Town of Bergen, NY
Genesee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-30-2010 by L.L. No. 1-2011[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Art. I, Dog Control, adopted 10-8-1990 by L.L. No. 3-1990.

§ 219-1 Title.

The title of this article shall be "Dog Control Law of the Town of Bergen."

§ 219-2 Authority.

This article is enacted pursuant to Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York together with any future modifications thereof. All provisions of said Article 7 are applicable and incorporated herein except where modified hereby. The relevant portions of the Conservation Law and Public Health Law also apply, and enforcement of this article is intended by application of the Penal Law.

§ 219-3 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to protect the health, safety and well-being of persons, property, wildlife, and dogs by imposing restrictions on the keeping and running at large of dogs within the Town. This article is being enacted because the running at large and other uncontrolled behavior of dogs creates the risk of physical harm to persons, damage to property, and creation of a nuisance within the Town.

§ 219-4 Definition of terms.

For the purpose of this article, the terms as hereinafter used are defined as follows:
A. 
The Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York in effect during the life of this article. The Agriculture and Markets Law is abbreviated as Agr. & M.L.
B. 
All terms defined in § 108 of the Agr. & M.L. shall have the same meaning as used herein unless specifically modified.
ANIMAL HOSPITAL
A facility operated by a veterinarian or certified animal care persons for the purpose of treating sick or injured animals.
CONFINED
A dog is securely confined or restrained when it is kept on the owner's premises either within a building, kennel or other suitable enclosure or securely fastened on a chain, wire, or other effective tether of such length and so arranged that the animal cannot reach or endanger any person on any adjacent premises or on any public street, way or place; or, if the animal is being transported by the owner, it is securely confined in a crate, on a tether or in other container, or so restrained within an enclosed vehicle in a safe manner consistent with the dog's good health so that it cannot be expected to escape therefrom (see Agr. & M.L. §§ 353 and 356, Cruelty to Animals).
DOG
Male and female, licensed or unlicensed, members of the species Canis familiaris.
DOG CONTROL OFFICER
Any person authorized by the Town Board, county or state legislature from time to time, directed or permitted to enforce the provisions of this article or the provisions of the Agr. & M.L.
A. 
The person, persons, firm, association or corporation who:
(1) 
Purchased the license for the dog and is the registered owner; or
(2) 
Professes ownership of the dog; or
(3) 
Has custody or control of the dog; or
(4) 
Harbors or is otherwise responsible for the dog; or
(5) 
Is the parent, guardian or head of household of any minor under 18 years of age who owns or harbors the dog; or
(6) 
Brings into or permits the dog to come into the Town.
B. 
For proof purposes, any person harboring, possessing or controlling a dog for a period of one week prior to the filing of any complaint charging a violation of this article or Agr. & M.L. shall be held and deemed to be the owner of such dog for the purposes of this article. Parents, guardians or heads of household, as mentioned above, shall be deemed to have custody and control of dogs owned or harbored by minors and shall be responsible for compliance with this article and Agr. & M.L. in the Town.
KENNEL
A facility that constitutes a business for keeping dogs for hire, or the business of raising dogs for sale, as certified by the Town Clerk.
PUREBRED BREEDER
A person, firm, association or corporation who raises dogs for show, competition or sale as certified by the Town Clerk.
RECREATIONAL AREAS
Any real property owned by the Town, county or state located in the Town which is used for recreational purposes by the public, including but not limited to parks or playgrounds.
RUN AT LARGE
To permit dogs freedom to run in a public place or on private lands without the knowledge, consent and approval of the owner of such lands, or running on any public highway.
TOWN
Any designated area within the boundary lines of the Town of Bergen.

§ 219-5 Licensing of dogs.

All dogs within the Town of Bergen, unless otherwise exempted by New York State Agriculture and Market Law, must be licensed with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bergen by the age of four months.

§ 219-6 Application.

The owner of each dog required to be licensed shall, for new applications and renewal applications, obtain, complete and return to the Town Clerk:
A. 
A dog license application;
B. 
The license application fee;
C. 
Any applicable license surcharges;
D. 
Such additional fees as may be established by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen;
E. 
Proof that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies or a statement from a licensed veterinarian that such vaccination would endanger the dog's life, in which case vaccination shall not be required; and
F. 
In the case of a spayed or neutered dog, a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian or an affidavit signed by the owner, showing that the dog has been spayed or neutered, provided such certificate or affidavit shall not be required if the same is already on file with the Town Clerk. In lieu of the spay or neuter certificate, an owner may present a statement certified by a licensed veterinarian stating that he or she has examined the dog and found that, because of old age or other reason, the life of the dog would be endangered by spaying or neutering. In such case, the license fee for the dog shall be the same as for a spayed or neutered dog.

