TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the state law, in relation to
designating service dogs as the official state dog
To designate Service & Working Dogs as the Official State Dog of New
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: The state law is amended by adding a new section 89
designating the Service & Working Dog as the Official Dog of New York
Section 2: Establishes the effective date.
In New York State, service and working dogs have made an
unquestionable impact on our daily lives. Every day, across New York,
service and working dogs protect, comfort, and give their friendship
and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, as well as
children and seniors in need of assistance or simply an attentive
friend. Our State Dog should acknowledge the hard work and dedicated
commitment of humanity's best friend in all facets of our lives.
Recognizing the efforts of the working dog will foster a better
appreciation of dogs and their contributions to the betterment of our
daily lives, which goes well beyond that of being really great pets.
Building a foundation of respect for working dogs can be an effective
tool in helping to prevent abuse and neglect for all dogs in New York.
In addition, this legislation can help to raise awareness about the
possibility of adoption of service dogs upon their retirement,
particularly those dogs who serve in the military.
In 1997, New York State made history when the first Puppies Behind
Bars (PBB) program was developed to teach prison inmates to raise and
train service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection
dogs for law enforcement. Throughout the state, from the Staten Island
Ferry to the Canadian border, service dogs are used for vehicle and
truck checks, check-point operations, cargo checks, interior and
exterior building sweeps, and mass-area sweeps.
Throughout the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, nearly 100 search and
rescue dogs and their brave handlers combed Ground Zero for survivors.
Alongside the FDNY and other teams sorting through the debris, these
dogs worked around the clock to locate survivors and casualties in the
rubble. The same holds true recently after Superstorm Sandy hit our
Since 1975, the New York State Police have used a highly skilled and
effective Canine Unit. Originally conceived as a way of keeping secure
the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the unit now operates out of
Cooperstown, through the generosity of the Clark Foundation.
Recognizing the importance of the K-9 Unit, philanthropist Jane Forbes
Clark has provided the unit with a training facility unlike any other
in the United States. These dogs, generously donated by Humane
Societies, private citizens, and breeders across the northeast,
undergo a rigorous training process. Currently, 66 teams of
extensively trained dogs and handlers specialize in either narcotics
or bomb detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid,
and land navigation.
Further protecting New Yorkers, the MTA's 50-member K-9 Unit is the
nation's largest police explosive detection group, providing 24-hour
security through the agency's transportation network, with an emphasis
on the rails. Named in honor of fallen uniformed personnel, from the
police or military, more than half of the dogs used by the MTA are
trained in another discipline, such as locating missing persons,
fleeing suspects, or missing evidence. At New York's parks, farms,
golf courses, and airports, conservation and herding dogs are used to
patrol the grounds while providing a non-lethal means of managing
wildlife, particularly birds and geese, in the area.
Working and service dogs can change the lives of those they come in
contact. Service and working dogs, including mobility assistance dogs
for the physically handicapped, guide dogs for the visually impaired,
and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired help people with various
disabilities in everyday tasks.
These devoted companions provide relief, comfort, and inspiration
during times of stress. As first responders to natural and man-made
disasters, crime scene investigators, seeing-eye companions,
therapists, public safety enforcers, and search & rescue specialists,
among many other things, the service/working dog embodies the spirit
of New York - hard working, loyal, and eager to serve.
This act shall take effect immediately.