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Taking a Bite Out of Irresponsible Dog Owners
SCHENECTADY -- Recent dog attacks have inspired a plan on both the local and state level to make people more aware of dangerous dogs.
Assemblyman James Tedisco is working on a dangerous dog alert state wide bill. Because session will not meet again until January 2015, Tedisco is encouraging local governments to be proactive. He wants municipalities to place a dangerous dog alert page on their websites.
The page would not list names or addresses, but it would list particular blocks where violations were given to irresponsible owners who have dangerous dogs. This way people cane decide if they want to risk walking in that area.
"This is more transparency, this is more information, this is more opportunity for them to be safer," says Tedisco. "It's not going to stop every dangerous dog from attacking individuals or other animals, but it will give enough information to allow people to make informed decisions, and stay safe as individuals and as families."
The city of Schenectady could be the first to start. Councilman Vince Riggi says he will bring it up during Monday night's public safety committee meeting.
Tedisco hopes that other municipalities will follow suit.
"Citizens should not only be able to exercise themselves, walk the streets of their own neighborhoods, they should be able to walk their dogs too without feeling the dangers of a dangerous dog and an irresponsible dog owner," says Tedisco.
Tedisco is also pushing another bill that would increase penalties for owners of problematic pets. If an owner's dog bites a person or animal and causes serious injuries, the owner would face a $5,000 fine and possibly spend two years behind bars.
"Dogs don't necessarily get dangerous by themselves," adds Tedisco. "Sometimes it's the irresponsibility of the owner. We have an obligation to protect our constituents from the dangerous dogs and the irresponsible dog owners. They should be the ones to own up and take some responsibility."