Council alters animal ordinance

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council on Tuesday passed several ordinances amending the City Code regarding animal control in the city, but pulled back on one involving cats and ferrets.

The council passed seven ordinances at City Hall, and the first one garnered the only discussion.

That first ordinance originally said all owners of dogs, cats or ferrets in the city should file with the City Clerk’s Office annual proof the animal had been vaccinated against rabies. All applications for dog licenses should be accompanied by proof of the vaccination too.

But when the first ordinance came up for a vote, Mayor Dayton King said the city might have a problem enforcing rules regarding cats because they’re not required to be registered in the city.

“I’m not in favor of licensing cats and ferrets,” added city Police Chief Donald VanDeusen.

King and the council both asked each other where that proposal came from. City Attorney Anthony Casale said it came from city Animal Control Officer Richard Schuyler.

Second Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds said the council should table the ordinance and review it.

“I think it is unenforceable, at least part of it,” said King.

The part he was referring to was the inclusion of cats and ferrets, so those animals were struck from the amended ordinance. Otherwise, the amended ordinance passed. Dog owners will be required to file with the City Clerk’s Office annual proof that the animal was vaccinated against rabies.

King asked VanDeusen if he saw more police work required with the animal control ordinances, and he said he didn’t.

“We can see some of these cases resolved,” the police chief said,

Other ordinances related to: penalties for not registering dogs, prohibiting “dangerous dogs” in the city and further defining them, prohibiting at-large dogs, and restrictions on the leashing or line-typing of dogs in the city.

During a public hearing on the ordinances, Jan Ryder, a member of the board of directors of the Regional Animal Shelter of Gloversville, thanked the council for its actions on animal control. She also asked if the city can approve legislation related to animal abuse. She asked whether city police can issue tickets to people who abuse and starve animals.

Casale told the council the state Penal Law addresses animal issues, such as abuse and neglect, so such legislation is not necessarily intended for the City Code.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.