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Canine dispute

Council not keen on Sch'dy dog census

Monday, February 25, 2013
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Canine dispute


 A pitbull is seen on the second floor roof of a house on Mynderse Street in Schenectady on February 25, 2013.
A pitbull is seen on the second floor roof of a house on Mynderse Street in Schenectady on February 25, 2013.

— City Clerk Chuck Thorne is once again lobbying for a dog census.

He wants the funds to send inspectors door-to-door, finding where dogs live and checking to see if they have licenses.

But the Schenectady City Council members — who nixed the plan last fall — are still not enthusiastic. It was raised as a council committee meeting last week, but there are no plans to vote on the issue yet.

“I have real concerns,” said Councilwoman Denise Brucker, who said knocking on doors to look for dogs could be dangerous — far more dangerous than in the towns where dog censuses have often been used.

“I wouldn’t want that job. It’s different in a town atmosphere, sometimes, than it is in an urban environment,” she said.

Councilwoman Marion Porterfield agreed. “It’s dangerous,” she said, adding that she wasn’t sure who would do it for the “small amount of money” they would be paid.

Thorne argued that Troy successfully ran a similar program in 2010.

Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said city officials need to have bids and a specific cost before they could vote. “I’m not against the idea, I just need a lot more information to go forward,” she said. “We’re going about it backwards.”

Thorne suggested spending $22,000, which he said could be raised by fining owners of unlicensed dogs $19. But Councilman Carl Erikson said it would be better to pay inspectors $10 per new license.

Brucker agreed. “Certainly an incentive,” she said.

Thorne said the dog census would likely get hundreds of unlicensed dogs registered. Troy had just 974 licensed dogs in 2010, before running a census, he said. After the census, it had 2,500 licensed dogs.

“We have a tremendous number of unidentified dogs picked up,” he said. “I would conservatively expect this to double our licenses in one year, maybe triple.”

Schenectady has 1,500 licensed dogs now. But in the mid-1980s, it had 8,000 licensed dogs, Thorne said.

“The dogs are out there,” he said.

 
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