New York Animal Control Laws

Human Law Enforcement | ASPCA

August 27, 2013 – 14:24

Animal Control

The Department of Human Law Enforcement (HLE, for its acronym in English) ASPCA is empowered to investigate all types of animal cruelty occurring within the state of New York. Unfortunately, not all behaviors that are inhumane or commonly understood as "cruel" are illegal. In New York, the basic crime of animal cruelty encompasses intentional conduct causing unnecessary harm, pain, or suffering to any animal, as well as deliberate neglect of any animal care, which includes food, water and medical care. Under certain circumstances, it is a felony to cause serious physical harm or intentionally kill a pet.


Q: How I can report animal cruelty in New York City?

A: To report animal cruelty to contact us or at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450. After business hours, you will be transferred to a voice mail system and your call will be returned by an agent on duty.

Q: There are many stray dogs in a vacant lot in my neighborhood. Who I can call to this situation?

A: Sadly, stray animals are a big problem across the country. In New York City, the agency under contract to do the work of animal control, including management of stray animals is Animal Care and Control (AC & C). AC & C pick up stray animals and take them to shelters in the city. In addition, the Department of Health of the City of New York is the agency responsible for handling complaints of a "dangerous dog". Contact AC & C by calling 311 to report stray animals.

Q: My neighbor does not control your dog. His dog attacked my dog while walking. Can you be arrested for assault or cruelty to animals?

A: According to the laws of the State of New York, the neighbor can not be arrested for animal cruelty, animal fighting or assault unless the neighbor has caused, ordered or caused the attack. In cases where this occurs, contact NYPD to make a report.

However it is a violation of the Health Code of the City of New York that a landlord let your dog is off leash in a public place. When an uncontrolled dog attacks another animal, the owner of the injured animal should contact the Department of Health of New York City. The Health Department is responsible for implementing the provisions of the Health Code, which include the "leash laws", rules and / or management of "dangerous dogs". In addition, all animal bites must be reported to the Health Department 311.

Q: I know a dog / cat hurt that needs medical attention. The animal was beaten by a car and is lying on the sidewalk. Who do I call?

A: If you see an incident involving hit-an animal and can identify the driver of the vehicle, report the incident to NYPD. Otherwise if you do not witness the accident or can not provide information on the person responsible for the accident, please contact the AC & C by calling 311 to pick up the animal.

Q: My neighbor's dog barks all night. Is it legal for the owner of a dog leave your pet outside all the time?

A: The laws of New York does not require pet owners let their pets sleep in the house with the rest of the family. If an animal is kept outside with food, water and adequate shelter from extreme weather outside, and the animal is not injured or in poor condition, the owner is not committing cruelty to animals.


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