Pit Bull Laws in New York

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

New York has no statewide pit bull regulations but many cities have their own ordinances that either ban or restrict pit bull ownership.

Not Allowed

The New York City Housing Authority bans pit bulls in any housing under its control. Other banned breeds include dobermans and rottweilers.

Highly Restricted

The Village of Larchmont only allows pit bulls that were in residence prior to January 26, 1998, when pit bull restrictions went into effect. Residents who owned their dog before this date must register their pit bull with their local housing authority every 12 months. To do so, you'll need to provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000. Village rules require that you post your property with a reflective warning sign and keep pit bulls secured in your home or kenneled in an enclosure designed to restrain the animal. When the dog is not in one of these areas, keep him muzzled and on a leash no longer than four feet. You cannot turn the leash over to any other person or allow anyone in your household under the age of 18 to walk the dog. In addition to muzzling, you must carry a tool or other implement designed to pry the dog's jaws open. If you violate these laws you could receive a sizable fine or serve up to six months' prison time.

A Vicious Breed

The Village of New Hyde Park classifies pit bulls as "vicious" dogs. Pit bull owners must obtain a license for their dog through the Village licensing agent by providing proof of liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 per person. Failure to license the dog is a Class B misdemeanor. Other municipalities that consider pit bulls as a vicious breed include Hempstead and Sands Point.

Dangerous Dogs

Some municipalities, such as Spring Valley and the City of Peekskill consider pit bulls "dangerous" dogs. This means that if the dog caused any damage or injury, the penalties would generally be more severe than if a non-dangerous breed were to cause them. Penalties for injuries caused by a dangerous dog breed could be as severe as a one-year prison sentence and euthanasia of the dog. This classification could also require you to have liability insurance for your pit bull. The town of LaGrange does not include the breed as technically dangerous, but prohibits pit bulls in dog parks. As violations of these laws can be severe, it is important to check your local laws before considering owning a pit bull in New York.