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A06681 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2011-2012 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 24, 2011
        Introduced  by M. of A. KELLNER -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Governmental Operations
        AN ACT to amend the state law, in relation to designating rescue dogs as
          the official state dog
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1.  Legislative intent. Throughout history, art and literature
     2  have  depicted  humans in all walks of life and social strata with dogs,
     3  illustrating their widespread acceptance in everyday  life.  Some  reli-
     4  gions  even incorporated them into their worship. Indeed, dogs have long
     5  been admired for the purity of their  character  traits,  with  military
     6  annals  documenting  the  wartime bravery and courage of dogs in the K-9
     7  Corps.
     8    Closer to home, our own culture is  populated  with  examples  of  the
     9  well-established  place  dogs have found in our hearts and homes. People
    10  of all ages, but particularly the elderly and  the  young,  enjoy  their
    11  companionship. For single people, dogs offer a welcome relief from lone-
    12  liness.  For  children,  an  animal  in  the home contributes warmth and
    13  unconditional love, and teaches responsibility and consideration for the

    14  needs of another creature. Those who suffer from disease or injury expe-
    15  rience a therapeutic, even spiritual, benefit from their presence.
    16    Dogs do so much good for the community: they give us a sense of  opti-
    17  mism,  safeguard  us  from depression and loneliness, and break down the
    18  barriers that isolate us from one another. Their presence  improves  our
    19  health, protects us from danger, and teaches us about caring and respon-
    20  sibility. And they ask for so little in return.
    21    Sadly,  as  many as 4 million dogs enter animal shelters in the United
    22  States each year.  Over 90 percent of these dogs are savable.   Most  of
    23  them  are simply victims of circumstance, ending up in a shelter through
    24  no fault of their own: a person moves, a couple divorces, a job is lost,
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets

                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6681                             2
     1  someone gets ill or dies. Most of the dogs  are  healthy,  well-behaved,
     2  and even housetrained.
     3    Unfortunately,  some  people  perceive  rescue  animals  as "damaged,"
     4  concerned that the reason they are in the shelter is  because  something
     5  is wrong with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. But because
     6  of that perception, some people choose not to adopt. Tragically, roughly
     7  half of all dogs in shelters are killed.
     8    The  deaths  of  these  innocent  animals  can  be  prevented  through
     9  adoption. Shelter and rescue animals are eager to become beloved members
    10  of a family, unconditionally loving  and  loyal  pets,  grateful  for  a
    11  second chance.

    12    While  some with special needs might need a little extra TLC, they can
    13  become members of loving homes, as many  of  the  dogs  saved  from  the
    14  horrific dog fighting operation in the Michael Vick case have proven.
    15    Adopting  an animal from a shelter or rescue group eases the burden on
    16  the shelter or rescue group, enabling it to continue to serve the commu-
    17  nity by taking in other  unwanted  or  needy  animals.  Generally,  dogs
    18  adopted  from  shelters  or  rescue  groups are neutered or spayed, thus
    19  reducing the number of homeless dogs in the state.
    20    There are many benefits to adopting an animal from a shelter,  ranging
    21  from the ownership support services that most shelters and rescues offer
    22  to  the ability to adopt a dog that is already trained and housetrained.
    23  Many animal shelters and rescue organizations provide new owners with an

    24  array of material concerning their new pet's  personality,  temperament,
    25  habits  and  other  general  qualities, and relating to training, common
    26  behavior problems, feeding, general care and more. In addition, there is
    27  the satisfaction of knowing that  through  adoption,  a  life  has  been
    28  saved.
    29    As  with  the  designation  of  other state symbols, such as the state
    30  flower or state tree, designating the rescue dog as official  state  dog
    31  will  serve  an  important  educational function. The state will promote
    32  humane education, providing opportunities for children in particular  to
    33  learn about adopting rescued animals, as well as about the importance of
    34  measures  such as spaying and neutering pets, providing them with micro-
    35  chip identification implants, and providing responsive pet  care-all  of
    36  which have been proven to reduce the number of animals arriving in shel-

    37  ters.
    38    The  legislature  hereby  finds  and declares it necessary and in good
    39  policy of the state to promote and encourage  the  adoption  of  animals
    40  from  animal  shelters  and animal rescue organizations and to recognize
    41  the services these entities provide.
    42    § 2. The state law is amended by adding a new section 84-a to read  as
    43  follows:
    44    §  84-a.  State dog.   The rescue dog shall be the official dog of the
    45  state of New York. As used in this section "rescue dog" means a  dog  of
    46  any  breed or mixture of breeds rescued and adopted from an animal shel-
    47  ter or rescue group located in the state.
    48    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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