[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Legislature of the County of Ulster as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Outdoor Tethering of Dogs
Article II Animal Abuse Registry
[Adopted 11-18-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
The Ulster County Legislature has determined that the practice of fastening a dog outdoors for a prolonged period to a stationary object, such as a structure, a pole, or a tree, can be inhumane and may present a threat to the safety of the dog, other animals and human beings. The Legislature has further determined that it is in the best interest of the residents of Ulster County, as well as their pets, to ensure the safety of all by regulating the amount of time, as well as the manner in which, a dog may be restrained outdoors.
As used in this article:
- To restrain a dog by attaching the dog to any object or structure, including, without limitation, a house, tree, fence, post, garage, or shed, by any means, including, without limitation, a chain, rope, cord, leash, or running line. "Tethering" does not include the use of a leash to walk a dog.
- WEATHER ALERT
- A National Weather Service warning for heat advisory, frigid weather, snow or ice storm, tornados, tropical storm, high winds or thunderstorms.
It shall be unlawful to tether a dog outdoors, except when all of the following conditions are met:
The tether must be attached to the dog with a buckle-type collar or a body harness made of nylon or leather that is at least one inch thick. Choke or pinch-type collars, attached weights and chains over 1/4 inch thick cannot be utilized for tethering.
The length of a stationary tether shall not be less than 10 feet or five times the length of the dog's body as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, whichever length is greater; shall connect at both ends with a swivel; shall weigh less than 1/10 of the dog's weight; shall be free of tangles; and shall restrain the dog to the owner's property.
If the dog is tethered to a pulley, running line, or trolley or cable system, it must be a minimum of 15 feet long and less than seven feet above the ground.
The dog must have access to shade, food, water, shelter and dry ground.
The dog must not be tethered outdoors during a weather alert event.
The tethered dog is at least six months old.
The tethered dog is apparently free of any health condition that would be exacerbated by tethering.
If there are multiple dogs, each must be tethered separately.
A tethered dog shall have access to appropriate shelter that will allow the dog to remain dry and to be protected from the elements. In addition to complying with the requirements of § 353-b of New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, the shelter shall be fully enclosed on all sides except one, which side shall have an opening that will allow the dog easy entry to and exit from the shelter; have a slanted, waterproof roof; have a solid floor. The shelter shall contain clean bedding and shall be small enough to retain the dog's body heat and large enough to allow the dog to stand, lie down with limbs outstretched, and turn around comfortably. The area around the shelter shall be kept free of standing water, ice and waste.
A dog may be tethered outside for a maximum of 12 hours in any twenty-four-hour period.
In addition to the above requirements, tethered dogs must be free of cruel conditions or inhumane tethering at any time. For purposes of this section, "cruel conditions or inhumane tethering" shall include the following:
Exposure to animal waste, garbage, noxious odors or objects that could injure or kill a dog.
Exposure to taunting, prodding, provoking, hitting, harassing, threatening or otherwise harming a tethered or confined dog.
Exposing a dog to dangerous conditions, including potential attacks by other animals.
This article shall be enforced by the office of the Ulster County Sheriff and may also be enforced by any police officer, local dog control or animal control officer, or humane law officer or investigator with jurisdiction within Ulster County.
A violation of any of the provisions of this article shall, for a first offense, be punishable by a fine of up to $100 and/or an educational component at the judge's discretion.
For a second offense, the fine shall be up to $500 and/or 50 hours of community service plus reimbursement of investigation costs.
For a third or subsequent violation, the fine shall be $1,000 and/or 150 hours of community service plus surrender of the dog, if ordered by the court, plus costs of investigation and prosecution, not to exceed $2,000. In addition, all third-time offenders, subsequent to the enactment of this article, are required to register as an animal abuser at such time that an animal abuse registry is lawfully established.
Fines collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited with the Ulster County Commissioner of Finance, identified with a separate General Ledger account number in the Sheriff’s budget, and shall be used for animal protection education in the County of Ulster and/or the maintenance of an animal abuse registry as may be lawfully established.
A dog tethered in compliance with the requirements of a campground area holding an Ulster County Health Department permit shall be exempt from these regulations.
This article will have no effect in a city, town or village located within the County of Ulster that has enacted an ordinance, resolution, or law regulating the tethering of dogs within its jurisdiction.
[Adopted 9-15-2015 by L.L. No. 12-2015]
The Ulster County Legislature (the "Legislature") hereby finds that animal cruelty is a serious problem, resulting in the abuse and neglect of thousands of animals each year in the United States.
The Legislature also finds that while New York State has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals, animal abuse continues to occur in Ulster County and throughout the state.
The Legislature also finds that people who have abused animals in the past are likely to do so in the future, and studies show that there is a near 100% recidivism rate for certain types of abuse, such as animal hoarding.