§ 219-7 Identification tag.

Each dog licensed pursuant to this article shall be assigned, at the time the dog is first licensed, a municipal identification number. Such identification number shall be carried by the dog on an identification tag which shall be affixed to a collar on the dog at all times, except in the case of a purebred license tag. No tag carrying an identification number shall be affixed to the collar of any dog other than the one to which that number has been assigned.

§ 219-8 License term.

All dog licenses will be for a period of one year and will expire at the end of the month one year from the date of issue. No license shall be issued for a period expiring after the last day of the 11th month following the expiration date of the current rabies certificate for the dog being licensed.

§ 219-9 Licenses nontransferrable.

Any license issued pursuant to this article shall not be transferable. Upon the transfer of ownership of any dog, the new owner shall immediately make application for a new license for such dog.

§ 219-10 Purebred licenses.

The Town of Bergen will issue purebred licenses and will provide purebred tags (in any number), imprinted with the same purebred license number.

§ 219-11 Licenses issued by animal shelters and pounds.

The Town does not allow the licensing of dogs by a shelter. The shelter must send the adoptive dog owners to the Town Clerk of the town in which the dog will be harbored for licensing or to the Town Clerk where the shelter is located for the purchase of the license for adoption purposes.

§ 219-12 Fees and surcharges.

The fees and surcharges for issuing dog licenses shall be fixed by resolution of the Town Board and shall be on file with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bergen. Such fees and surcharges may from time to time be changed as the Town Board may determine. These fees and surcharges may include:
A. 
The license fee for a spayed or neutered dog;
B. 
The license fee for an unspayed or unneutered dog (such fee having to exceed the fee for a license for a spayed or neutered dog by such amount as mandated by the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law);
C. 
In addition to the license fee authorized by this article and established by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen, a surcharge if the dog to be licensed is altered (such surcharge shall be, at a minimum, such amount as mandated by the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law);
D. 
In addition to the license fee authorized by this article and established by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen, a surcharge if the dog to be licensed is not altered (such surcharge shall be, at a minimum, such amount as mandated by the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law);
E. 
In addition to the license fee authorized by this article and established by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen, a surcharge to recover and defray the cost of an enumeration of dogs living within the Town of Bergen; and
F. 
In addition to the license fee authorized by this article and established by the Town Board of the Town of Bergen, a surcharge offsetting costs associated with the provision and replacement of identification tags.

§ 219-13 Exemptions.

A. 
Excepted from payment of the license fee are applications submitted for a dog license for any of the following dogs, provided written documentation is provided with such application that certifies such dog as being any of the following:
(1) 
Guide dog;
(2) 
Service dog;
(3) 
Therapy dog;
(4) 
A dog or dogs owned by a nonresident, for a period of 30 days, provided such dog is licensed pursuant to the provisions of law of the area of residence.
B. 
A dog participating in a dog show within the Town of Bergen shall be exempt, during such participation only, from the requirement contained in § 111, as amended, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, of wearing its identification tag.

§ 219-14 Change of ownership or address; lost, stolen or dead dogs.

A. 
Change of ownership or address. In the event of a change in the ownership of any dog which has been assigned an official identification number or the address of the dog owner of record, the dog owner of record shall, within 10 days of such change, file with the Town Clerk a written report of such change. Such owner of record shall be liable for any violation of Agr. & M.L., § 112.1, or this article until such filing is made or until the dog is licensed in the name of the new owner.
B. 
Lost or stolen dog. The owner of any dog which has been assigned an official identification number and has been lost or stolen shall, within 10 days of the discovery of such loss or theft, first contact the Genesee County Animal Shelter and then file with the Town Clerk a written report of such loss or theft and shall comply with § 112.2 of the Agr. & M.L. In the case of a loss or theft, the dog owner of record shall not be liable for any violation of this article committed after such report is filed.
C. 
Dog's death. The dog owner of record shall notify the Town Clerk of the dog's death either prior to renewal of license or upon the time of such renewal as set forth herein and shall otherwise comply with § 112.3 of the Agr. & M.L. Failure to so notify the Town Clerk of the death of a dog as required herein shall constitute a violation of this article, and the dog owner of record shall be held liable.

§ 219-15 Dog Control Officer.

