TOWN OF MILFORD
LOCAL LAW NO. 1 OF THE YEAR 2016
Whereas, the dog licensing function and control of dogs is the responsibility of the local municipality;
Whereas, the Town’s current law relating to dog control needs to be updated in conformance with Article 7 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law;
Whereas, the Town Board desires to protect the taxpayer from fees that should be attributed to the dog owner when such dog owner has received the benefit of services;
Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Town Board, as follows:
Dog Licensing and Control
Section 1. Title
This article shall be known and may be cited as the “Dog Licensing and Control Law of the Town of Milford, New York.”
Section 2. Purpose
The purpose of this Local Law is to provide for the licensing and identification of dogs, the control and protection of the dog population and the protection of personal property, domestic animals and deer from dog attack and damage and to preserve the public health, safety and welfare by enforcing regulations and restrictions on the activities of dogs that are consistent with the rights and privileges of the citizens of the Town.
Section 3. Applicability
This Local Law is enacted pursuant to the provisions of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, as amended by part T of Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2010, and as may be subsequently amended and supplemented.
Section 4. Definitions and Word Usage
All words, terms or phrases used herein shall have the meanings indicated below or as defined in the Agriculture and Markets Law. If no specific definition is set forth, all words shall have their usual and customary meaning in the English language. Words used in the present tense include the future and plural includes the singular. The word “shall” is intended to be mandatory.
ADEQUATE SHELTER – A weatherproof, four-sided, roof structure of sufficient size to allow the dog for which it is provided to lie down, stand up, turn around inside it, but sufficiently small to allow the dog to conserve body heat during cold weather. It shall be constructed so that any metal parts, except nail and/or screw heads and similar small parts, shall not come into contact with the dog while it is inside the structure. Each dog shall have its own individual shelter. A vehicle shall not be considered adequate shelter, except when the dog is actually being transported in such vehicle.
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: accompanied by and under the immediate supervision and control of the owner or other responsible person; a police work dog in use for police work; or 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.
CLERK – The Town Clerk, or Deputy Town Clerk, of the Town of Milford or his or her agent.
DOG – Any male and female, licensed and unlicensed, members of the species canis lupus familiaris.
DOG CONTROL OFFICER – Any individual appointed by the Town Board to enforce this Local Law.
HABITUAL – An activity which occurs in repeated intervals of at least five minutes with less than two minutes of interruption.
HARBOR – To provide food or shelter to any dog.
IDENTIFICATION TAG – A tag issued by the Clerk that sets forth an identification number, as required by the provisions of this Local Law.
IDENTIFIED – a dog carrying an identification tag as provided in this article.
OWNER – Any person who harbors or keeps any dog. In the event any dog found in violation of this Local Law 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 household in which said person resides.
SENIOR RESIDENT – Any resident of the Town age 65 or older.
TOWN – the Town of Milford.
Section 5. Dog Licensing Requirements, Procedures and Fees (NY AGRI & MKTS § 109)
A. License Application
- The owner of any dog reaching the age of 4 months shall immediately make application for a dog license. No license shall be required for any dog under the age of 4 months that is not at large or that is residing in a pound or shelter maintained by or under contract or agreement with the state or any county, city, town or village, any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, duly incorporated humane society or duly incorporated dog protective society.
- Application for a dog license shall be made to the clerk and shall be accompanied by the appropriate license fee as established by the Town Board resolution.
- The application shall state the sex, actual or approximate year of birth, breed, color, and municipal identification number of the dog and any other identification marks, if any, and the name, address, telephone number, county, and town of residence of owner, and such other information as deemed necessary by the clerk
- In the case of a spade or a neutered dog, every application shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian showing that the dog has been spayed or neutered provided that such certificate shall not be required if the same is already on file with the clerk.
- The application shall be accompanied by a statement certified by a licensed veterinarian showing that the dog or dogs have been vaccinated to prevent rabies or in lieu thereof a statement certified by a licensed veterinarian stating that because of age or other reason, the life of the dog or dogs would be endangered by the administration of vaccine. The clerk shall make or cause to be made from such statement a record of such information and file such record with a copy of the license.
- License Fees. Dog license fees for the following license types shall be established by Town Board resolution: (See Town of Milford “Fee Schedule”)
- Late Charge. A late charge shall be established by Town Board resolution for each thirty day period after the expiration date of such license.
- In addition to the license fee established by Town Board resolution, each applicant for a dog license shall pay a surcharge of at least $1.00 for each spade or neutered dog or a surcharge of at least $3.00 for each unspade or unneutered dog as set forth by Town Board resolution. The amounts collected through this surcharge shall be used for the purposes of carrying out animal population control efforts. Where the owner submits 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, such dog shall be treated as a spade or neutered dog for purposes of this surcharge.
- In addition to the license fee established by Town Board resolution, any person applying for a dog license for a dog identified as unlicensed during an enumeration shall pay an additional fee as established by Town Board resolution. Such additional fee shall be used to pay the expenses incurred by the Town in conducting the enumeration. In the event that the additional fees collected exceed the expenses incurred by the Town in conducting an enumeration in any year, such excess fees may be used by the Town for any other lawful purpose.
