Last week the Appellate Division Second Judicial Department reversed Judge Donovan’s dismissal of the case dog owners brought gainst New Rochelle’s Ward Acres ordinance (Local City Ordinance 21-2007) and granted their request for production of certain documents by the city. The decision was based on oral arguments which took place on September 15th at the end of which the presiding judge urged the city settle the matter.
You can read the full press release on our “We Love Ward Acres” web site.
For those new to this issue, the case was brought by two New Rochelle residents, a non-resident and the Dog Federation of New York who joined the case as amicus curiae or “a friend of the court”. They argued that the the city ordinance was unprecedented because it imposes a special license and per dog fee on dog owners to simply walk a dog in a public park. The ordinance illegally discriminates against dog owners and non-residents, imposes an illegal dog tax and an impermissible public park admission fee, and usurps the uniformity of state dog licensing.
Plaintiffs and DFNY further challenged New Rochelle’s use of police who randomly stop law-abiding dog owners walking in the park to demand production of their special Ward Acres photo IDs. Many law-abiding dog owners have felt intimidated, even terrified, at the approach of police.
You can learn more about Ward Acres, the Westchester dog-owning community and the real world impact of this unprecedented ordinance on our web site, We Love Ward Acres. On the site you can download a copy of the appeals court decision.
With this victory, we call on Mayor Noam Bramson to convene a full-hearing to reconsider the “New Rochelle Dog Tax”.