Town of Hartford, NY
Washington County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Hartford 12-14-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010, effective 1-1-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Hartford finds that the running at large and other uncontrolled behavior of dogs has caused physical harm to persons, damage to property and created nuisances within the Town. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and well-being of persons and property by imposing restrictions and regulations upon the keeping or running at large of dogs and the seizure thereof within the Town.
This chapter is enacted pursuant to the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, as amended by Chapter 59, Part T, of the Laws of 2010, and the Municipal Home Rule Law.
The title of this chapter shall be "Dog Control Local Law of the Town of Hartford."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AT LARGE
Any dog that is unleashed and on property open to the public or is on private property not owned or leased by the owner of the dog unless permission for such presence has been obtained. No dog shall be deemed to be "at large" if it is: (a) accompanied by and under the immediate supervision and control of the owner or other responsible person; (b) a police work dog in use for police work; or (c) accompanied by its owner or other responsible person and is actively engaged in hunting or training for hunting on unposted land or on posted land with the permission of the owner of the land.
DANGEROUS DOG
Any dog that conducts itself so as to cause bodily harm and injury or to put any person in reasonable apprehension of such bodily harm and injury, or any dog which attacks, chases or worries any domestic, farm or companion animal, as defined in § 108 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
DOG CONTROL OFFICER
Any person authorized by the Town Board of the Town of Hartford from time to time to enforce the provisions of this chapter or the provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
HARBOR
To provide food or shelter to any dog.
LEASHED or RESTRAINED BY A LEASH
A dog that is equipped with a collar of sufficient strength attached to a leash not more than 15 feet long, which leash shall be held by a person having sufficient ability to control and restrain the dog by means of a collar and leash.
OWNER
Any person who harbors or keeps any dog or has the care, custody or control of any dog or any person who licensed the dog. In the event any dog found in violation of this chapter shall be owned by a person under 18 years of age, the owner shall be deemed to be the parent or guardian of such person (or the head of the household in which said person resides). The term "owner" shall also include any corporation, association or entity that harbors or keeps or has the care, custody or control of any dog in the Town.
POLICE WORK DOG
A dog under the care and control of any law enforcement agency and used primarily for law enforcement investigations and related work. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any police work dog.
SERVICE DOG
Any dog that is trained to aid a person with a disability and is actually used for this purpose, otherwise known as a "guide dog."
A. 
Requirement. All dogs in the Town of Hartford that are four months of age or older shall be licensed with the Town Clerk of the Town of Hartford. Any person applying for a dog license shall present a current certificate of rabies vaccination or a statement from a licensed veterinarian that such vaccination would endanger the dog's life, in which case vaccination shall not be required, at the time of making an application for a license or for the renewal of an existing license.
B. 
Expiration of license. All dog licenses shall be valid for a period of one year and shall expire at the end of the month one year from the date of issuance.
C. 
Fees. The fees below shall be reviewed by the Town Board periodically and may be changed by resolution of the Town Board, as necessary.
(1) 
The licensing fee for a spayed or neutered dog shall be $4.50, which fee includes the assessment of a surcharge of $1 for the purpose of carrying out a program of animal population control.
(2) 
The licensing fee for an unspayed or unneutered dog shall be $17.50, which fee includes the assessment of a surcharge of $3 for the purpose of carrying out a program of animal population control.
(3) 
The charge for replacement tags shall be $3.
(4) 
When the Town Board determines the need for a dog enumeration, a fee of $5 will be assessed to the owner of any dog found unlicensed or for which the license has not yet been renewed at the time the enumeration is conducted.
D. 
Service dogs. The Town of Hartford exempts guide, hearing, service, war, working search, detection, police and therapy dogs, as defined in Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York, from payment of the licensing fees.
E. 
Purebred license. The Town of Hartford shall not issue purebred or kennel licenses. All dogs shall be licensed individually in accordance with the fees stated herein.
F. 