- Upon submission of proper documentation, there shall be no fee charged for the license issued for any detection dog, guide dog, hearing dog, police work dog, service dog, therapy dog, war dog or working search dog as defined in Section 108 of Article 7 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. However, an identification tag will be issued for these dogs.
- Any dog owner 65 years of age or over may be entitled to pay a lower annual license fee as set forth by Town Board resolution.
- Upon validation by the clerk, the application shall become a license for the dog described therein. Once an application has been validated, no refund shall be made.
- The clerk shall provide a copy of the license to the owner and retain a record of the license in either paper or electronic format.
- Each license issued or renewed shall be valid for a period of 1 year and shall expire on the last day of the last month of the period for which it is issued. Renewal shall be for a minimum of 1 year and shall not exceed 3 years based on the validation term of the rabies vaccination.
- No license shall be transferrable. Upon the transfer of ownership of any dog, the new owner shall immediately make application for a license for such dog. The original issue identification tag shall remain the same for the life of the dog.
- No dog can be adopted out of the Town’s animal shelter without first obtaining a license from the Clerk.
- Purebred Licenses. All dogs shall be licensed individually in accordance with the fees set forth by Town Board resolution.
- Any dog harbored within the town that is owned by a resident of New York City or licensed by the City of New York or which is owned by a non resident of New York State and licensed by a jurisdiction outside the State of New York shall, for a period of 30 days, be exempt from the licensing identification provisions of this article.
Section 6. Identification of Dogs. (NY AGRI & MKTS § 111)
- Each dog license shall be assigned at the time the dog is licensed for the first time, a permanent municipal identification number. Such identification number shall be carried by the dog on an identification tag that shall be affixed to a collar on the dog at all times.
- The identification number shall constitute the official identification of the dog to which it is assigned regardless of changes of ownership, and the number shall not be reassigned to any other dog during the lifetime of the dog to which it is assigned.
- At the time a dog is first licensed, one identification tag shall be furnished to the owner at no charge. Any replacement tag shall be obtained by the owner at his expense. Replacement tag fees are set forth by Town Board resolution.
- No tag carrying an official identification number shall be affixed to the collar of any dog other than the one to which that number has been assigned.
- The identification tag shall be imprinted with the words "Town of Milford and State of New York," a unique identification number and a telephone number of the clerk's office.
SECTION 7. Change of Ownership, Lost or Stolen Dogs. (NY AGRI & MKTS § 112)
- In the event of a change in ownership of any dog that has been assigned an identification number, or in the address of the owner of record of any such dog, the owner of record shall, within 10 days of such change, notify the Clerk.
- If any dog that has been assigned a municipal identification number is lost or stolen, the owner of record shall, within 10 days of the discovery of such loss or theft, notify the Clerk.
- In the case of a dog's death, the owner of record shall so notify the Clerk, either prior to renewal of license or upon the time of such renewal.
SECTION 8. Seizure and Impoundment. (NY AGRI & MKTS § 117)
A. The Dog Control Officer shall seize:
- Any dog which is not identified and not on the owner's premises;
- Any dog which is not licensed, whether on or off the owner’s premises;
(3) Any licensed dog which is not in the control of its owner or custodian or not on the
premises of the dog owner or custodian if there is probable cause to believe the dog is
(4) Any dog which poses an immediate threat to public safety;
(5) any dog in violation of 9(A) through 9(I) of this article.
B. The Dog Control Officer, when acting pursuant to his or her special duty, shall make and maintain a complete record of any seizure and subsequent disposition of any dog. Such record shall include but not be limited to a description of the dog, the date and hour of seizure, the municipal identification number of such dog, if any, the location where seized, the reason for seizure, and the owner's name and address, if known.
C. Each dog seized in accordance with the provisions of this Local Law shall be properly
sheltered, fed and watered for the redemption period as hereinafter provided.
- Each dog which is not identified whether or not licensed, shall be held for a period of
First Impoundment of any dog owned by that person;
Second impoundment within 1 year of the first impoundment of any dog owned by that person:
Third and subsequent impoundments within 1 year of the first impoundment of any dog owned by that person.
Any and all fees incurred by the Town during the First, Second, Third or subsequent impoundments shall be paid by the owner.
- If, upon redemption, any dog received a rabies vaccination, the charge for said vaccination shall be added to the impoundment fee.
If, at the end of the appropriate redemption period, said dog has not been redeemed by its owner, the owner shall forfeit all title to the dog and it shall be available for adoption; or euthanized pursuant to the provisions of Section 118 of the Agriculture and Market Law or be released to an authorized humane society or shelter.
