WAVERLY - The Waverly dog control officer could have the option to seize unlicensed dogs if town officials agree to alter a local law for dog licensing.
Town Supervisor Michael Bailey said this has not been an option in the town in the past. The purpose of the amendment is to encourage people to license their dogs, he said.
I think if we seize a couple of dogs, that may make a difference, said Town Clerk Deborah Fraser, adding that there are 334 licensed dogs in Waverly and at least 100 unlicensed dogs in the town.
Dog Control Officer Donna Bailey said that when it comes to seizing a dog the state police will need to help to avoid any potential danger. They will come, but it depends on if theyre available, she said.
The revised law would also have Ms. Bailey to issue an appearance ticket rather than rely on a court summons to get offenders before the bench.
Ms. Fraser currently sends those in violation of the dog licensing law a notice, giving them 30 days after the due date to purchase their license.
If they dont comply, I send their name to the dog warden, and she gives them 10 more days and then sends them a court summons, she said, adding that a dog license is a way to keep track of up-to-date rabies shots.
The problem is once the summons is served, not many tend to show for court. Currently there is no law enforcement that can make them attend a court hearing over an unlicensed dog.
Ms. Bailey said that once she serves those the summons her hands are tied. They ignore the summons, she said.
The resolution for the amended law notes that if offenders fail to appear for their court date a criminal summons or warrant for an arrest may be issued.
If you have posted bail, the bail will become forfeited dupon your failure to comply with the directions of this ticket, it states.
Under the proposed license law, dog owners would have to pay $9 per year for spayed or neutered dogs and $17 for unspayed or unneutered dogs.
Ms. Fraser said owners currently pay $7 for spayed or neutered dogs and $15 for unspayed or unneutered dogs.
Although Mr. Bailey and Ms. Fraser were not keen on hiking the license fee, the board agreed to change the pricing, beginning at the first of the year if the new law is approved.
The board also agreed that licenses for seniors age 60 and older will cost $5 for spayed or neutered dogs and $12 for unspayed and unneutered dogs.
Ms. Bailey suggested that dog owners get a grace period to license their dogs, a policy used in Burke and Malone. For example, dog owners in Malone have to pay a $25 fee on top of the cost of a license and rabies shots if they have unlicensed canines. If board members go along with the suggestion, those owners would have a 30-day grace period to obtain the license and the rabies shot without paying the fee.
Ms. Bailey said there is a $15 daily fee for up to the five or seven days for dogs taken to the North Country Animal Shelter. All proceeds from the fees go toward the shelter bills and taking care of the animals.
The five-day period is given to untagged or stray dogs and a seven-day period is given to tagged dogs, according to Shirley Morton, director of the North Country Animal Shelter.
An additional impoundment fee is also due from the owner upon retrieval. The amount is set by state Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 7, Section 117, and restated in the altered local law.
Each dog which is not identified, whether or not licensed, shall be held for a period of five days from the day seized during which period the dog may be redeemed by its owner, states both the state and local laws.
If the owner does not retrieve the dog after the expiration date given, the shelter may put it up for adoption once rabies shots are up-to-date, the dog is spayed or neutered, de-wormed, etc., according to Ms. Morton.
The owner must show proof that the dog is licensed to recover a seized animal, according to Ms. Bailey. Punishment for the first impoundment will be payment of at least $10, at least $20 for the second impoundment within one year of the first impoundment of any dog owned by that person and at least $30 for the third and subsequent impoundments of any dog owned by that person, according to the proposed local law.
An additional fee of around $30 will also be tacked on if, after proof of ownership, the dog doesnt have up-to-date rabies shots, Ms. Morton said.
She voiced her opposition to seizing the unlicensed dogs. She said the owners, not the dog, should be punished.
Towns that contract with the shelter are paying aan annual fee that goes toward the animals care and the shelters bills. Waverly is currently paying a yearly contract of $1,500.
Dividing that by 12 months, Morton said that would be $125 per month, which calculates to $31.25 per week to feed the dogs and spend on bills.
The board decided to table the proposed law until the next meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 18.