The Town Board will by special resolution maintain the appointment of a Town Dog Control Officer as required by § 113 of the Agr. & M.L., setting compensation therein. Such Officer shall have authority as set forth in Subdivision 4 of § 113 of the Agr. & M.L. and shall be responsible for enforcing the Agr. & M.L. and this article of the Town. The Town Dog Control Officer is hereby authorized to issue an appearance ticket pursuant to § 150.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, to serve a summons and to serve and execute any other order or process in the execution of the provisions of this article as specified in §§ 113.4 and 122, Subdivision 2(c), of the Agr. & M.L. The Dog Control Officer shall maintain all reports required by Article 7 of the Agr. & M.L., specifically Subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 113.

§ 219-16 Licensing enforcement.

A. 
License renewals. The Town Dog Control Officer shall periodically review the records of the Town Clerk to ascertain dog owners who have failed to renew dog licenses within the prescribed time period, and shall initiate enforcement thereof by posting or personally delivering a ten-day notice of delinquency to the dog owner of record and, if the license is then not renewed within the ten-day period, initiate prosecution of such act as a violation under the Penal Law in accordance with § 118 of the Agr. & M.L. and this article.
B. 
Dog census for licensing purposes. The Town Dog Control Officer will complete a Town dog census every three years, and dog owners discovered to be in violation of the Agr. & M.L. or this article will be served or posted a ten-day notice of delinquency requesting the owner to come into compliance. Thereafter, should the dog owner fail to come into compliance within the ten-day period, the Dog Control Officer will initiate prosecution of such act as a violation under the Penal Law in accordance with § 118 of the Agr. & M.L. and this article. Completed dog census reports will be kept on file with the Town Clerk.

§ 219-17 Night quarantine of dogs.

The Town adopts the same night quarantine of dogs invoked by the Genesee County Legislature on April 9, 1980, in Resolution No. 89, which resolution requires that all dogs within the county shall be securely confined by dog owners (see Section 11, Subsection B, for exception) between sunset and one hour after sunrise. Violations of this quarantine shall be punishable in accordance with the Agr. & M.L. and this article, and dogs may be seized or destroyed as authorized by the Agr. & M.L., § 121, former § 123 (see attached copy of Genesee County Legislature Resolution No. 89 of 1980).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said resolution is on file in the Town offices.

§ 219-18 Restrictions.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any dog owner in the Town to permit or allow a dog to:
(1) 
Violate the county night quarantine noted in § 219-17 above.
(2) 
Run at large unless the dog is restrained by an adequate leash or unless it is accompanied by its owner or a responsible person able to control it by command, or on its owner's property. For the purpose of this article, a dog or dogs hunting in company of a hunter or hunters shall be considered as accompanied by its owner.
(3) 
Engage in habitual loud howling, barking, crying or whining or conduct itself in such a manner so as to unreasonably or habitually disturb the comfort or repose of any persons other than the owner of such dog.
(4) 
Uproot, dig into, upset or otherwise damage any vegetables, lawns, flowers, garden beds, garbage containers or other property not belonging to the owner of such dog.
(5) 
Destroy, kill or damage any poultry, livestock, or domestic pets not belonging to the owner or protected wildlife.
(6) 
Chase, jump upon or at or otherwise harass any person in such a manner as to reasonably cause intimidation or fear or to put such person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or injury except when such person may be on the owner's private property without said owner's consent.
(7) 
Habitually chase, run alongside or bark at motor vehicles, cyclists and/or pedestrians while on a public street or highway or upon public or private property other than property of the owner or harborer of said dog.
(8) 
Create a nuisance by defecating, urinating or digging on public or private property other than the property of said owner.
(9) 
If a female dog, be off the owner's premises while in heat except when being transported to a veterinarian's office or when involved in a formalized, controlled breeding program.
(10) 
Run at large on any school premises or recreational areas, or the sidewalks adjacent thereto.
B. 
Establishment of the fact or facts that a dog has committed any of the acts prohibited by this article shall be presumptive evidence against the dog owner that he/she has failed to properly confine, leash or control his/her dog.

§ 219-19 Seizure of dogs.

