Wall Street Journal: Pet Legislation Passes
By Michael Howard Saul
January 19, 2011
The New York City Council approved two bills Tuesday aimed at protecting animals, winning praise from some animal advocates.
The council voted 47-1 to prohibit tethering an animal for more than three consecutive hours in any continuous 12-hour period.
The council voted 41-7 to increase the annual fee for licensing dogs that aren't spayed or neutered to $34 from $11.50.
"Tethering an animal for an extended period of time is cruel and unusual," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. "This bill will not only prevent this type of unnecessary cruelty, but also increase public safety for pedestrians throughout the City."
First-time violators would be subject to a written warning or a fine of up to $250 if the animal is injured. A repeat offender could face a $500 fine and up to three months in prison.
Council member Jessica Lappin of Manhattan who sponsored the bill encouraging spaying and neutering, said in a statement that the legislation "encourages people to do the right thing for their pets while raising money from those dog owners who don't do the right thing."
The extra money from license fees will go to a dedicated fund to subsidize animal population control programs.
Council member Charles Barron of Brooklyn, who voted against both bills, said he believes the legislation is "ineffective" and will impose a "regressive tax on working class families."
Ed Sayres, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, lauded the bills. "However, there is still a lot of work to be done for homeless dogs and cats," he said.