Nassau Legislator John Ferretti today expressed relief and gratitude after “Benny’s Law,” new legislation that will create a dangerous dog registry and notification system, was signed into law by the County Executive. The bill, named “Benny’s Law” was proposed by Ferretti and Legislator Rose Marie Walker and originated from a personal ordeal Ferretti and his family experienced after their beloved pet “Benny” was attacked and almost killed by a neighbor’s dog with a prior history of violence. The measure was passed unanimously by the full Legislature last month.
“This legislation will now offer more protection by making owners of dogs deemed to be dangerous by the courts responsible for alerting neighbors of the threat they pose,” Ferretti said. “Hopefully it will help keep dogs safer and prevent their owners from having to go through what Benny, my family and I have had to endure.”
Under the new law, if a judge determines an animal meets the dangerous dog threshold, the owners must notify by mail neighbors who live within a 1,000-foot radius. The Nassau County Police Department will work with the Nassau SPCA to maintain a registry of judicially determined dangerous dogs, which will include the address of the property the dog is housed, the date of the incident, the duration of the dangerous dog designation, as well as the breed, weight, age and color of the dog. The Nassau SPCA will provide the law to the dog’s owner and explain the obligations. Violators will face a $500 fine, and an additional $100 a day fine for every day afterward if they don’t comply.
“This is a very important law, because if you live in, say the Town of Hempstead and a District Court Judge has determined that you have a dangerous dog, but then move to the Town of North Hempstead or Town of Oyster Bay, there is no mechanism for those Towns or your new neighbors, to know that you have a dangerous dog,” Nassau SPCA’s Gary Rogers said. “This law and this database will help protect not just our dogs and pets, but also our neighbors from other dangerous dogs throughout the County. It will also give owners of dangerous dogs the information they need to help their pet and protect it and others from it.”
“I must also remind residents, that if you see an attack like this, or if your pet is attacked, please, call the police. That is how this law is triggered, and that is how we can make sure residents are informed and our neighborhood pets are safe,” Ferretti concluded.