TOWN OF NISKAYUNA ANIMAL CONTROL
Stu Smith, Animal Control Officer
Emergencies - dial 911
To report any other dog complaints - 630-0911
Any dogs seized by our Animal Control Officer will be taken to The Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady, 53 Maple Ave, Schenectady, NY 12302. You may reach them at 518-374-3944. For information on the animal shelter or for adoptions you may visit them at their website www.animalprotective.org
**Anyone wishing to find out information on dogs that have been determined dangerous by the Town Court, should submit a FOIL request throught the Town Clerk's office.
CHAPTER 81, DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS: ARTICLE 1 - KEEPING AND RUNNING AT LARGE OF DOGS
81-1. FINDINGS, INTENT AND PURPOSE.
A. The Town Board of the Town of Niskayuna finds that the running-at-large and other uncontrolled behavior of licensed and unlicensed dogs has caused physical harm to persons, damage to property and created nuisances within the town. The Town Board also finds that the growing popularity of large and/or aggressive dogs and the severe consequences that can result from a bite by such a dog require the adoption of regulations requiring additional control measures by the dog's owner.
B. The provisions of this Article are intended to compliment the provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law with regards to dangerous dogs and prohibition of animal fighting.
C. The purpose of this Article is to protect the health, safety and well-being of persons and property by imposing restrictions on the keeping and running-at-large of dogs within the town.
As used in this Article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CLERK - The Town Clerk of the Town of Niskayuna.
DOG - Any member of the species canis familiaris.
DOG CONTROL OFFICER - A person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this Article pursuant to the provisions of #114 of the Agriculture and Markets Law and to carry out any order of a Town Justice pursuant to #121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
DOG PARK - A designated fenced in area, maintained by the Town of Niskayuna, for the exercise of dogs.
OWNER - The person in whose name a dog was last licensed or a person who provided food or shelter to a dog, except that if such person is under eighteen (18) years of age, the "owner" shall be deemed to be the parent or guardian of such person.
TO LEASH - To restrain with a rope, chain or strap attached to a collar or harness in order to control the movement of a dog.
VOICE AND SIGHT CONTROL - To control the movement of your dog regardless of exciting or unfamiliar surroundings (such as multiple dogs and people, different noises, various wildlife, etc.) and visible to you at all times while still under control.
VOICE AND SIGHT CONTROL AREA - A designated, posted area, for the exercise of dogs off a handheld leash while walking, hiking or running in the presence of a person.
A. Any dog which, according to the records of the Dog Control Officer or the Police Department, has inflicted severe injury on a human being, without provocation, on public or private property;
B. Any dog which, according to the records of the Dog Control Officer or the Police Department, has killed a domestic animal, as defined by the Agriculture and Markets Law, without provocation, while off the owner's property;
C. Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting; or
D. Any dog determined to be a "vicious dog" following a hearing conducted pursuant to the provisions of this Article.
81-3. RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNERS.
A. It shall be unlawful in the Town of Niskayuna for the owner of any dog to fail to:
(1) Leash such dog, except when such dog is on property with the express consent of the person owning, leasing or otherwise responsible for such property, or except when such dog is under voice and sight control and within a voice and sight control area designated and posted by the Town.
(2) Confine a female dog in heat to the premises of the owner.
(3) Control such dog with the result that such dog:
(a) Injures any person peaceably conducting himself where he may lawfully be.
(b) Chases, harasses, intimidates or otherwise acts in a manner so as to cause reasonable apprehension of harm or injury to any person while off owner's property.
(c) Causes damage or destruction while on property other than the property of the owner.
(d) Creates a nuisance by:
 Unprovoked barking, whining, howling or making any other noise continuously for a period of 15 minutes or more at a volume which can be heard anywhere beyond the keeper's property line and which disturbs the comfort and repose of any person in the vicinity. For purposes of this subsection, "continuously" shall mean constant without any period of silence which exceeds 30 seconds;
 Defecating, urinating or digging in public property or private property other than the property of said owner; or
 Chasing motor vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians.
(4) Permit any dog to enter the Niskayuna Dog Park without first having obtained a dog park permit from the Town Clerk.
(a) The Niskayuna Town Board, shall set by resolution, a non-refundable annual fee for issuance of a dog park permit.
(b) Both the dog park permit tag and the New York State dog license tag must be worn by any dog while in the dog park.
(c) The Niskayuna Town Board, may by resolution, enact rules and regulations for the use of the Niskayuna Dog Park. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any such rules or regulations. The Town's Animal Control Officer shall have the authority to enforce such rules and regulations.
(d) A dog park permit maybe revoked for continued violations of the dog park rules and regulations for any dog designated as a vicious dog as provided in the Article.
B. The owner of a dog designated as a vicious dog shall be required to undertake the following:
(1) While on the owner's property, a vicious dog must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. If the structure has no bottom, the sides must be embedded into the ground to prevent escape by the animal.
(2) A vicious dog may be off the owner's premises if it is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding six
(6) feet in length and under the control of a responsible person. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but must prevent it from biting any person or animal.
(3) The owner or keeper of a dog designated as a vicious dog shall present to the Dog Control Officer proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.) covering the twelve-month period during which the animal is licensed. The policy shall contain a provision requiring the Town of Niskayuna to be named as an additional insured for the sole purpose of having the Town of Niskayuna notified of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the policy.
