Pet Legal Issues

NYC Dog laws:

167;161.04 - Dog Licenses

Your dog must wear a valid metal tag at all times displaying license from NYC Department of Health.

You might get away with a xerox copy of a license application for a while; though you might not. I have heard that cops sometimes use lack of tags as a pretense to run people for warrants.

167;161.05 - Dog Leash Law

If you are walking your dog in a public and/or open area next to a public area it is necessary to have that dog on a leash and that leash can be no longer than six feet long.

This is a ticketable offense with a $300 fine. But the NYPD doesn’t write them. The NYC Dept. of Health, Dept. of Sanitation and the Dept. of Parks and Recreations do. The park cops. I’ve only ever heard of Parks Dept. cops giving tickets. And they are not cool about it at all.

11.66 - Rabies Vaccination Law

Any dog or cat you own in NYC over three months of age must have a rabies vaccination.

Last year cops were hassling people in the park with puppies too young to have the rabies vaccine yet threatening to take them away for not having the vaccine. The way the law is written that sounds like another way to harass people. Also, if you are traveling through NYS and will be there less than 15 days you don’t have to have proof of vaccination. I don’t know if that includes New York City.

167;161.03 -The Animal Nuisance Law

Any person who owns a cat , dog or other animal will not allow that animal to create a public nuisance in either a public place or an open area, wall, fence or window next to a public area.

167;17-345 - Determination of a Dangerous Dog

1. Any dog when unprovoked, approaches or menaces any person in a dangerous or terrorizing manner upon the streets, sidewalks or any other public grounds or places.

2. Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked.

3. Any dog which bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property.

This one could be a problem – the first clause is also really vague. I’ve seen it used against a homeless girl by a street vendor who didn’t like her panhandling nearby. She ended up being able to keep her dog but at one point the cops or humane cops were threatening to take the dog away.

Something to be aware of- if you have an animal that is sick or injured and you don’t get medical care for them, your animal can be taken away from you.