NYS Changes to Dog Licensing and APCF

In 2010 New York State made substantial changes in its Animal Population Control Fund (APCF) for low cost spay/neuter services. Effective January 1, 2011, the state Dept. of Ag & Markets no longer administered a voucher/veterinary reimbursement program.

Instead, the Commissioner of the Dept. designated a non-profit, the ASPCA, to administer APCF with the goal of "reducing the population of unwanted and stray dogs and cats".  NYS Ag & Mkts. Law Sec. 117-a
The ASPCA administers the program under a five year contract effective through December 31, 2015. ASPCA should receive $1 million each year from the APCF to offer grants to eligible non-profits that provide low cost spay/neuter services in the state. ASPCA can also fundraise to support the plan.

The ASPCA is required to report to the governor, commissioner and Assembly and Senate leaders annually: "the balance of the fund, annual expenditures, annual income, the number of entities receiving funding and the amount received by each entity, the total number and type of low-cost spay-neuter services provided by each entity, the method of providing such services by each entity, the expenditure made for promoting the fund and description of marketing efforts, and recommendations regarding the implementation and financial viability of the fund."

The criteria for an individual pet owner’s eligibility for low cost spay/neuter did not really change: The recipient of low cost spay/neuter services must be a New York state resident who either has adopted a dog or cat from a shelter, pound, humane society and the like; or receive a form of government financial assistance. The ASPCA is authorized with the commissioner’s approval, to initiate additional similar financial assistance programs, the participants in which would be eligible for low cost spay/neuter services.

Counties will be able to implement their own low cost spay/neuter programs and, if approved, can receive funding from the Animal Control Population Fund. Municipalities and non-profit organizations in counties without their own approved plan can apply to the APCF for funding for low cost spay/neuter programs.

At the same time, the state is now no longer be involved in issuing dog licenses; instead, municipalities have taken over that task under certain restrictions.  A county has the authority to issue dog licenses for municipalities in its jurisdiction.  

Regardless, the local government must collect a surcharge on licenses for deposit in the APCF. This surcharge must be at least $1 dollar for altered dogs and at least $3 for unaltered dogs (Previously the law only required a $3 assessment on licenses for unaltered dogs.) The total license fee for "an unspayed or unneutered dog shall be at least five dollars more than the total fee for a spayed or neutered dog. All revenue derived from such fees shall be the sole property of the municipality … and shall be used only for controlling dogs and enforce[ement of dog control laws], including subsidizing the spaying or neutering of dogs and any facility …and subsidizing public humane education programs in responsible dog ownership."  The local government is authorized to add surcharges to licensing fees in limited situations, to cover costs associated with handling unlicensed dogs found during a census of dog owners. Excess fees from such a surcharge "may be used by the municipality for enforcing [the dog control laws] and for spaying or neutering animals; and …[for]… identification tags."

For more information….  Go here to find  changes relating to New York state licensing fees. 

For information about dog licensing in New York City….