The Dog Federation of New York Responds to Plan by New York City Councilmember Peter Vallone to Reverse State Law and Offers Assistance on Dog Safety Plan

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The Dog Federation of New York expresses surprise at New York City Councilmember Peter Vallone's unfortunate comments promoting a reversal of current New York State law. Councilmember Vallone's proposal would allow authorities to profile dogs, and is based on negative stereotyping of dog owners.

Following Councilmember Vallone's comments promoting his plan to reverse the safety and protections of current New York State dog law, members of the Dog Federation of New York (DFNY), the New York affiliate for the Campaign For Responsible Ownership, offer their assistance to Councilmember Vallone, members of his staff and the New York City Council to help educate and guide the Council to create and enhance a public health dog safety plan.

New York City Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) recently and unexpectedly began a campaign to promote Resolution 156, his dangerous dog law proposal. Res. 156 was introduced nearly a year ago and assigned to the New York City Council's Committee on Health, where it has gathered dust ever since. The resolution, which calls on the New York State legislature to reverse current statewide law prohibiting localities from profiling dogs based on their apparent breed ("breed specific legislation"), negatively stereotypes dog owners as well as their dogs.

"We were saddened to see Councilmember Vallone use language which isolates and stigmatizes many caring New York dog owners, pigeonholing them as criminals and drug dealers," commented DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer. "Negative stereotypes deepen misunderstanding, and encourage heightened levels of mistrust, fear and discrimination. Good people who take excellent care of their dogs are harmed. It is very disappointing coming from an elected official."

In addition to negative stereotypes, Councilmember Vallone perpetuated a number of other myths and legends. Appalled DFNY members offer their assistance to the Councilmember and his staff in an effort to prevent the further distribution of bad information. Public servants dedicated to the welfare of all New York City residents should base themselves on a firm understanding of basic dog behavior and anatomy, as well as an understanding of dog bite statistics and related data. For example, contrary to the impression Res. 156 leaves the reader, New York City has experienced a dramatic decline in reported dog bites over the last several decades.

The Dog Federation of New York is committed to helping New York City's elected officials respond appropriately to the concerns we all share: protecting the health and safety of the citizens of New York, particularly our children, and helping New York City remain a dog-friendly, dog-safe place to live.

About the Dog Federation of New York:

The Dog Federation of New York is a statewide coalition of dog clubs, organizations and individual dog owners that serves the public interest by educating citizens and public officials on dog safety and responsible dog ownership. DFNY advocates for strong and humane dog-related legislation. We are committed to working with municipalities across the state to develop preventative dog owner education programs, and encourage local governments to implement dog safety and dog bite prevention programs, particularly for school-aged children.

The Dog Federation of New York welcomes all dog owners and dog-related organizations in New York. Visit us on the web at http://www.DogFederationofNewYork.org.

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MAHLON GOER
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