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Dog Days Are Coming to Garden City

Village to Take Over Dog Licensing Starting in 2011

They say every dog has its day and for dog owners in Garden City, new dog licensing rules are taking effect next year. On January 1, 2011, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will no longer provide dog tags, issue license renewals or maintain dog-licensing data as a service to municipalities. As a result, the village will assume the responsibility for dog license issuances and the administration of all facets of licensing programs.

On June 22, 2010, Governor Paterson signed a measure into law as part of the 2010/2011 State Budget that moves the remainder of the dog licensing function required by Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to the level of local government. Consequently, the existing roles of both county government and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) in the licensing of dogs will be eliminated on January 1, 2011, according to the NYSDAM website.

At the most recent board of trustees meeting, the board approved funds for the engagement services/software services for a dog-licensing module at a cost of $4,960. “That is the software that we are going to be required to put into place in order to take on the commitment that was mandated by New York State that the individual municipalities take on the dog licensing procedures,” Mayor Robert J. Rothschild said at a recent meeting.

One resident asked the board if dog owners are required to have permits. “I believe we are,” the mayor responded. The resident asked how many people in Garden City have dogs without permits? The mayor said that 378 dog permits have been issued out of the 9,000 households. The resident also inquired as to whether the village would receive monies for the dog license permits and if those fees would be increased from the current amount. The mayor said that fees would increase and would be used toward covering any costs associated with the dog licenses.

Deputy Mayor Donald Brudie questioned why the village needed a new module when it already issued dog licenses before without using the software. Village Clerk Brian Ridgway explained that after a dog license is granted, the responsibility of the village is to pass all that information up to the state. “You will get a mailing from the state, you’ll deal with the state, you and the state communicate back and forth with the application, your payment, etc. This particular software program will not only download the information that is already housed in the state, which would save us a tremendous amount of time gathering the information for 378 dogs and the residents, but also to track when the renewals will be.”

Ridgway indicated that the system also has a feature, which he said is popular with other municipalities, that allows it to generate monthly renewal letters. “The workload on staff would be reduced because the software would know what dogs are coming up in a particular month,” he said. Ridgway added that the renewal letters would generate themselves and the staff will be responsible for collecting the fees and updating the program.

The software would be used through a license agreement and recurring costs would be $800 to $1,000 for the maintenance of this software program. “It will be approximately $900 per year moving forward,” Ridgway confirmed.

Trustee Watras asked what the process will be to get more residents to register their dogs. Ridgway explained that the village will begin a positive public relations campaign by working with the property owners associations and the local media to inform residents about dog permits.

According to NYSDAM, local government action will be necessary to determine local fees and other policies prior to Jan. 1, 2011. The board of trustees will be holding a hearing on the new dog licensing policies on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.