- Promptly upon seizure of any identified dog, the owner of record of such dog shall be notified personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the facts of the seizure and procedure for redemption. If notified personally, such dog shall be held 7 days after the date of notification, during which time the owner may redeem the dog. If notification is made by mail, such dog shall be held for 9 days from the date of mailing, during which time the owner may redeem the dog. In either case, the dog may be redeemed by the owner after payment of the impoundment fees prescribed by subdivision D. (1) and (2) of this section and by providing proof that the dog is licensed.
- Prior to releasing a dog to its owner or adopting out a dog, the clerk shall determine the number of days the dog has been in the shelter, any impoundment fees, and the cost for any veterinary care, which the owner shall pay to the shelter as per town contract together with impoundment fees. After licensing fees, if any are paid to the clerk, such dog may be released by the shelter to the owner.
- The seizure of any dog shall not relieve any person from any violation provided by this Local Law.
- The Dog Control Officer or peace officer observing a violation of this Local Law in his presence shall issue and serve an appearance ticket for such violation. Said violation should be considered a petty offense and not a misdemeanor.
- Any person who observes the dog in violation of this Local Law may file a complaint under oath with the Town Justice of the Town of Milford specifying the nature of the violation, the date thereof, a description of the dog, and the name and a residence if known of the owner of such dog. Such complaint may serve as the basis for enforcing the provisions of this Local Law.
SECTION 9. Prohibited Activities by Dog
It shall be unlawful for any owner of any dog in the Town to permit or allow such dog to:
- Run at large unless the dog is accompanied by its owner or a responsible person and under the full control of such owner or person. For the purpose of the Article, a dog or dogs hunting in the company of a hunter or hunters shall be considered as accompanied by its owner.
- Engage in habitual and loud howling, barking, crying or whining or conduct as to unreasonably and habitually disturb the comfort of any person other than the owner of such dog.
- Uproot, dig or otherwise damage any vegetables, lawns, flowers, garden beds or other property without the consent or approval of the owner of such property.
- Chase, jump upon or otherwise harass any person in such manner as to reasonably cause intimidation or fear or to put such person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.
- Habitually chase, run alongside of or bark at motor vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles while in a public street, highway or place or upon private property without the consent or approval of the owner of such property.
- Create a nuisance by defecating, urinating or digging up public property or private property without the consent or approval of the owner of such property.
- Any person who is the owner, keeper, harborer, person in charge of or person walking a dog within the Town of Milford shall immediately pick up any feces expelled by such dog on any property, the owner of which has not given permission, therefore, and deposit them in a container lawfully used for the disposal of refuse. In no event shall any feces be deposited in sewers or drains whether storm of sanitary.
- It shall be a violation for any owner to confine, restrain or otherwise leave any dog unattended outdoors without adequate shelter for more than 1 hour or to allow any other person to do so.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder, molest or abuse any Dog Control Officer, Health Officer or other official in the performance of their duties under this article.
SECTION 10. Violations. (NY AGRI & MKTS § 118)
A. It shall be a violation, punishable as provided in Section 11 of this Local law, for:
- any owner to fail to license any dog;
- any owner to fail to have any dog identified as required by this Local Law;
- any person to knowingly affix to any dog any false or improper identification tag, special identification tag for identifying guide, service or hearing dogs or purebred license tag;
- any owner or custodian of any dog to fail to confine, restrain or present such dog for any lawful purpose pursuant to this Local Law;
- any person to furnish false or misleading information on any form required to be filed with the Town of Milford pursuant to the provisions of this Local Law or rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto;
- the owner or custodian of any dog to fail to exercise due diligence in handling their dog if handling results in harm to another dog that is a guide, service or hearing dog;
- any owner of their dog to fail to notify the Town of Milford of any change of ownership or address as required by this Local Law.
- any owner to fail to license any dog;
B. It shall be the duty of the Dog Control Officer of the Town of Milford to bring an action against any person who has committed any violation of this Local Law and failure of the owner to redeem such dog after being notified of the seizure. The Town of Milford may elect to either prosecute such action as a violation under the penal law or to commence an action to recover a civil penalty.
SECTION 11. Penalties for Offenses.
Penalties for violation of this Local law shall be prescribed in Section 119 of the Agriculture and Markets Laws of the State of New York as the same may be amended from time to time hereafter. Any fines or penalties imposed shall be the property of the Town.
Any person violating any provision of this Local Law or the Agriculture and Markets Law shall be subject to a fine which will not be less than $25.00 except that:
- Where the person was found to have violated this article within the preceding 5 years, the
- Where the person was found to have committed two or more violations of this Local Law
SECTION 12. Severability.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, or part of this Local Law shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall be confined in this operation to the clause, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
SECTION 13. Repealer.
This Local Law shall supersede all prior local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations relative to the control of dogs within the Town of Milford, and they shall be upon the effectiveness of this Local Law, null and void.
SECTION 14: Effective Date.
This Local Law shall take effect immediately after filing with the Secretary of State.
I hereby certify that the Local Law annexed hereto, designated as Local Law No.1 of the Year 2016 of the Town of Milford was duly passed by the Town Board of Milford on October 19, 2016, in accordance with the applicable provisions of law.