Schenectady County

Dangerous dog alert to be considered by Schenectady council

The Schenectady City Council chose not to discuss a dangerous dog alert when Councilman Vince Riggi

The dangerous dog alert is back on the table.

The Schenectady City Council chose not to discuss it when Councilman Vince Riggi proposed it a week ago. But then he got an unexpected ally: Mayor Gary McCarthy.

McCarthy criticized the original idea, proposed by Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco, as being worthless. But then he said he did want an alert — a better one.

Tedisco had proposed a generic alert that would list blocks on which dog owners had been convicted of having a dangerous dog. McCarthy said it would be better to list the specific addresses.

“I don’t support notifying people that a dangerous dog is on a certain block,” the mayor said. “It’s more geared toward headlines than results.”

He said listing an entire block could “create a panic.”

“It could be my dog, it could be your dog,” McCarthy said.

He also noted that since the courts determine whether a dog is dangerous, addresses are publicly available.

“The records already exist,” he said. “The state could make that available in a searchable database.”

Riggi is still pursuing the idea of an alert and said he’d be willing to support announcing exact addresses.

“We didn’t want animal lovers confronting people,” he said of the original, less-specific alert.

Still, he agreed criminal records do include addresses.

“It isn’t a whole lot different if people are arrested for burglary or raping people — they put the addresses in the paper,” Riggi said. “If that’s what it’s going to take to get this done, I’m on board.”

He asked Councilman John Mootooveren to put it back on the agenda for discussion Monday. Mootooveren chairs the public safety committee under which the issue would fall.

Mootooveren stressed putting the item up for discussion didn’t mean he was in favor of it.

“It’s just going to be on the agenda,” he said.

But he added that McCarthy’s point about specific addresses indicated the issue needed “more elaborate discussion.”

“Really, we need to look at it very carefully,” Mootooveren said.

Tedisco also plans to propose the alert in next year’s state legislative session. The idea was championed by Schenectadian Rebecca Cigal, whose dog Templeton was killed by two dangerous dogs. The two dogs had launched a similar attack on another dog last summer. Cigal said if she’d known they were there, she would never have walked her dog down that block.

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