New York State Dog Laws


The laws of dog ownership in New York include basic principles of responsible dog ownership such as getting rabies shots and picking up after pooches. The state also eschews doggie discrimination and has regulations on the books to protect new pet owners from stores and breeders that may be trying to peddle sick puppies.

Basic Laws

Dogs 4 months of age and up need to be licensed by local governments in New York state; a rabies vaccination is required to license your dog. A booster vaccination is required within a year of the first dose. An exception for the rabies requirement is made for dogs passing through New York and only within state limits for 15 days or fewer. Animal control officers have the authority to seize unlicensed dogs, even from the owner's home.

If a municipality decides that dogs are causing havoc to local deer populations through attacks or "chasing and worrying deer," the local government can order all dogs confined until the deer population recovers. It's illegal for dogs to be taken deer hunting on protected state lands.

Leash laws and barking ordinances are up to local jurisdictions, which are allowed to enact orders that dogs be confined from sunset to sunrise.


  • Stop if you accidentally hit a dog with your car. It's against New York law for a driver to hit an animal and not stop to help, including attempting to find the dog's owner or calling police.

Aggressive Dogs

New York prohibits cities from passing breed-specific legislation, which can be used to regulate ownership, residency and neutering of dogs deemed more aggressive than others.

Individual dogs alleged to be dangerous will undergo behavioral evaluations from a court-sanctioned expert and are subject to exoneration, confinement or euthanasia by a judge depending on the offense. Provisions under which a dog attack can be ruled justifiable include tormenting a dog or putting a canine in a position where she needed to protect her people or her puppies.

Lemon Law

Borrowing terminology from automotive laws that protect consumers from a car failing a week after you drive it off the lot, New York's Pet Lemon Law targets unscrupulous breeders or pet stores selling dogs. If a dog is sold with an undisclosed illness or congenital condition that affects its health and this is discovered within 14 days of the purchase date, the new owner obtains certification from a veterinarian and can demand a refund, replacement or reimbursement of medical costs.

Pick It Up

New York City is famous for its Pooper Scooper Law. It's not just about dog owners remembering to baggie waste every time they take their dog out to do his business. If a dog defecates on a lawn not belonging to his owner, and the person walking the dog doesn't clean up, that property owner is required by law to pick up the poop. But a tipline system also gives residents a means to report poor pooper-scooping manners. An agent of the city, such as a police officer, needs to see someone not cleaning up after their dog to issue a ticket.

It's state law under public health code, though, that every city with more than 400,000 residents, as well as smaller cities such as Yonkers and Albany, require dog owners to pick up after their pooches or face fines up to $250. And other municipalities in the state can choose to be tough on lazy dog owners as well with similar waste laws.

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