01/27/2011 04:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NYC Tightens Leash on Dog Laws

It's high time for two new dog laws in New York City. Last week the City Council approved two bills aimed at protecting animals.

The council was nearly unanimous in voting against the tethering of animals for more than three consecutive hours in any continuous 12-hour period. Doing so would result in a written warning or a fine of up to $250 for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders could face a $500 fine and a few months behind bars.

"We field roughly 100 calls per day about dogs that are tied up outside -- 10 of which are right here in the metro area," said Robert Misseri, former president and founder of Rescue Ink. Mr. Misseri, who founded and is now president of a not-for-profit called Guardians of Rescue, said the new dog law would lend much-needed support from law enforcement, the ASPCA and the police department when it comes to door-to-door advocacy for tethered dogs.

Animal advocates are lauding a second bill in which the council voted to increase the annual fee for licensing dogs that aren't spayed or neutered by more than 65 percent. The licensing fee for a dog that is not fixed would be raised to $34 from $11.50.

Council member Jessica Lappin of Manhattan who sponsored the bill that encourages spaying and neutering, said in a statement that the legislation "encourages people to do the right thing for their pets while raising money from those dog owners who don't do the right thing."

While I applaud the spirit of Ms. Lappin's bill, I worry that it's not going to be an effective law. I am a staunch supporter of spaying and neutering, however, in my experience, many people who do not fix their animals, also have no intention of licensing their dogs.