Town of Stafford, NY
Genesee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Stafford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Noise — See Ch. 126.
Zoning — See Ch. 182.
[Adopted 12-13-2010 by L.L. No. 1-2011[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed L.L. No. 2-1989, adopted 11-13-1989, which comprised former Ch. 53, Animals, Art. I, Dog Control.

§ 53-1 Title.

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

§ 53-2 Statutory 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.

§ 53-3 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 has caused physical harm to persons and damage to property and created a nuisance within the Town.

§ 53-4 Definitions.

All terms defined in § 108 of the Agriculture and Markets Law shall have the same meaning as used herein unless specifically modified. For the purpose of this article, the terms as hereinafter used are defined as follows:
AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW
The Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York in effect during the life of this article.
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 another container or so restrained within an enclosed vehicle in a safe manner consistent with the dog's good health that it cannot be expected to escape therefrom. (See Agriculture and Markets Law §§ 353 and 356, regarding 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 Agriculture and Markets Law.
A. 
The person, persons, firm, association or corporation who or which:
(1) 
Purchased the license for the dog and is the registered owner;
(2) 
Professes ownership of the dog;
(3) 
Has custody or control of the dog;
(4) 
Harbors or is otherwise responsible for the dog;
(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 the Agriculture and Markets Law 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 the Agriculture and Markets Law in the Town.
RECREATIONAL AREA
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 Stafford.

§ 53-5 Licensing; fees.

A. 
All dogs in the Town of Stafford at the age of four months or older must be licensed with the Town Clerk and are required to present a current certificate of rabies at the time of licensing or renewal of an existing license.
B. 
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. If an owner has multiple dogs, he/she may request to have all licenses expire at the same time or as a previously issued license (not subject to prorating).
C. 
Fees for licensing of dogs:
(1) 
The fee for a spayed or neutered dog shall be set by the Town Board by resolution. It shall include a state assessment pursuant to § 110-3 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, and additional funds for renumeration as provided for by § 110, Subdivision 4(a), of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
(2) 
The fee for an unspayed or unneutered dog shall be set by the Town Board by resolution. It shall include a state assessment pursuant to § 110-3 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, and additional funds for enumeration as provided for by § 110, Subdivision 4(a), of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
(3) 
Enumeration fee: When the Town Board determines the need for a dog enumeration, a fee set by the Town Board by resolution shall be assessed to all dogs found unlicensed or not renewed at the time enumeration is conducted.
(4) 
Seniors: For dog owners 65 years of age or older, 1/2 of the fee retained by the Town will be waived.
(5) 
Purebred licenses: The Town of Stafford will not be issuing purebred licenses. All dogs will be licensed individually as per the fee system stated above.
(6) 
Service dogs: The Town of Stafford requires licenses for all dogs living or harbored within the Town; however, the Town fee for licensing of all types of service dogs listed in § 110-2 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, including but not limited to guide dogs, service dogs, hearing dogs, and detection dogs, is waived.
(7) 
Shelters: The Town of Stafford does not allow the licensing of dogs by the shelter.
(8) 
Replacement tag: For lost tags, a replacement fee will be set by the Town Board by resolution for the replacement of any lost tag.
(9) 
Late fee: There may be a late fee set by the Town Board by resolution of any license 60 days past due.
(10) 
Impoundment fees: shall be set by resolution by the Town Board with minimum amounts as set forth in § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
D. 
Fees listed in Subsection C above that are in addition to those required by § 110 of the Agriculture and Markets Law shall become the property of the Town.

§ 53-6 Change of ownership or address; reporting of 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 in 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 Subdivision 1 of § 112 of the Agriculture and Markets Law 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 dogs. 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 Subdivision 2 of § 112 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. 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. 
Death of dog. The dog owner of record shall notify the Town Clerk of the dog's death either prior to renewal of the license or upon the time of such renewal as set forth in Subdivision 1(a) of § 109 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and shall otherwise comply with Subdivision 3 of § 112 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. 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.

