Cruelty to animals is prohibited in New York, as it is across the country. The state also has a comprehensive number of rules prohibiting particular activities, such as leaving dogs outside without sufficient shelter or cutting their ears without the assistance of a veterinarian and anesthetic. We've compiled a list of the most significant state legislation that pet owners and animal enthusiasts should be aware of. This information is provided by DogVille.com.
New York prohibits cruelty to animals under any circumstances. This includes acts as simple as leaving a dog outside without adequate shelter. However, if your state requires criminal convictions for many forms of animal abuse, then someone who has been found guilty of these crimes can be sentenced to time in jail. For example, convicted felons who torture animals for fun and profit can be sentenced to up to four years in prison or treatment as long as they are accepted into a state-approved program.
In addition, New York law provides that anyone who fails to provide necessary medical care for an animal may be charged with animal cruelty. For example, if a dog suffers from diabetes and lacks enough insulin to treat his disease, then this would be considered neglect and could result in charges being filed against the owner.
Finally, New York's penal code states that anyone who causes harm to an animal for financial gain can be prosecuted for animal trafficking.
Pets are not permitted in around 75% of all New York City buildings. The New York City Pet Law, which applies to tenants in buildings with three or more units and co-op apartment owners in all five boroughs, protects dog owners who have leased in a building that does not allow dogs. The law requires that landlords provide sufficient housing for pets or offer it for sale at rentable terms.
In addition, most Manhattan and Brooklyn buildings prohibit cats. This is required by law in many cases to prevent overpopulation and protect the health of residents' animals.
Violators can be fined between $250 and $5000 plus court costs. In addition, they could be required to pay for the replacement of any damaged property or lost pet food.
The only exception is if the tenant has failed to give notice of acceptance of the premises ("vacant unit rule") or if there is no other available unit available at the time that they attempt to register their pet (in which case, they would be placed on a waiting list). In this case, the landlord must still accept responsibility for providing housing for the pet but is not legally required to house them together. If your lease contains language that exempts you from having to keep pets and you have not violated any conditions of your lease, then you do not have to take care of one.
For starters, a renter cannot ask for permission to retain an animal that is unlawful to keep as a pet in New York City. As a result, a landlord may properly refuse a request to maintain an animal that might cause damage to the property, is noisy, or could injure or terrify other tenants.
Also, under city law, landlords cannot discriminate against people who want to live in pet-friendly communities. This means they must allow cats and dogs in any rental unit, regardless of whether it's been designated "pet-friendly" by the building owner or not. In fact, many cities across the country have laws prohibiting landlords from denying housing to people who want to live with pets.
In addition, under New York State law, landlords cannot deny apartments solely because they allow pets. This means they must accept all applicants who wish to live in buildings that permit pets, even if they have been given or assigned rooms away from the main living area of the building.
Finally, under New York City law, landlords cannot terminate a lease simply because someone wants to bring their pet into the apartment. If a tenant decides to move out after they have found a new place to live, then the landlord must continue to pay them for the remaining term of their contract. Otherwise, they would be left without a source of income and likely have no choice but to cancel the lease and find another apartment.
With the exception of certified zoological parks, laboratories, circuses, and wildlife rehabilitators, New York City has a rather elaborate and comprehensive list of animals that are defined as wild animals (Health Code 161.01) and are illegal to possess, harbor, sell, or give to another person within the confines of the 5 boroughs.
Even though dogs are considered domestic animals under Health Code, they still fall under the definition of wild animal and are therefore illegal to possess. This means that if you are caught with a dog within the city limits you will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense.
The police can also remove any animal from its owner under two circumstances: when there is a clear and immediate danger to public safety due to the animal's aggressive behavior (for example, if a dog was found to be threatening someone). Or, when the animal enters into the city limits by itself without an appropriate license or vaccination certificate - then it becomes illegal to have it within the city limits.
In addition, under Special Law 2-A, all animals (including fish) found living in waters that are not their natural habitat can be removed from their owners and taken to qualified facilities where they can be cared for until such time as they can be returned to the environment from which they were taken. Fish farms are not considered natural habitats and so this law would apply to any aquarium that does not meet these requirements.