Shelters. The Town of Hartford does not allow the licensing of dogs by a shelter. The shelter shall be required to send adoptive dog owners to the Clerk of the municipality in which the dog will be harbored for licensing or to the Town Clerk of the Town of Hartford where the shelter is located for the purchase of the license for adoption purposes.
G. 
All dog licenses shall be purchased in person at the Town offices or by regular mail. If licensing or renewing a license by mail the appropriate fees must accompany the application. There shall be no refund of fees.
H. 
All fees will be used in funding the administration of the Dog Control Law of the Town of Hartford.
It shall be unlawful for any owner of any dog to permit or allow such dog, in the Town of Hartford, to:
A. 
Be at large;
B. 
Cause damage or destruction to property or commit a nuisance by defecating or urinating or scavenging through refuse upon the premises of a person, other than the owner of such dog, unless the owner of said premises has given permission therefor;
C. 
Chase, jump on or at or otherwise harass any person in such a manner as would reasonably cause intimidation or to put such person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or injury;
D. 
Habitually chase, run alongside of motor vehicles or bicycles; or
E. 
Attack, chase or worry any domestic, farm and/or companion animal, as defined in § 108 of the Agriculture and Markets Law;
F. 
Habitually chase motor vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles while on a public street, highway or place, or upon private property without the consent or approval of the owner of such property;
G. 
Be off the premises of the owner unless restrained by a leash to be held by a person of sufficient strength and ability to adequately restrain the dog. Such dog may be unleashed while off the owner's or harborer's premises only on such occasions as when such dog is on the private premises of another with the knowledge, consent and approval of such person; or
H. 
To continually bark or howl, which barking and/or howling is audible beyond the property line of the premises on which the dog is located: 1) for more than five minutes between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.; or 2) for more than 15 minutes between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; or 3) for a shorter duration than cited above, but on more than five occasions within a given ten-day period if attested to by complainants from two or more separate properties. It shall be a defense to such violation if the owner of the dog proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the only reason the dog was howling or barking was that the dog was being provoked by a person or was otherwise being incited or was acting as a guide dog, hearing dog, service dog or police work dog. In order to abate the nuisance created by a dog howling or barking in violation of this chapter, the Dog Control Officer may enter the yard and may seize any such dog from the yard where the violation is occurring if the Dog Control Officer is unable to contact the owner or if the owner is unable or unwilling to take action to stop the howling or barking.
A. 
The Dog Control Officer or other law enforcement officer observing a violation of this chapter in his presence shall issue and serve an appearance ticket for such violation. The Dog Control Officer shall enforce the provisions of this chapter pursuant to Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
B. 
The Dog Control Officer or other law enforcement officer may also investigate and report to the Town of Hartford Court (the "Court") any dangerous dog, as defined herein or as set forth in § 123 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, and see that the order of the Court in such case is carried out.
A. 
Any person who observes a violation of this chapter (including, without limitation, the Dog Control Officer) may file a complaint under oath with the Court specifying the objectionable conduct; the date(s) thereof; the damage caused; a description of the dog; and the name and residence, if known, of the owner of such dog.
B. 
The Court shall have jurisdiction to hear all complaints filed as herein provided and all actions and proceedings hereunder and of all prosecutions for any violation of this chapter.
C. 
Upon receipt by the Court of any complaint against the conduct of a particular dog, the Court may summon the alleged owner or other person harboring such dog to appear in person before the Court 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 Court decides that a violation of the chapter has been committed, the Court may impose a penalty upon the violator as provided in § 40-10 of this chapter.
D. 
A violation of any order issued by the Court under the provisions of this § 40-8 shall be an offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, as provided in § 40-10 of this chapter.
Procedures relating to dangerous dogs shall be in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
A. 
In the event of a complaint of an attack upon a person or of an attack, chase or worrying of a domestic, farm or companion animal, the Court shall immediately determine if there is probable cause to believe that the dog is a dangerous dog and, upon so finding, shall order the Dog Control Officer or law enforcement officer to immediately seize the dog pending a judicial hearing conducted in accordance with Agriculture and Markets Law.
