[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. For additional information regarding 2010, 2011 and 2012 state local law numbers, refer to the Disposition List at the end of this volume.]
[Adopted 5-20-1974 by L.L. No. 2-1974; amended in its entirety 8-19-2019 by L.L. No. 16-2019]
This article is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the Town of Amherst, New York, including the protection of the property of the Town and its inhabitants, to preserve peace and good order by imposing restrictions upon the keeping and running of dogs within the Town and to set license fees.
In the Town of Amherst, New York, outside the Village of Williamsville:
No person, firm or corporation shall, except where permitted by the applicable zoning ordinance, own, keep, harbor, or maintain the care, custody or control of livestock except for chickens regulated by Chapter 203, § 6-8-9(B).
No person, firm or corporation owning, keeping, harboring or having the care, custody or control of any dog shall allow or permit such dog to be off the premises of such person, firm or corporation in the Town of Amherst, New York, outside the Village of Williamsville, unless restrained by a chain or leash, including retractable leashes, not exceeding six feet in length and under the control of a responsible person, except as designated by the Town of Amherst in duly authorized and posted dog parks. Whenever a dog is found off the premises of the person, firm or corporation owning, keeping, harboring or having the care, custody or control of such dog not restrained as above provided, it shall be presumed that such person, firm or corporation permitted or allowed such dog to be off such premises in violation of this section.
No person, firm, company or corporation shall keep, suffer, permit or allow to be kept on the premises owned or occupied by such person, firm, company or corporation any dog or dogs which create any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise, such as repeated or continual barking, howling or whining, so as to be detrimental to the life, health, safety or welfare of any individual.
Any person, firm, company or corporation who shall do so shall be in violation of this article and subject to a fine of not more than $500.
In determining whether any such noise is unreasonably loud or disturbing, due consideration shall include, but not limited to, the following factors:
The loudness of the noise, as scientifically measured, or otherwise.
The intensity of the noise, as measured by intervals.
The quality of the noise, as measured by pitch or tone.
The duration of the noise, as measured by time.
The composition of the noise, as measured by the number of offending dogs.
The time of day or night, of the noises.
The proximity of the origin of such noise to the complainant, measured in distance.
Repeated violations of this article are prohibited and may be deemed a public nuisance, which the Town Attorney is hereby authorized to pursue an abatement of in an appropriate court of law.
No person, firm or corporation owning or occupying a premises on which a dog is kept shall permit such premises to be unclean or unsanitary.
No person shall hinder, resist or oppose any police officer, Animal Control Officer or employee or representative of the Town in his performance of his duties under this article.
No person owning, harboring, keeping, walking or in charge of any dog shall cause, suffer or allow such dog to soil, defile, defecate on or commit any nuisance on any sidewalk, gutter, street, play area, park or other public area or on any private property without the permission of the owner of such property. This prohibition shall not apply to that portion of a street lying between the curblines or pavement edges where no curbs exist, which portion may be used to curb a dog, provided that any person who so curbs a dog shall immediately remove all feces left by such dog as follows:
Individuals may place feces directly in a public or private sanitary sewer through deposit in a toilet on premises occupied by the individual owning or who curbs the dog. Plastic bags shall not be disposed of in a public or private sanitary sewer through deposit into a toilet along with any dog feces. Individuals may also dispose of dog feces contained in sealed plastic bags with regular household trash. Business entities must dispose of dog feces using a sanitary sewer system through deposit in a toilet on premises occupied by that business.
In no event shall any feces be deposited in any storm sewer or drainage ditch.
Exclusion. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a guide dog accompanying any blind person.
Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law shall be applicable in addition to the provisions of this article.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any dog of either sex.
- The meaning of the term "livestock" as used in this article is confined to the ordinary use of the word and includes domestic animals ordinarily raised for food or product. The term includes the following animals, regardless of the purpose for which each may be owned:
- 1. All animals with hooves, either single or split;
- 2. All members of the ovine (sheep), bovine (cows and cattle), caprine (goats), equine (horses and ponies), and swine (pigs and hogs) families;
- 3. Emus, rheas and ostriches; and
- 4. All poultry (chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, geese and the like).
In the event that the owner of a dog shall be a person under the age of 18 years, then the head of the household in which said person resides shall be deemed to have custody and control of the dog for the purposes of this article.
This article shall be enforced by members of the Police Department, the Animal Dog Control Officers or any other Town agent or employee hereafter designated by the Town Board for that purpose.
The Animal Control Officers and other Town agents or employees as may hereafter be designated by the Town Board are authorized to issue and serve appearance tickets upon any person, firm or corporation who or which has committed a violation of this article in his presence.
