New City (March 23, 2012) – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) today joined with Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland), seven police departments spanning Rockland and Westchester Counties, as well as their K-9 companions to call for passage of legislation (S.6244) that seeks to exempt police dogs from confinement and observation in the event that an individual is bitten in the course of their official duty. The senator had originally introduced the bill back in January.
Under current New York State law, animals who may have exposed an individual to rabies must be confined for a 10-day confinement and observation period. However, law enforcement agencies throughout the state argue that this inadvertently poses an undue burden by subjecting police dogs to an unfair double standard. While these K-9 officers are expected to subdue fleeing suspects, at the same time they are punished if they happen to apprehend that same individual.
“When the Clarkstown Police Department brought this issue to my attention earlier this year, they told me law enforcement should not have to be handcuffed by another senseless mandate from Albany,” said Senator Carlucci. “Giving our police the tools and flexibility they need to do their job is simply the right thing to do, and I look forward to working together with my colleagues in state government to address this matter.”
The term confinement and observation refers to the conditions under which apparently healthy dogs, cats, domesticated ferrets, and domestic live stock could be subjected to either home confinement if they bite and individual and are not exhibiting rabies symptoms.
Michael, Sullivan, Chief of Police for the Clarkstown Police Department, said, “Keeping K-9 officers on the beat and out of the confines of a facility ultimately serves in the best interest of taxpayers. We applaud Senator Carlucci for taking the lead on this important issue.”
If the County health authority does not approve home confinement, however, the 10 day confinement and observation period must take place at another facility, such as an animal shelter, veterinarian’s office, kennel or farm. Upon the conclusion of the confinement and observation period, the county health authority must verify that the animal is healthy before allowed to be released.
“These dogs are extraordinary animals that help keep the public safe,” said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, who plans to take up the bill in the State Assembly. “Obviously they should be treated differently than other dogs. It is common sense to clean up the language in the law to protect law enforcement and their K-9 units.”