Concerns arise over lack of laws required at NY shelters to reveal dog bite history to adopters

As of now, there are no laws in New York that require shelters to tell adopters about a dog's biting history, and there aren't any bills in the works, either.

News 12 Staff

Mar 11, 2020, 12:51 PM

Updated 1,594 days ago

Share:

North Shore Animal League America has been accused of putting dangerous dogs up for adoption without disclosing their biting histories. Some say a new law should be passed to make the practice illegal.
Two former employees tell News 12 the shelter often operated like a revolving door -- taking animals that previously attacked their owners -- and repeatedly passing them off as "sweet," "loyal," and "friendly."
As of now, there are no laws in New York that require shelters to tell adopters about a dog's biting history, and there aren't any bills in the works, either.
Virginia was the first state in the country to pass such a law and that happened just two years ago. Patti Strand with the National Animal Interest Alliance helped spearhead that Virginia law.
Speaking to News 12 via Skype, she says similar measures should be passed across the country.
"Until the shelters and the rescues are held legally responsible, until they are accountable for the dogs they adopt out and the behavior they express and the fact that they knew this dog had a history of aggression, I think it's going to go on," says Strand.
Nassau SPCA Detective Gary Rogers says nothing has been done here because politicians typically react to tragedies, rather than anticipate potential problems.
In fact, the law in Virginia was passed only after an elderly woman was killed by a dog she adopted.
In a statement, the North Shore Animal League denied that bite histories are ever hidden.
"Dogs with a known bite history are monitored and receive behavior modification from our Pet Behavior Team... the dog's full behavior history is disclosed and reviewed -- verbally and in a written document -- with the potential adopter," the shelter said.
The shelter also says that in 2019 it "...celebrated 75 years of Rescue, Nurture and the adoption of over one million homeless dogs, cats, puppies and kittens."
Strand and Rogers say the focus instead should be on making sure each animal is safely placed in a home that's right for them.
"It's not about numbers. It's about having good adoptions and placing them in the proper environment," says Rogers.
Former North Shore Animal League employee Gia Savocchi says, "We need to have a mandatory law in New York State or federally that says animal shelters and private organizations must disclose all dog bites. These are dogs that if they get loose, they can attack a person, they can kill a child, they can kill another dog."
According to Gary Rogers with the Nassau SPCA, Long Island's town shelters are typically forthcoming about dogs' biting histories and in some cases will not put an animal up for adoption if it has a dangerous past.


More from News 12
1:36
3 men face murder charges in strangulation of North Amityville man

3 men face murder charges in strangulation of North Amityville man

1:59
Cloudy, comfortable with seasonal temps; tracking an unsettled pattern this week

Cloudy, comfortable with seasonal temps; tracking an unsettled pattern this week

0:34
Town of Hempstead Councilman Chris Carini laid to rest in Farmingdale

Town of Hempstead Councilman Chris Carini laid to rest in Farmingdale

3:04
Nassau Legislature Rules Committee votes to move forward with transferring operations of Nassau Coliseum to Las Vegas Sands

Nassau Legislature Rules Committee votes to move forward with transferring operations of Nassau Coliseum to Las Vegas Sands

0:24
Duck Donuts to offer BOGO deal Tuesday for National Sprinkle Day

Duck Donuts to offer BOGO deal Tuesday for National Sprinkle Day

1:32
Surf session held for adults and kids with disabilities

Surf session held for adults and kids with disabilities

0:17
Police: Valley Stream man slashed woman with knife at deli

Police: Valley Stream man slashed woman with knife at deli

1:43
Long Islanders have mixed reaction to President Biden’s announcement on presidential run

Long Islanders have mixed reaction to President Biden’s announcement on presidential run

1:25
Harris praises Biden's 'unmatched' legacy, looks to lock up the Democratic nomination

Harris praises Biden's 'unmatched' legacy, looks to lock up the Democratic nomination

2:46
Political analysts, politicians weigh in on Biden’s decision to end 2024 presidential bid

Political analysts, politicians weigh in on Biden’s decision to end 2024 presidential bid

0:46
President Biden announces end of 2024 bid for presidency; endorses VP Kamala Harris for pick

President Biden announces end of 2024 bid for presidency; endorses VP Kamala Harris for pick

2:01
Biden dropped out. What's next?

Biden dropped out. What's next?

1:48
Main Street Long Island: Showcasing the best of Great Neck

Main Street Long Island: Showcasing the best of Great Neck

0:17
Man wanted for breaking into Macy’s at Green Acres Mall

Man wanted for breaking into Macy’s at Green Acres Mall

0:16
Police: 2 men wanted for stealing from car in Ronkonkoma

Police: 2 men wanted for stealing from car in Ronkonkoma

1:40
Paws & Pals: Animals up for adoption at Forgotten Friends of Long Island Animal Rescue

Paws & Pals: Animals up for adoption at Forgotten Friends of Long Island Animal Rescue

2:08
National and local lawmakers stunned by Biden's decision not to seek reelection

National and local lawmakers stunned by Biden's decision not to seek reelection

2:03
How the new Democratic nominee will be selected ahead at the national convention

How the new Democratic nominee will be selected ahead at the national convention

3:11
Who is Kamala Harris? A closer look at the woman who could be on the presidential ticket

Who is Kamala Harris? A closer look at the woman who could be on the presidential ticket

Officials release statements following President Biden's decision to end reelection bid

Officials release statements following President Biden's decision to end reelection bid