For the purpose of discharging the duties imposed by this article and the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, each member of the Police Department, Animal Control Officer or any other Town agent or employee hereafter designated by the Town Board for these purposes is authorized and directed to enter upon any premises upon which any dog is kept or harbored and to demand the exhibition by the person owning or having charge or control of such dog of the identification or purebred license tag for such dog.
Violations set forth in Subdivision 1 of § 118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law shall be prosecuted as such under the Penal Law.
The Animal Control Officers/members of the Town of Amherst Police Department and other Town agents or employees as may hereafter be designated by the Town Board are authorized to seize any livestock owned, kept, harbored or maintained in violation of § 99-2(A) upon obtaining a search warrant authorizing the seizure of said animal by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this article shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 for each week that said article is violated or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both in violation of said article.
Any person, firm or corporation taking part in or assisting in any violation of this article shall also be subject to the penalties herein provided.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph or part of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall be adjudged by any court to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph or part thereof and the persons and circumstances directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
Upon this article taking effect, the Dog Ordinance of the Town of Amherst adopted May 8, 1961, is superseded and therefore repealed.
This article shall take effect immediately.
Any person owning, possessing or harboring a dog four months of age or over in the Town of Amherst shall be required to have the dog vaccinated to prevent the spread of rabies, except that a rabies vaccine is not required as follows:
To a dog brought into the Town for a period not to exceed 15 days; and dogs confined to public or private hospitals devoted to the treatment of sick animals.
To a dog whose health would be adversely affected by a rabies vaccination, provided that a written statement, certified by a duly licensed veterinarian, specifying such condition is presented to the Animal Control Officer or the Town Clerk and filed with the Town Clerk's office.
Applications for a license or a renewal thereof shall be accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee as set by resolution of the Town Board from time to time. The cost for said applications for a license or renewal thereof for an unaltered dog must be at least five dollars ($5.00) more than the cost of said applications for a license or renewal thereof for an altered dog. In addition to the license fee, established herein, each applicant for a dog license shall pay a surcharge, pursuant to New York State Agriculture and Markets Law § 110(3) of (at least $1.00) if the dog to be licensed is altered, or a fee of (at least $3.00) if the dog sought to be licensed is unaltered. An application for a license or renewal shall be in the form prescribed by the Amherst Town Clerk and shall provide for the following minimum information:
The name, residence address and telephone number of each owner; and
The name, sex, approximate age, breed, color, markings and other identifying details of the dog; and
Veterinarian's statement of spaying or neutering; and
Rabies certification in accordance with the provisions of this article; and
Such other information or documentation deemed necessary by the Town Clerk to effectuate the purpose of this article.
In the case of an altered dog, every application shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian except that such certificate is not required if same is already on file with the Town Clerk.
No individual under the age of eighteen (18) shall be deemed an owner of record and be issued a dog license.
Service and therapy dogs including guide dogs, hearing dogs and detection dogs are exempt from all licensing fees with proper documentation.
Upon validation by the Town Clerk or authorized Animal Control Officer, a dog license shall be issued and a record of its issuance retained in the office of the Town Clerk.
No license shall be transferable. Upon the transfer of ownership of any dog, the new owner shall immediately apply for a new license for the dog. A license cannot be transferred to another dog.
The Town Clerk shall assign an identification number to a dog when it is first licensed. Such identification number shall be carried by the dog on an identification tag which shall be affixed to the collar of the dog at all times, except that the tag is not required to be worn while the dog is participating in a dog show.
No tag carrying an identification number shall be affixed to the collar of any dog other than the one to which the number has been assigned.
Any person wishing to replace a tag previously issued shall pay the sum of $3 to the Town Clerk for a replacement tag.
All licenses issued pursuant to this article, and any renewal thereof, shall expire on the last day of the last month of the period for which they are issued, except that no license or renewal shall be issued for a period expiring after the day of the 11th month following the expiration date of the current rabies certificate for the dog being licensed. In the event an applicant for a license or renewal presents a statement certified by a licensed veterinarian, in lieu of a rabies certificate, then the license or renewal shall be issued for one year from the date of the statement.
[Adopted 12-2-2019 by L.L. No. 21-2019]
Stray cat. The term 'stray' means an animal or animals that would otherwise be pets, but that have been separated from a human caretaker by means of escape or a lack of care, or sometimes by natural disaster. The term 'cat' means a member of the species Felis catus.
