYCHA's pet policy. A copy of the AKC letter to NYCHA is available here.

What you can do:

Advocacy groups for public housing residents such as GOLES are working to organize opposition to NYCHA's pet policy, and they need the help of concerned pet lovers everywhere.

Download and circulate this petition ! Signed petitions should be returned to: GOLES, 169 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Write to Mayor Bloomberg ! NYCHA's Board of Directors is appointed by the Mayor.

Snail mail: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Hall, New York, NY 10007

FAX (212) 312-0700


Mark your calendars ! The public will have the opportunity to comment on NYCHA policy during a hearing on on June 23. Be there!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at:
The Manhattan Center
Grand Ballroom
311 West 34th Street
New York, New York

Monday, May 04, 2009


Local Broadcasters Team Up With Dog Federation Of New York and
Campaign for Responsible Ownership To Help Create Dog-Friendly, Dog-Safe™ Communities

Poughkeepsie, NY – May 4, 2009 – The Dog Federation of New York has launched a new, public service awareness radio campaign to help educate the public about dog safety, prevent dog bites and with the help of local radio broadcasters, create Dog-Friendly, Dog-Safe Communities™ across New York State.

The statewide dog bite prevention project is intended to reduce or prevent the estimated 4.7 million dog bites that occur each year. According to the Centers For Disease Control, most dog bite victims are young children under twelve, and through education most dog bites are highly preventable.

The public service radio campaign kicks off just in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs from May 17 to May 23, and will air on local stations across the Hudson Valley region. The PSA radio spots are based on research and recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and communicate simple dog bite prevention tips.

“The spots are easy for parents to remember” says Mahlon Goer of the DFNY, coordinator for the dog safety effort in the Hudson Valley. Please Say Please teaches children to ask permission before petting a dog. Loose Dog, Lost Dog and Be A Tree are spots about staying safe. Listeners learn how to Contain Humanely and equally important in preventing dog bites, Social Animal reminds us that dogs really do need a social life.

Experts Dr. Julie Gilchrist, MD of the Center For Disease Control and Dr. Gail Golab, PhD, DVM of the American Veterinary Medical Association are co-authors of the joint CDC/AVMA report, A Community Approach To Dog Bite Prevention. As the country’s leading authorities on dog bites, they say it’s critical to appropriately choose, train, socialize, and maintain a dog. Furthermore, the experts say it is owner behavior, not the breed of dog or other factors, that is the key to bite prevention.

“We need to make sure that every parent and every child is educated about dog safety – even if they don’t own a dog”, said The Campaign’s founder, Ms. Haywood, “We can prevent dog bites and we can work to eliminate rare but tragic serious attacks. Thanks to the generous and caring support of local broadcasters that air the PSA radio spots and the Dog Federation Of New York, we’re all working together to protect children and create Dog-Friendly, Dog-Safe™ Communities”.

“We are extremely grateful to Franz Kaisik at WDST Radio Woodstock, and Kenya Gipson of Clear Channel of the Hudson Valley for airing the PSA’s, such as Supervise For Safety, Be A Tree and Please Say Please, from the Campaign For Responsible Ownership. We thank them for sharing our commitment to protect our children and the entire community."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DFNY Speaks Truth to Power

Because it is so important that our elected officials and public servants base public policy decisions on correct information, and input reflecting the values and needs of New York residents and constituents, the Dog Federation of New York is pleased to share a series of "talking point" flyers for concerned dog owners and pet lovers.

We invite you to take these flyers with you when you visit your representatives. Watch this spot for additional flyers on other subjects of concern to caring New York dog owners.

The Truth about. . .

Keep in touch! Join the DFNY elist for further information on these and other issues!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dog Federation of New York Sets Record Straight on
New York’s Dog and Animal Fighting Statutes

Group Expresses Concern that Inaccurate Information May Encourage Mistrust and Fear

March 5, 2009 – New York, NY -- Responding to irresponsibly-worded statements circulating on the internet regarding New York’s dog and animal fighting statutes, members of the Dog Federation of New York (DFNY) today provided the facts for worried pet lovers. Contrary to recent media coverage, New York’s anti-dogfighting statutes are among the most comprehensive in the nation.

"Only a person unfamiliar with our laws and how they function would describe them as ‘weak’," commented Mahlon Goer, spokesperson. “Under state law, a number of felony charges are available to prosecutors in dog-fighting cases. Our statutes and penalties are in line with, and in some cases exceed, those of neighboring states.”

“We were disappointed to see poorly-considered and speculative comments circulating on the web. Bad information only deepens misunderstanding, and encourages heightened levels of mistrust and fear of both dogs and dog owners. New Yorkers deserve public policy based on fact, not fear.”

The abhorrent crimes of organized dog and animal-fighting are serious offenses in New York, and DFNY hastened to correct any mistaken impressions that these crimes are common.

The New York-based ASPCA enforces animal cruelty laws, including anti-dogfighting statutes, in the City of New York. The ASPCA cautions that dogfighting exists all over the United States, but that it is not prevalent in New York City.

Information made available by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice indicates that for the last ten years, the number of convictions per year on animal-fighting charges in New York City typically hovers in the very low single digits. For several years out of the last ten, no convictions on animal-fighting charges were recorded for New York City. Statistics for New York State follow a similar pattern.

“Dogfighting is a heinous crime with serious consequences. We want to make sure that New York’s caring dog owners and pet lovers, and our public officials, have the facts before them,” said Ms. Goer. DFNY offers its resources and assistance to the public and community leaders to help educate the public on New York’s dog and animal fighting statutes and related issues. The group’s website offers information on these topics.

About the Dog Federation of New York:

The Dog Federation of New York is a statewide coalition of dog clubs, organizations and individual dog owners that serves the public interest by educating citizens and public officials on dog safety and responsible dog ownership. DFNY advocates for strong, and humane dog-related legislation and is committed to working with municipalities across the state to implement preventative dog safety education.

Read New York State's statutes on animal fighting.