We’re listening to the weather report today and want to remind you about the New York statute concerning shelter for dogs.
We’re assuming, of course, that if you are reading this column your own personal dog(s) is (or are) curled up inside on the couch with you.
But you still need to know about this law because many dogs are not so lucky.
Section 353-b of the New York Agriculture & Markets Law requires that if a dog spends any time outdoors, the owner 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, a packing crate set on bare dirt, a chain around a pine tree, or the area underneath an abandoned vehicle or a mobile home do not comply!
The inside of your house, however humble, does comply.
For a first offense, fines can range from $50 to $100.
For a second or any subsequent offense, fines can range from $100 to $250.
Once 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.
If you see a dog left outside in bad weather with no apparent shelter 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 too much to ask to protect a dog in trouble.
Another approach, depending on how well you know the people who own the dog, is to just ask whether they need 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.
And speaking of the season, come celebrate with us at the Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Celebration on November 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Oswego YMCA/Armory at 265 W. First St., Oswego.
You can find your new best friend to adopt, have a photo taken with Santa, find out more about the Humane Society and other animal groups.
There will be activities for kids, a holiday bake sale, an art and crafts sale, a gigantic used book sale.
Admission is free and dogs are welcome!
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 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because people and pets are good for each other!