Justice for Arlo! NY Department of Health: Hold Owners Accountable for the Actions of their Dogs!
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On June 5th 2013, at 10:20pm during our nightly leashed walk in Greenpoint Brooklyn, my dog, a Pomeranian named Arlo, was killed in an unprovoked dog attack on his first birthday. The owner of the other dog fled the scene after his dog quickly lunged at Arlo, brutally attacking him. My beloved dog died in my arms on our way to an emergency vet, my efforts to resuscitate him failed. Since the incident, I have received multiple messages from people who have found themselves in a similar situation and feel completely helpless. They have lost their dogs, or have paid thousands out of pocket for veterinary care after an unprovoked attack.
In my situation, the entire attack was caught on camera and the identity of the dog owner had been confirmed. I had multiple people come forward claiming they too had witnessed the owner not having control of his aggressive dog. This showcases that the owner knew his dog was aggressive but did not take the precautionary measures that were obviously needed, resulting in Arlo's death. His actions also showcase he felt very little guilt about the situation having sped off, leaving a crying girl and her dying dog on the sidewalk. When I contacted the NY Department of Health to inquire about a 'Dangerous Dog Hearing,' they stated since it was not a dog-on-human attack they would not allow me a hearing. This means that dogs can continue to attack and kill other dogs without owners being held accountable.
A major component of pet ownership is the responsibility to provide not only food, shelter, and companionship but training and education so that the dog, just like a child, learns appropriate behavior.
New York City does not enforce certain dog laws, such as owner accountability in unprovoked dog-on-dog attacks. Thus, dogs can continually attack and kill other dogs without the owners being forced to cover medical and vet expenses, attend obedience training, muzzling their dog when in public spaces, neutering, or maintaining an insurance policy on their dog. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. With so many dogs sharing spaces in the city and its boroughs, pet safety and owner accountability must become a priority.
*New York State Agriculture and Markets Law Section 121 imposes penalties and controls on the owners of dogs who have attacked or threatened to attack.
By statute, the penalties on the owner of a pet who has attacked can range from a fine to the possibility of one year in jail.*
If a dog attacks or threatens to attack people or other pets, NY Law states hearings can be allotted. Finding a dog “dangerous” in a hearing allows the court to force owners to take action in an attempt to make sure the dog interacts safely with others. The court can request a variety of actions for the pet including:
-Requesting that the dog to be leashed or muzzled at all times in a public area,
-Requesting the owners to confine the pet (by fencing it, etc.) for a specific amount of time,
-Having the dog trained,
-Maintaining an insurance policy on the dog in case of future attack.
NYC, it is time to adhere to the LAW!
So many dogs are injured and killed due to irresponsible dog owners and it is the victim who is left to foot the vet bill!
ARLO'S LAW aims to enforce that victims of such incidents be granted a 'Dangerous Dog Hearings' so that owners are held accountable for their dogs. Dogs are family members not disposable pieces of property, their lives and safety must be taken into consideration. Since they cannot defend themselves, it is us who must act as their voice!
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