81-4. VICIOUS DOGS
A. The Dog Control Officer shall keep records of any dog determined to be a vicious dog. A dog may be designated as a "vicious dog" without a hearing if it is determined to meet the criteria set forth in the definition of "vicious dog" in 81-2 of this Article. A dog may also be designated as a "vicious dog" by a Town Justice following a hearing pursuant to the provisions of this Article. The Dog control Officer shall notify the owner of any dog designated as a "vicious dog" of the designation and provide the owner with notice of additional control measures required by this Article.
B. The owner of any dog designated as a "vicious dog" pursuant to the criteria set forth in the definition of "vicious dog" in 81-2 of this Article without a hearing may request a hearing, pursuant to the provisions of this Article, to have that determination reviewed.
81-5. HEARINGS REGARDING VICIOUS DOGS
A. Upon request by the owner of a dog whose dog has been designated as a "vicious dog" or upon the filing of a complaint substantiated in writing by the Dog Control Officer or any person identifying himself, a hearing shall be held before a Town Justice to determine if a dog is a vicious dog. The complaint shall set forth the nature and date of any act(s), the owner of the animal, the address of the owner and the description of the animal doing such act(s). If a complaint is filed by an individual, the Dog control Officer shall conduct an initial investigation to determine if, in fact, the animal is dangerous.
B. A Town Justice shall determine whether a dog is a vicious dog based upon the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. In addition to the criteria set forth in the definition of "vicious dog" in 81-2, the following criteria can be considered in determining if a dog is a vicious dog:
(1) Any dog which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches, in a menacing fashion, a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds, or private grounds or private premises off the owner's property.
(2) Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals.
(3) No dog may be declared vicious if the action forming the basis of the complaint is an injury, threat or damage sustained by a person who, at the time of the act, was commiting a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of keeper of the dog or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the dog or was commiting or attempting to commit a crime.
81-6. SEIZURE OF DOGS AND OTHER ACTIONS FOR VIOLATIONS.
A. Any Dog Control Officer may seize any dog in the Town of Niskayuna;
(1) Which is unlicensed or untagged, in violation of #109 and/or #112 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
(2) Which is not leashed, in violation of #81-3A of this article.
B. Any Dog Control Officer having reason to believe, from personal knowledge or upon receipt of a complaint substantiated in writing by any person identifying himself, that a dog owner has failed to control a dog in the Town of Niskayuna in violation of #81-3A (3) or 81-3B of this article by filing an appropriate accusatory instrument with a Town Justice of the Town of Niskayuna.
C. Any dog seized pursuant to Subsection A or B of this section shall be impounded, fed, cared for or disposed of as provided in #118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
81-7. FILING OF FALSE COMPLAINTS UNLAWFUL
It shall be unlawful in the Town of Niskayuna for any person to file a complaint, pursuant to 81-6 of this article, with the Dog Control Officer, knowing any material matter set forth therein to be false or without regard to whether such material matter is true or false.
81-8. PENALTIES FOR OFFENSES.
A violation of any of the provisions of #81-3 of this article shall be an offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, by fine not to exceed $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $250 for a third and each subsequent offense. Any Dog Control Officer or any other person may charge a violation of this article by the filing of an appropriate accusatory instrument with a Town Justice of the Town of Niskayuna.
A. Any person having personal knowledge of any action in violation of #81-3C or D of this article or any Dog Control Officer as provided in #81-6B of this article may file a signed complaint, under oath, with a Town Justice of the Town of Niskayuna specifying the objectionable conduct of the dog and name of residence, if known, of the owner.
B. Upon receipt by the Town Justice of any such complaint, he shall summon the alleged owner to appear in person before him 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 Town Justice decides that further action is warranted, he may order:
(1) The dog to be declared a dangerous dog and disposed of pursuant to #121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law or declared a vicious dog pursuant to the provisions of this article.
(2) The owner to be fined as provided in #81-8 of this article.
C. A violation of any order issued by a Town Justice under the provisions of this section shall be an offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, as provided in #81-9 of this article.
81-10. APPEARANCE TICKETS.
A. Notwithstanding the provisions of #81-9B above regarding appearance of the summoned owner in person for a hearing, there shall be issued to said summoned owner an appearance ticket, as provided for in #114 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. The answer to such appearance ticket may be by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, within five days of the alleged violation, as provided in Subsections B or C of this section, in lieu of personal appearance in the Niskayuna Justice Court at the time and place specified in said appearance ticket.
B. If a person charged with the vioation admits to the violation as charged in the appearance ticket, he may complete a form to be provided by the Town of Niskayuna and forward such form and the appearance ticket to the Town of Niskayuna Justice Court, as specified on the appearance ticket. A schedule of penalties may be set by the Niskayuna Town Justices, to appear on the answer form, and if the person charged admits to the violation as charged, a check or money order in the amount of the penalty for the violation charged must be submitted with such answer; or, in the absence of a schedule of penalties, the Niskayuna Town Justices may levy a penalty for each violation as charged on the appearance ticket and notify the summoned owner to pay the same by check or money order.
C. If the person charged with the violation denies part or all of the violation as charged in the appearance ticket, he may complete an appropriate form likewise prescribed for that purpose and forward such form and appearance ticket, together with security in the amount of $15, to the Town of Niskayuna Justice Court. Upon receipt, such answer shall be entered and a new return date established by said Court. Such person shall be notified by return mail of the date and place of such return date, and the security shall be returned upon appearance thereat. If a person shall fail to appear at a return date, when such is provided for pursuant to this section, the security posted to secure such appearance shall be forfeited, and a summons or a warrant of arrest may be issued pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Law.