NYSDAM Has Unleashed Its Licensing Authority To Local Municipalities
There’s a new canine sheriff in town. At the Village of Floral Park Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7, Mayor Kevin J. Greene announced that Floral Park will now be solely responsible for issuing dog licenses for residents’ pets. In the past, the role was shared by officials from both the Village of Floral Park and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM). However, as of Jan. 1, 2011, NYSDAM will no longer provide dog tags, issue license renewals or maintain dog-licensing data as a service to municipalities. As a result, the village will assume the responsibility for dog license issuances and the administration of all facets of licensing programs.
Currently, residents apply for a dog license at Village Hall by filling out the necessary paperwork, presenting an up-to-date rabies certificate and paying a fee. The village administrator then forwards all paperwork to Albany, which in turns issues the dog tag. For spayed or neutered dogs, the current fee is $5, which is split equally between Albany and Floral Park. The current fee for unspayed or unneutered dogs totals $13: $7.50 goes to the state, an additional $3 goes to the state because the dog is unsprayed or unneutered, and $2.50 goes to Floral Park, according to an official at Village Hall.
As of Jan. 1, 2011, residents will still apply for dog licenses at Village Hall by filling out the necessary paperwork and presenting an up-to-date rabies certificate, but the fees will be slightly different. For spayed or neutered dogs, there will be a $5 village fee and a $1 surcharge imposed by Albany to benefit a state-run animal rescue fund. For unspayed or unneutered dogs, the village fee will be $10 and a $3 surcharge will be imposed by Albany. In all cases, Floral Park will issue dog tags to residents immediately upon receipt of all of the necessary paperwork and fees.
To assist with this transition, NYSDAM has established a Municipal Dog Licensing Toolkit, which includes several documents, including New York State Animal Population Control Program Changes, Dog Licensing Law Changes and Vendor Lists (Dog Tags and Software). While neighboring municipalities such as Garden City have purchased new software to track licenses and generate renewal letters, Floral Park has developed its own in-house tracking system, an official at Village Hall said.
This change in procedure for dog licensing is a result of massive cuts in spending by state agencies, which has impacted staffing at NYSDAM. When compared with highly contagious animal and human diseases such as Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), Tuberculosis, Brucellosis and Chronic Wasting Disease—all of which are overseen by NYSDAM’s Division of Animal Industry, which historically has also overseen dog licensing—dog licensing is deemed a non-essential service. The elimination of the state’s role in dog licensing is to ensure that resources for animal disease programs will not be jeopardized.
During the board meeting, one Floral Park resident inquired about the impact on the village’s resources. “What cost versus what revenue? Will our revenue cover our cost to do this? We have to print the licenses. Somebody will have to be around to examine the dog,” she questioned.
Mayor Greene is confident that Floral Park’s new role will not be a hardship for the village. “The fees that we collect will cover the costs of managing the license,” he said.
Another question that arose is whether a fine will be imposed if a resident does not apply to the village for a dog license. “There is a fine if somebody’s dog is captured out in the street, and it’s not licensed,” the mayor said.
A longtime resident who lives on Cypress Street also questioned how the licensing law will be policed. “Who polices [dog licensing]? Say I’m walking my dog and I don’t have a license on it. Would a policeman stop me?”
“I won’t say that we’re aggressive in checking the dog licenses in the street, but the police department could do that. They would be the ones who would enforce it.”
Currently, approximately 250 residents of the nearly 6,000 households in Floral Park hold dog licenses.