LEWISBORO, N.Y. — Man’s best friend certainly enjoys the outdoors, but owners must ensure that they are not putting their dogs at risk this summer.
“This time of year people like to leave their dogs outside all day long, unattended,” said Joan Dooley, the dog control officer for Lewisboro and Pound Ridge. That presents problems such as excessive barking and “running at large,” which means the dog is “off the owner’s property and not controlled by the owner.”
Even fences and pet containment systems aren’t completely reliable for keeping dogs on the owner's property, so New York state law requires that dogs wear labeled tags or collars at all times and that all dogs are identified.
“People who find dogs would rather call the owner than call me or the police,” Dooley said.
When she does receive a call about an unidentified dog, Dooley follows a procedure to try to return the dog to its owner.
“I can look up on the dog licensing list by area and see if a dog fitting the description based on gender and approximate age exists,” she said. “If I think I have a match I call the owner of the dog on the licensing list. People get mysterious calls from me asking if their dog is home and are usually appreciative that I have checked.”
If Dooley cannot get a match for the dog, she picks it up and takes it to one of the dog holding facilities: South Salem Animal Hospital or Pound Ridge Veterinary Center. The dog is scanned for a microchip, and if the chip is present and registered, the owner is contacted.
Dooley stresses that owners must license their dogs as required by state law.
“I have received probably 40-50 calls for lost dogs so far this year in Lewisboro. Twenty have actually been picked up, unidentified,” she said. “All but four of these were unlicensed and had to pay extra fines for being unlicensed.”
Dooley has other tips to ensure the safety of dogs and people.
“Follow leash laws in places which require them,” she said. “Not all dogs get along, and not all people like dogs. It’s important to respect each other.”
Although the Fourth of July has passed, dog owners should be aware that fireworks frighten both dogs and cats.
“I had a dozen calls in Lewisboro for dogs left outside who ‘must have bolted because of the fireworks’ and ‘ran away,’ ” Dooley said.
If a dog is found, do not take it out of the town in which it was found. “Contact the dog officials in the town where you found the dog,” Dooley said.
For more information on the dog control law in Lewisboro and Pound Ridge, and a link to the dog license application, visit Lewisboro's dog control Web page.