Adrian's Law raises questions from some Syracuse councilors, dog owners

Jun 7, 2018

Questions still remain regarding a proposed law in Syracuse that would make it illegal to tether a dog outside in high heat or freezing temperatures for two hours without proper shelter. Wednesday’s public meeting on Adrian’s Law raised concerns from some Syracuse common councilors and dog owners.

Officer Rebecca Cosgrave, the animal cruelty investigator for the Syracuse Police Department, said she responds to hundreds of calls every year of dogs outside in extreme hot or cold weather, which can result in heat exhaustion or frostbite.  

“This law is needed because I see so many animals that are injured and killed and something like this could actually save them before they become injured and killed, which is what we need,” Cosgrave said.

Cosgrave said the law would have saved Adrian, the pit bull who froze to death, tethered outside earlier this year and who the law is named after.

But Joan Albro owns a dog kennel for working and sporting dogs and said while she is not necessarily against the law, she said that tethering can be the safest way to contain a dog.

“There are people out there that do care for their animals and just because they are tethered and they are outside, doesn’t mean that they don’t care for their animals,” Albro said.

Albro said on hot days there are shaded areas outside cooler than inside her home.

Councilor Joe Carni said parts of the law are vague, including which dogs are exempt.

"I don't think anyone is saying that we don't want to worry about the health and safety of animals in our community, the issue is when we give too much descretion to enforcement officers or don't clearly define what actually is in violation of this law," Carni said. "As it's written right now, I have some hesitations."

Councilor Susan Boyle said she wants to rework parts of the law and get it passed before the hot summer weather hits. If it does pass, violators could be subject to arrest and a maximum $500 fine.