There are many dog lovers in Gardiner. Clear evidence of this can be seen on most warm days, Spring through Fall, at our dog park, located behind Town Hall, as well as by the tremendous number of dog photos on the facebook pages of Gardiner residents. Yes, cats get more play on the Internet, but dogs need us more, so we need to look out for them; hence, the need for an official dog policy, licensing, and dedicated, dog control officers.
For many years, Vinny Brognano was Town of Gardiner Dog Control Officer, and he did a splendid job until his recent retirement from the position. He fielded calls at any time, and made himself available to help any dog in need, whether lost or hurt or in need of licensing, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude for his years of service.
But now there’s a new sheriff in town—I mean Dog Control Officer—Andy Lewis, who has been in his position a few weeks at the time of our interview. Andy is also Gardiner’s Building Inspector and Code Officer, all part-time positions. He said, “I’ve always been involved with animals, growing up Upstate next to a dairy farm.” He explained that his lifelong interest in animals compelled him to offer his services when he heard that Vinny was retiring. He also said, “People can call anytime, and there is a dedicated cell phone number for Dog Control that I answer personally, (914) 388-2892, and I’m also available via email at email@example.com.”
All dogs in town must be licensed by the time a dog is four months old. Owners are required to present a current certificate of rabies vaccination at the time of licensing and renewal. Licenses are valid for one year, and are a bargain for spayed or neutered dogs: $2.50 plus a surcharge of $1 for the purpose of carrying out animal population control. The fee for an unspayed or unneutered dog is $7.50 plus the animal population control surcharge of $3. However, there is no license fee required for a guide dog, police work dog, war dog, hearing dog, detection dog, service dog or therapy dog.
You may wonder what happens to dogs that are picked up wandering, lost or abandoned by their owners. At the Town Shelter, located at the Town of Gardiner Transfer Station at the end of Steve’s Lane, the dogs are fed and watered for 10 days while the owner is sought. Dogs may be redeemed by producing proof of licensing and identification, and by paying the impoundment fees, if any.
If the dog has not been returned or adopted within 10 days, it is referred to volunteers approved by the Town Board and, after another 10 days, the Town will transfer the dog to the Walden Humane Society or another humane society. However, if a veterinarian deems the dog to be terminally ill or seriously injured, or if a Town Justice rules it to be a dangerous dog, it will be euthanized.
Residents can also contact Dog Control if they have a complaint about a dog, and will have the opportunity to file a complaint under oath with a Town Justice. The Town Justice will then summon the owner to appear in person for a hearing, at which both the complainant and the owner will have the opportunity to be represented by counsel.
All commercial kennels must be licensed too. A license for one year can be obtained after the Dog Control Officer has inspected the premises, and after the owner has secured a special use permit and paid a fee of$50. Inthe event of a dispute over whether health and living standards at the kennel are being kept, and whether a license should be renewed, a veterinarian is retained, at the owner’s expense, to advise the Town Board.
It’s a big responsibility our new Dog Control Officer has taken on. Andy wants to avoid hav.ing our dogs end up in the town kennel, so he advises invest.ing in a fence or an invisible fence, and knowing your neighbors and having your neighbors know your dog. Donations of dog food, clean beds and blankets, etc. can be left at the Gardiner Transfer Station trailer, where they will be picked up for use in the Gardiner Town Shelter.