How to Investigate Animal Cruetly in NY State - A Manual of Procedures

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NEW YORK STATE AGRICULTURE & MARKETS LAW

Article 7
LICENSING, IDENTIFICATION AND CONTROL OF DOGS

Sec. 121. Dangerous Dogs
  1. If any dog shall attack any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he may lawfully be, such person or any other person witnessing the attack may destroy such dog while so attacking or while being pursued thereafter, and no liability in damages or otherwise shall be incurred on account of such destruction.
  2. (a) If any dog shall attack, chase or worry any domestic animal, as defined in section one hundred eight of this article, while such animal is in any place where it may lawfully be, the owner or caretaker of such domestic animal, or any other person witnessing such attack may, for the purpose of preventing the killing or injury of such domestic animal, destroy such dog while so attacking, chasing, worrying or while being pursued thereafter, and no liability in damages or otherwise shall be incurred on account of such destruction.
    (b) If any dog shall attack and injure any service dog, guide dog or hearing dog, any person witnessing the attack may for the purpose of preventing the killing or injury of such service dog, guide dog or hearing dog, destroy such attacking dog and no liability in damages or otherwise shall be incurred on account of such destruction.
  3. Any person may make a complaint of any attack upon a person or of an attack, chasing or worrying of a domestic animal to a dog control officer of the appropriate municipality. Such officer shall immediately inform the complainant of his right to commence a proceeding as provided in subdivision four of this section and, if there is reason to believe the dog is a dangerous dog, the officer shall forthwith commence such proceeding himself.
  4. Any person may, and any dog control officer as provided in subdivision three hereof shall, make a complaint under oath or affirmation to any municipal judge or justice of such attack, chasing or worrying. Thereupon, the judge or justice shall immediately determine if there is probable cause to believe the dog is a dangerous dog and, if so, shall issue an order to any dog control officer, peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer directing such officer to immediately seize such dog and hold the same pending judicial determination as herein provided. Whether or not the judge or justice finds there is probable cause for such seizure, he shall, within five days and upon written notice of not less than two days to the owner of the dog, hold a hearing on the complaint. If satisfied that the dog is a dangerous dog, the judge or justice shall then order the owner or any dog control officer, peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer to cause the dog to be euthanized immediately, or shall order the owner to confine securely such dog permanently except as provided in subsection six of this section. The owner shall confine the dog indoors or in an enclosed and locked pen or structure as provided for in the order. Such pen or enclosure shall have a secure top and sides and shall be designed to prevent an unauthorized entry of a person, the escape of the dog and to provide protection from the elements. If the owner fails to confine the dog as required by such order, any dog control officer, peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer shall destroy such dog on or off the premises of the owner.
  5. A dog shall not be declared dangerous if the court determines the conduct of the dog
    1. was justified because the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who at the time was committing a crime or offense upon the owner or custodian or upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog, or
    2. was justified because the injured person was tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or has in the past tormented, abused or assaulted the dog; or
    3. was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennels or its offspring
    1. In addition to an order of confinement, issued pursuant to subdivision four of this section, the judge or justice may order the owner or custodian to securely chain and muzzle the dog and require that the dog be under physical restraint of a responsible person when
      1. confined in the presence of persons other than the owner or custodian , and
      2. outside such enclosure for brief periods only when and for the period necessary to urinate, defecate or receive medical treatment.
    2. The muzzle described in paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.
  6. The owner of a dog who, through any act or omission, negligently permits his or her dog to bite a person causing physical injury shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed four hundred dollars in addition to any other applicable penalties.
  7. The owner of a dog who, through any act or omission, negligently permits his or her dog to bite a person causing serious physical injury shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed eight hundred dollars in addition to any other applicable penalties.
  8. The owner of a dog who, through any act or omission, negligently permits his or her dog, which had previously been determined to be dangerous pursuant to this article, to bite a person causing serious physical injury, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by a period of imprisonment not to exceed ninety days, or by both such fine and imprisonment in addition to any other applicable penalties.
  9. If any dog, which had previously been determined by a judge or justice to be a dangerous dog, as defined in section one hundred eight of this article, shall without justification kill or cause the death of any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, regardless of whether such dog escapes without fault of the owner, the owner shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor in addition to any other penalties.
  10. The owner shall not be liable pursuant to subdivision seven, eight, nine or ten of this section if the dog was coming to the aid or defense of a person during the commission or attempted commission of a murder, robbery, burglary, arson, rape in the first degree as defined in subdivision one or two of section 130.50 of the penal law, criminal sexual act in the first degree as defined in subdivision one or two of section 130.50 of the penal law or kidnapping within the dwelling or upon the real property of the owner of the dog and the dog injured or killed the person committing such criminal activity.
  11. Nothing contained herein shall limit or abrogate any claim or cause of action any person who is injured by a dog with a vicious disposition or a vicious propensity may have under common law or by stature. The provisions of this section shall be in addition to such common law and statutory remedies.
  12. Nothing contained herein shall restrict the rights and powers derived from the provisions of title four of article twenty-one of the public health law relating to rabies and any rule and regulation adopted pursuant thereto.