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Is it legal to own a pit bull in New York?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2021 | Attacks by Dogs and Other Animals

72% of the fatal dog attacks recorded in the United States in 2020 were the result of pit bull attacks. The severity of injuries caused by this breed has led many states to designate the breed as dangerous or to outright ban ownership.

Is it legal to own a pit bull in the state of New York?

Legality varies by city

There are no statewide regulations that govern pit bull ownership in New York. However, many cities have passed ordinances that restrict or ban ownership of the breed. For example, Hornell requires mandatory liability insurance, Larchmont has banned the breed and Peekskill designates the breed as presumed dangerous.

Pitbull restrictions in Poughkeepsie, NY

In the town of Poughkeepsie, there is no breed-specific legislation that regulates pit bull ownership. However, there are several behaviors dog owners are not permitted to allow their dogs to engage in:

  • Running at large, unless restrained by a leash and collar or otherwise under the control of the owner or another responsible person
  • Habitual loud barking or howling
  • Destruction or damage of property
  • Nuisance behavior
  • Harassing or chasing any person
  • Intimidating or putting any person in reasonable fear of injury or bodily harm
  • Habitually chasing motor vehicles

Additionally, an animal control officer may investigate any dog that is dangerous as described by § 121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

Dog owners who violate these regulations may face prison time or civil fines. Additionally, they may be financially liable for injuries caused by dangerous or improperly controlled animals.