Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Laying Down The Law

Dear Porky & Buddy,

I heard that there is a statute requiring that dogs have good shelters. Is that true? My neighbor has a dog tied out in his yard with nothing but an old plastic barrel for shelter and the poor thing stands in the mud most of the time. Is there anything I can do?


Dear Debbie,

We’re listening to the weather report today and want to thank you for such a timely question. Section 353-b of the New York Agriculture & Markets Law requires that if your dog spends any time outdoors, you must provide shelter to protect the dog from direct sunlight, rain, snow, wind, cold weather, hot weather, and other inclement conditions. The shelter must be waterproof, appropriately insulated, and it must allow the dog to move around freely. The dog must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down. It has to be constructed in a way that allows for effective removal of waste material, dirt, and trash, and the area surrounding the shelter and the shelter itself must be regularly cleaned. In other words, an old plastic barrel won’t do. An old packing crate set on bare dirt won’t do. The area underneath an abandoned vehicle or a mobile home won’t do.

For a first offense fines can range from $50.00 to $100.00. For a second or any subsequent offense, fines can range from $100.00 to $250.00. Once seventy-two (72) hours have passed after a violation has been charged, each new day the violation is not remedied constitutes a new violation. With payment of the fine, the owner must also provide proof that a proper shelter has been obtained. A dog may be seized by law enforcement officers based on violation of this section.

So if you see a dog in dire straits such as this you can call 911 to report the violation. Remember that if you call 911 you can’t report anonymously—you have to be willing to give your name as a witness to what you saw. But that doesn’t seem like to much to ask to protect a dog in trouble.

Another approach, depending on how well you know your neighbor might be just to talk to him to see if he needs any help with finding or building a better doghouse. The Oswego County Humane Society sometimes has donated dog houses that it can lend to a dog owner on a temporary basis until a permanent fix is available. So call us at 207-1070 if that is an option that you want to pursue. It depends on the situation of course but, especially in this season, sometimes neighborliness is more effective than law enforcement.

Good luck and thanks for your concern!

Another good deed you can do for animals in this season is to come to our Home 4 the Holidays “Tail Sale” Pet Adoption Day on Saturday, December 19^th from 11 to 2 at the Tractor Supply Company, Rt 104 East in Oswego. We’ll be there in person to meet you and you can find the new love of your life!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:
[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.