Friday, June 25, 2010

Village of Rockville Center Ordinance Restricts Pet Ownership,
Violates New York State Law

Pet Ordinance Threatens Dog Ownership and Encroaches on Civil Rights

New York, NY, June 25, 2010 - The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY), a statewide coalition of dog owners and dog-related organizations, today voiced grave concern over a local ordinance approved by the Village of Rockville Center Board of Trustees that places restrictions on responsible and caring dog owners, disregards New York State law and raises civil rights issues.

Elected officials in Rockville Center, New York recently approved Local Law 9, which prohibits ownership of Rottweilers and “pit bulls” in direct violation of the long-standing New York state law that protects residents from negative stereotyping and breed discrimination. Rockville Center’s new local law bans ownership of dogs based solely on the dog’s physical appearance and interferes with their owners’ right to be heard by a judge.

“Rockville Center’s pet owners are not second class citizens. They are entitled to the same protections afforded by state law that every other New York resident enjoys,” said DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer. “In New York dogs, and dog owners, are judged on their behavior, not their appearance.”

New York’s statewide laws protecting the public from dangerous dogs of any breed or type, regardless of appearance, are among the most stringent in the nation. “New Yorkers deserve laws based on facts, not fear,” Ms. Goer continued. “There is no scientific basis for breed specific laws or other trendy suggestions to restrict the humane care and ownership of pets. The unbiased, fair enforcement of reasonable animal control provisions is the key, not new laws.”

Through its attorney, the Dog Federation of New York sent a letter to the Village Board of Trustees urging officials to immediately repeal Local Law 9 and reminding them that an illegal breed specific law would face challenges in court. Rockville Center residents who fear they will be negatively impacted by the ordinance should contact DFNY as soon as possible.

“Local Law 9 is unnecessary and interferes with lawful dog owners. It creates a climate of fear and confusion that is certain to drive shelter surrenders up”, said Ms. Goer. “DFNY would be pleased to work with the Village of Rockville Center on a proactive approach to support responsible dog ownership and ensure quality of life for all citizens.”

About the Dog Federation of New York

The Dog Federation of New York is committed to helping New York communities remain dog-friendly and dog-safe by supporting and strengthening responsible dog ownership initiatives in New York State. On the web at