§ 53-7 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 Agriculture and Markets Law, setting compensation therein. Such officer shall have authority as set forth in Subdivision 4 of § 113 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and shall be responsible for enforcing the Agriculture and Markets Law and this article of the Town Code. 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 Subdivision 4 of § 113 and Subdivision 2(c) of § 124 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. The Dog Control Officer shall maintain all reports required by Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, specifically Subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 113. By agreement, the Town may appoint a Dog Control Officer used by Genesee County or one shared with any other municipality.

§ 53-8 Dog enumeration.

The Town will complete a town dog enumeration every three years, and dog owners discovered to be in violation of the Agriculture and Markets Law 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 Agriculture and Markets Law and this article. Completed dog enumeration reports will be kept on file with the Town Clerk.

§ 53-9 Night quarantine.

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 10, Subdivision B, for exception,) between sunset and one hour after sunrise. Violations of this quarantine shall be punishable in accordance with the Agriculture and Markets Law and this article, and dogs may be seized or destroyed as authorized by Agriculture and Markets Law § 123. (See attached copy of Genesee County Legislature Resolution No. 89 of 1980.) [Note: County Resolution No. 89 of 1980 is on file at the office of the Town Clerk.]

§ 53-10 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 § 53-9 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 the company of a hunter or hunters shall be considered as accompanied by their 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 dogs.
(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) 
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.
(6) 
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.
(7) 
Create a nuisance by defecating, urinating or digging on public or private property other than the property of said owner.
(8) 
Allow a female dog to be off the owner's premises when in heat except when transporting such dog to a veterinarian's office or when involved in a formalized, controlled breeding program.
(9) 
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.

§ 53-11 Seizure of dogs.

A. 
Town, County and State Dog Control Officers and/or police officers may seize any dog found:
(1) 
To be unidentified and not on the owner's property, or to be unlicensed whether on the owner's property or not (see Agriculture and Markets Law § 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 Agriculture and Markets Law. 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 Agriculture and Markets Law 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 Criminal Procedure Law Article 690. The Town Dog Control Officer will maintain records of seized, impounded, forfeited and adopted dogs as required by § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law 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 Agriculture and Markets Law and this article.
D. 
No liability for 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 Agriculture and Markets Law § 117, Subdivision 11.)

§ 53-12 Holding periods and impoundment fees.

Following seizure of a dog pursuant to this article it shall be impounded pursuant to § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, and the fees will be as set forth in § 53-5C(10) of this article. Impoundment fees shall be paid to the Town of Stafford.

§ 53-13 Forfeiture; adoption; euthanization.

[Amended 2-14-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
All dogs seized pursuant to this article will be subject to forfeiture, adoption and euthanization as set forth in § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and the County Animal Shelter rules and regulations. The Town hereby requires that all dogs adopted following seizure pursuant to this article be spayed or neutered before or after release from impoundment in the County Animal Shelter as required by Agriculture and Markets Law § 377-a.

§ 53-14 Enforcement.

This article may be enforced by either the Town Dog Control Officer, County or State Dog Control Officers and/or police officers.

§ 53-15 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
It shall be a violation, punishable as provided in § 118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, for:
(1) 
Any dog owner to fail to license any dog;
(2) 
Any dog owner to fail to have any dog identified as required by Agriculture and Markets Law § 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 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
C. 
Fines and penalties for any violation of this article will be in amounts set forth in § 118, Subdivision 2(a), of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
D. 
Violations of this article shall be prosecuted pursuant to the Penal Law. (See § 118, Subdivision 2, of the Agriculture and Markets Law.)
E. 
The Town Dog Control Officer may serve appearance tickets personally upon violating dog owners as required by law.

§ 53-16 Dangerous dogs.

Dogs believed to be dangerous to human beings or domesticated or protected animals will be proceeded against pursuant to § 123 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

§ 53-17 Disposition of fines, penalties and/or bail.

All money collected by the Town Court as a fine, penalty and/or bail forfeiture pursuant to this article or Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law shall become the property of the Town.

§ 53-18 Complaints.

A. 
Any person who observes a dog in violation of this article may file a complaint with the Town Dog Control Officer, 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 Dog Control Officer, County or State Dog Control Officers and/or police officers of any such complaint, they may investigate said complaint or they 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 section shall be an offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, as provided in § 53-15 of this article.