The Legislature finds that, statistically, individuals who abuse animals are more likely to commit violent acts against humans.
The Legislature also finds that a strong correlation has been established linking individuals who abuse animals with incidents of domestic violence.
The Legislature further finds that it is in the best interests of Ulster County residents to establish an animal abuse registry to identify individuals who abuse animals and who, therefore, may be more likely to commit other acts of violence, and to prevent these individuals from adopting, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining animals by adoption, sale, or other means.
Therefore, the purpose of enacting this article is to establish an online registry for individuals who are convicted of animal abuse and neglect crimes.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ANIMAL ABUSE CRIME
- The commission of the following enumerated crimes against an animal:
- A. Animal fighting, as defined in the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law (hereinafter "AML") § 351;
- B. Overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, as defined in AML § 353;
- C. Aggravated cruelty to animals, as defined in AML § 353-a;
- D. Electrocution of fur bearing animals, as defined in AML § 353-C;
- E. Abandonment of animals, as defined in AML § 355;
- F. Failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal, as defined in AML § 356;
- G. Poisoning or attempting to poison animals, as defined in AML § 360;
- H. Interference with or injury to certain domestic animals, as defined in AML § 361;
- I. Clipping or cutting the ears of dogs, as defined in AML § 365;
- J. Companion animal stealing, as defined in AML § 366(3);
- K. Removing, seizing or transporting dogs for research purposes, as defined in AML § 366-a;
- L. Operating upon tails of horses, in violation of AML § 368;
- M. Sexual misconduct with an animal, as defined by New York State Penal Law (hereinafter "PL") § 130.20(3);
- N. Harming an animal trained to aid a person with a disability, as defined by PL § 195.11;
- O. Killing or injuring a police animal, as defined by PL § 195.12;
- P. Harming a service animal in the second degree, as defined by PL § 242.10;
- Q. Harming a service animal in the first degree, as defined by PL § 242.15.
- CONVICTED OF
- An adjudication of guilty by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether upon a verdict of guilty or a plea of guilty.
- ULSTER COUNTY ANIMAL ABUSE REGISTRY
- The online registry established by this article for registering any person living in Ulster County convicted of an animal abuse crime.
A registry is hereby created which shall contain the names and residence information of individuals who are convicted of animal abuse crimes. The Ulster County District Attorney is hereby authorized and empowered to contract with qualified organizations dedicated to animal protection, rescue, and/or preventing animal abuse to establish and maintain a publicly accessible registry for such individuals. All fees collected by Ulster County shall be used for the maintenance and administration of the registry.
All persons 18 years of age or older who reside in Ulster County and are convicted of an animal abuse crime on or after the effective date of this article must register with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry at the office of the Ulster County District Attorney, or the office of his or her authorized agent, within 10 days following their release from incarceration or, if not incarcerated, from the date of conviction.
The Ulster County District Attorney, or his or her authorized agent, shall promptly notify all persons convicted of animal abuse crimes in Ulster County that they must register with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry within 10 days following their release from incarceration or, if not incarcerated, from the date of conviction.
Each person registered with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry shall update his or her registration information within 10 days of moving from one residential address to another.
For the first conviction of an animal abuse crime, a person required to register with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry shall remain on the registry for 15 years following his or her release from incarceration or the date of conviction, whichever is later. For a second conviction, and any convictions thereafter, a registered person shall remain permanently on the registry.
Upon notification to the Ulster County District Attorney's office, or his or her authorized agent, of a successful appeal of a conviction of an animal abuse crime by an individual that has been required to register pursuant to this article, the registration information for that individual shall be removed from the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry within five days following the notification.
The Ulster County District Attorney, or his or her authorized agent, shall make the Animal Abuse Registry available to the Ulster County Child Protective Services and the Department of Social Services, and is authorized to make the registry available to any state, regional, or national government-operated registry of animal abusers for the purpose of sharing information.
The Ulster County District Attorney, or his or her authorized agent, may accept files from any state, regional, or national registry of animal abusers.
The Ulster County District Attorney, or his or her authorized agent, is authorized to make the registry information available within a reasonable amount of time to any animal registry.
Every person required to register with the Animal Abuse Registry shall pay a fee of $100 to Ulster County at the time of registration. These funds will be used to pay the administrative costs of maintaining the registry.
The Ulster County District Attorney is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement this article.
Any person required to register with the Ulster County Animal Abuse Registry who fails to so register shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $250; or imprisonment for not more than 15 days; or both. Violations under this article shall be prosecuted by the Ulster County District Attorney's Office and shall be adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction.
This article shall apply to all persons convicted of an animal abuse crime on or after the effective date of this article.