Westchester Dog Owners Win Appeals Court Decision

Dog Federation Of New York celebrates decision allowing challenge to unlawful, discriminatory public policies targeting law-abiding dog owners.

New York, NY, October 18, 2008 --(PR.com)-- The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY), appearing as amicus curiae in the case of During et. al v. The City of New Rochelle, applauds a decision from the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, reversing a lower court dismissal of the case. During oral argument on September 15, the Presiding Judge advised the City of New Rochelle to try to settle with local dog owners. The case is remitted to the Supreme Court, Westchester County for further proceedings.

The New Rochelle dog owners seek nullification of the city’s unprecedented, illegal, and punitive local ordinance, which unfairly requires them to obtain extra photo identifications and licenses, and pay special additional fees, simply to walk a dog in a public park. Dog walkers with leashed dogs in Ward Acres Park in New Rochelle are subject to a disturbing stop-and-search policy in which police officers are instructed to stop people walking their dogs and demand to see a special “Ward Acres Dog Permit” photo identification. Persons unable to produce the special licenses are asked to leave the park and, under the terms of the Ordinance, they are potentially subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

"As a statewide coalition of law-abiding dog owners, we are deeply concerned when a municipality illegally targets residents and tax-payers whose only ‘crime’ is walking a dog in a public place," stated DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer. “New Rochelle residents and non-residents alike are not second class citizens, and state law protects them from unwarranted searches, special license requirements, extra taxes, and other infringements of their civil liberties.”

"Ward Acres was the last park in New Rochelle open to people who want to walk their dogs, and now the City Council seems bent on forcing them out of it. Close to half of all households in New York include at least one dog, and we were surprised and dismayed to see that a better accommodation could not be worked out,” Goer continued. “Our goal is to promote dog-friendly and dog-safe communities for all New Yorkers. We are confident that better solutions are available.”

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City represented the Dog Federation of New York in the appeal. The case was originally filed on April 16, 2007, as Dennis C. During, Michael S. Friscia and Marci Malone v. The City of New Rochelle in New York Supreme Court, Westchester County, Hon. W. D. Donovan presiding, Index No. 6561/07.

For further information on the amicus brief, please contact the Dog Federation of New York. A copy of the appeals court decision is available via the DFNY website.

To learn more about Ward Acres, the Westchester dog-owning community, visit www.WeLoveWardAcres.net.

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 and is committed to working with municipalities across the state.

Visit them on the web at www.DogFederationofNewYork.org

Dog Federation of New York
Mahlon Goer
845 706-1116