A. 
Town, county and state dog control officers and/or police officers may seize any dog found:
(1) 
Not to be identified and not on the owner's property; or not to be licensed, whether on the owner's property or not (see Agr. & M.L. § 117); or
(2) 
Running at large in violation of the above quarantine or restrictions.
B. 
To effect seizure, officers may only use such degree of force as shall be necessary to gain control over the dog without intentionally injuring or harming the dog, and such dog shall be impounded and disposed of pursuant to § 117 of the Agr. & M.L. Officers are not authorized, hereby, to enter a building in order to seize a dog without permission of the building owner. When permission is not given and probable cause exists to believe that a dog is in the building and is in violation of the Agr. & M.L. or this article, then an officer can proceed before a court of law to obtain a warrant to enter the building to seize the dog by application of the Criminal Procedure Law, Article 690. The Town Dog Control Officer will maintain records of seized, impounded, forfeited and adopted dogs as required by §§ 113 and 117 of the Agr. & M.L. and by the Genesee County Animal Shelter.
C. 
The seizure of any dog shall not relieve any owner from any violation provided for by the Agr. & M.L. and this article.
D. 
No liability in damages or otherwise shall be incurred on account of the seizure, euthanization or adoption of any dog seized pursuant to this article on the part of the Town, county or state dog control officers or police officers (see Agr. & M.L. § 117.11)

§ 219-20 Holding periods and impoundment fees.

Following seizure of a dog pursuant to this article, it shall be impounded pursuant to § 117 of the Agr. & M.L., and the holding period and fee will be as set forth in § 117 Agr. & M.L. Impoundment fees shall be paid to the County Dog Control Officer and will be credited to the respective municipality in Subdivision 5 of that law.

§ 219-21 Dog forfeiture, adoption and euthanization.

All dogs seized pursuant to this article will be subject to forfeiture, adoption and euthanization as set forth in § 117 of the Agr. & M.L. and the County Animal Shelter Rules and Regulations. The Town hereby encourages that all dogs adopted following seizure pursuant to this article be spayed or neutered before or after release from impoundment as the County Animal Shelter might require (see Agr. & M.L. § 117).

§ 219-22 Enforcement.

This article may be enforced by either the Town Dog Control Officer, county or state dog control officers and/or police officers.

§ 219-23 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
It shall be a violation, punishable as provided in § 118 of the Agr. & M.L. for:
(1) 
Any dog owner to fail to license any dog that is four months of age or older;
(2) 
Any dog owner to fail to have any dog identified as required by Agr. & M.L. § 111;
(3) 
Any dog owner to violate the night quarantine noted above;
(4) 
Any dog owner to knowingly affix any false or improper identification tag; or
(5) 
Any dog owner to violate any of the restrictions listed in this article.
B. 
Upon a violation of this article, the Town Dog Control Officer, county and state dog control officers and/or police officers may proceed in accordance with § 118 Agr. & M.L.
C. 
Fines and penalties for any violation of this article will be in amounts set forth in § 118 of the Agr. & M.L.
D. 
Violations of this article shall be prosecuted pursuant to the Penal Law (see Agr. & M.L. § 118).
E. 
The Town Dog Control Officer may serve appearance tickets personally upon violating dog owners as required by law.

§ 219-24 Dangerous dogs.

Dogs believed to be dangerous to human beings, domesticated or protected animals will be proceeded against pursuant to Agr. & M.L. § 123.

§ 219-25 Disposition of fines, penalties and/or bail forfeitures.

All money collected by the Justice Court as a fine, penalty and/or bail forfeiture pursuant to this article or Article 7 of the Agr. & M.L. shall become the property of the Town of Bergen.

§ 219-26 Complaints.

A. 
Any person who observed a dog in violation of this article may file a complaint with either the Town, county or state dog control officers and/or police officers, specifying the nature of the violation, the date thereof, a description of the dog and the name and address, if known, of the owner of the dog.
B. 
Upon receipt by the Town, county or state dog control officers and/or police officer of any such complaint, he/she may investigate said complaint or he/she may summon the alleged owner to appear in person before the Town Justice for a hearing, at which both the complainant and owner shall have an opportunity to be represented by counsel and to present evidence. If, after such hearing, the Town Justice decides that further action is warranted, he/she may order:
(1) 
The dog to be declared a vicious or dangerous dog to be restrained by collar and leash at all times whether on or off the owner's property; and/or
(2) 
Such other remedy as may be warranted by the circumstances in such case (including euthanasia).
C. 
A violation of any order issued by a Town Justice under the provisions of this § 219-26 shall be an offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, as provided in § 219-23 of this article.

§ 219-27 Effect on other provisions.

This article shall supersede all prior local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations relative to the control of dogs within the Town of Bergen and they shall be, upon the effective date of this article, null and void. This local law shall take effect on January 1, 2011, after filing with the Secretary of State.