Best feeding practices. Best feeding practices means a person supporting one or more community cats which shall adhere to the following:
Feeding is conducted on a regular schedule;
Feeding is limited to the offering of food intended for community cats to approximately one hour per day;
Providing only food appropriate for cats, and not scraps or other foods that may be dangerous, deadly, or hazardous to other cats or other animals;
The community cat feeding area is kept clean and free of trash;
Food and/or water intended for community cats is kept in containers and not on the ground;
Feeding shall be conducted only within the confines of the property of the person engaged in Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR) practices as defined in this article and as provided for in section (m) below.
Community cat. The term community cat means any cat that is:
Feral, where the cat:
Community cat caretaker. The term 'community cat caretaker' means a person who provides care to one or more community cats. However, community cat caregivers are not the owner, harborer, controller, or keeper of a community cat.
Community cat program. The term 'community cat program' means the non-lethal process of humanely trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating for rabies, ear-tipping, and releasing community cats to their habitats.
Colony. The term colony means a group of one or more community cats.
Ear-tipping. The term "ear-tipping" means the removal of the 1/4 inch tip of a community cat's left ear, performed while the cat is under anesthesia in compliance with any applicable federal or state law and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Harbor. The term harbor means to give permanent or long-term home or shelter to an animal. The feeding of community cats in conjunction with Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release (TNVR or TNR) practices as provided in section (m) below shall not constitute the harboring of cats.
Neuter. The term neuter means to permanently sterilize male cats to render them incapable of impregnating female cats by means of either surgery performed to remove the reproductive organs or chemical sterilization by which the cats are injected with a drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for that purpose.
Spay. The term spay means to permanently sterilize female cats to prevent estrus (heat) cycles and eliminate their ability to become pregnant by means of either surgery performed to remove the ovaries and uterus or chemical sterilization by which the cats are injected with a drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for that purpose.
Sterilize. The term sterilize means to spay or neuter a cat to render it incapable of reproduction.
Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return, referred to as 'TNVR' or' TNR'. The term Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR or TNR) means a program in which community cats are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, sterilized, and ear tipped by a veterinarian and returned to the trap location with the intent of humanely controlling or reducing feline population and reproduction.
Veterinarian. The term veterinarian means a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State of New York.
Cats are prohibited within the Town except as follows:
Any person harboring a cat shall make a reasonable effort to keep the animal on the premises and under the control of said person.
No person shall harbor a cat which by its frequent yowling shall unreasonably disturb the comfort or repose of the community.
Any person harboring a cat shall make a reasonable effort to expeditiously remove any droppings left by the cat on any public place or on any private property not under the control of said person.
Any cat shall be considered a public nuisance if it has no known owner, no known place of care or shelter and habitually trespasses upon private or public property.
As defined in § 99-17(m), TNVR or TNR of community cats shall be legal in the Town of Amherst, and interested citizens are encouraged to participate in and support TNVR or TNR activities on a voluntary basis.
All persons who attempt to trap community cats for TNVR in the Town of Amherst shall be familiar with the guidelines, supported by regional and national feral and community cat organizations, as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association regarding appropriate methods of TNVR.
An ear-tipped cat received by local shelters shall be returned to the location where trapped unless veterinary care is required.
A trapped, ear-tipped community cat shall be released on site unless further veterinary care is required, in which case the cat will be returned once the animal no longer needs care.
A community cat caretaker may reclaim a community cat if impounded at a local shelter or impoundment facility, without fee, if sterilized or for purposes of placing the cat in a community cat TNR program.
Trapping of a community cat is only permitted for purposes of a community cat program, providing needed veterinary care, adoption, transfer to a rescue group, or reunification with his/her owner.
Socialized cats and all kittens subject to TNVR shall be eligible to be, but not mandated to be, re-socialized and put up for adoption.
It shall not be a violation of this section to determine that the best course of action for a particular cat, or cat colony, is to be left alone.
Leash laws, stray laws, licensing laws, and limitations on the number of cats owned, kept, held, or harbored, and feeding bans shall not apply to community cat caretakers.
Animal control and code enforcement officers shall use appropriate opportunities to inform stakeholders about TNVR.
Animal control officers within the Town of Amherst shall implement and administer this article in consultation with community cat welfare experts, including Alley Cat Allies, NYC Feral Cat Initiative, Best Friends Animal Society, American Association of Feline Practitioners, Neighborhood Cats, IndyFeral, Feral Cat Focus, and the No Kill Advocacy Center.
It shall be permitted in the Town of Amherst to feed community cats provided that best feeding practices are followed.
this article shall be enforced by the Village Code Enforcement Officials, Town of Amherst Animal Control Officer and Amherst Police Department, each of whom are hereby authorized to issue and serve appearance tickets upon any person in violation of this article.
Except as otherwise provided in Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, any person committing an offense against any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation as defined by the Penal Law and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable for each offense by a fine not to exceed $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both a fine and imprisonment.