B. 
If satisfied that said dog is a dangerous dog, the Court may order the Dog Control Officer or law enforcement officer to take any action consistent with the provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law, including the destruction of the dog, or take any other action prescribed herein. In the event that any person is bitten or scratched by said dog, the Court shall order the dog tested for rabies or quarantined for a period of 10 days. The rabies testing and/or quarantine shall be at the owner's expense.
C. 
In the event that the Court does not order the dog destroyed and determines that said dog is a dangerous dog within the meaning of the Agriculture and Markets Law, the owner of the dog may be required by the Court to:
(1) 
Maintain liability insurance, which insurance must specifically cover damage or injury to persons or property which may be caused by a dangerous dog;
(2) 
Muzzle the dog when in all public places; and
(3) 
Post the property where the dog is located with a notice of "Dangerous Dog."
D. 
Upon default of any of the conditions of a Court order, said dangerous dog shall be dealt with in accordance with the law and without the need for further process of the Court.
A. 
Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be liable to a civil penalty not less than $25 for a first violation, not less than $50 for a second violation and not less than $100 for a third and each subsequent violation.
B. 
In addition to the penalties imposed for violations of this chapter, the person found to have violated this chapter must pay for the cost of any seizure or kennel fees that may be required.
C. 
A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
D. 
Upon presentation of proof of payment of any and all fines and/or penalties, the Dog Control Officer or other law enforcement officer shall release any dog impounded to its owner or harborer, provided that the release of the dog is consistent with any court determination made with respect to the dog.
A. 
The Dog Control Officer or any law enforcement officer in the employ of or under contract with the Town shall seize:
(1) 
Any dog which is not identified and which is not on the owner's premises.
(2) 
Any dog which is not licensed whether on or off the owner's premises.
B. 
The Dog Control Officer or any law enforcement officer in the employ of or under contract to the Town may seize any dog in violation of any local law relating to the control of dogs adopted by the Town pursuant to Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
C. 
Every dog seized shall be properly cared for, sheltered, fed and watered for the redemption periods set forth in § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
D. 
Seized dogs may be redeemed by producing proof of licensing and identification pursuant to the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and by paying the impoundment fees as set forth herein:
(1) 
For the first impoundment: $10, plus the prevailing charge to the Town of Hartford for each day of impoundment.
(2) 
For the second impoundment: $20, plus a fee of $3 for each additional twenty-four-hour period, plus the prevailing charge to the Town of Hartford for each day of impoundment.
(3) 
For the third and any subsequent impoundment: $30, plus a fee of $3 for each additional twenty-four-hour period, plus the prevailing charge to the Town of Hartford for each day of impoundment.
E. 
If the owner of any unredeemed dog is known, such owner shall be required to pay the impoundment fees set forth in Subsection D of this section, whether or not such owner chooses to redeem his or her dog.
F. 
Any dog unredeemed at the expiration of the appropriate redemption period shall be made available for adoption or euthanized pursuant to the provisions of § 117 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
G. 
No action shall be maintained against the Town, any dog control officer or other law enforcement officer when acting pursuant to his special duties, or any other agent or officer of the Town or person under contract with said Town to recover the possession or value of any dog, or for damages for injury or compensation for the destruction of any dog seized or destroyed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or the Agriculture and Markets Law.
It shall be the responsibility of the Dog Control Officer to maintain accurate records and to complete and submit the following records to the Town Supervisor and Town Board of the Town of Hartford on a monthly basis:
A. 
A listing of all complaints, including the name, address and phone numbers of each complainant and the type of complaint and the resolution of each complaint.
B. 
A separate log of each official action taken in each case.
C. 
The number of dogs impounded.
D. 
The number of dogs redeemed by their owner.
E. 
A list of all expenditures incurred by the Dog Control Officer.
F. 
The gross receipts collected by the Dog Control Officer.
G. 
Form DL-18.