Tri-Lakes Humane Society

Saving Little Lives and Speaking for Those Who Cannot since 1942.

Dog Control Services

The Tri-Lakes Humane Society employs a Dog/Animal Control Officer, and is under contract for Dog Control Services and Shelter Services with towns/villages in the Saranac Lake, NY area. Our current DCO/Shelter Manager is Lena Bombard, who has been employed by the Humane Society for over 15 years. If you have a question about the local Town/Village dog control laws, or NYS laws, please call our office and ask to speak to the Dog/Animal Control Officer.

The Tri-Lakes Humane Society has dual Dog Control and Shelter Service contracts with the following townships:

  • Village of Saranac Lake
  • Town of Harrietstown
  • Town of Brighton
  • Town of St. Armand
  • Town of Franklin
  • Town of Santa Clara              

We provide Shelter Services ONLY for these additional towns:

  • Village of Lake Placid
  • Town of North Elba, 
  • Town of Saranac 
  • Town of Long Lake
  • Town of Tupper Lake
Every town, city or village must have a Dog Control Officer (DCO), and municipal shelter services. The DCO enforces both NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Laws under Article 7, and any local Dog Control laws and ordinances. It is the DCOs responsibility to respond to calls in regards to stray, lost, injured, abandoned, and/or dangerous dogs that pose a public threat. All seized animals must receive humane care, shelter and emergency medical attention as required.

If you have an Animal Cruelty Complaint - you need to contact your local Police department, NYS Police or County Sherriff's office. Our Humane Society can only assist the Police and Sheriff's as they investigate animal cruelty cases. We can not investigate or enforce the NYS Animal Cruelty laws.

  • If you have an animal emergency in the Saranac Lake area, contact the Village of Saranac Lake Police at (518) 891-4428, or call the NY State Police at (518) 897-2000. The Humane Society Officer can be reached 24/7 through these Police numbers.
  • If you have a complaint and wish to speak directly to our Officer, please call (518)891-0017 during our open hours, or leave a voice mail and a return call will be made asap. Or email at
  • If you find a dog, you MUST immediately contact your local DCO, local Police or animal shelter. Failure to report a found dog (or other companion/domestic animal) is illegal, and may lead to charges related to harboring stolen property. Dogs, and other animals, are considered personal property in NYS. Even if an animal is not wearing a collar or tags it may still belong to someone else, and could possibly be microchipped and registered to an owner. 
  • Be safe. Dogs can be unpredictable and may bite out of fear, aggression or stress. There is no way of knowing if a stray has been vaccinated against rabies or other diseases. If a dog is acting aggressive or fearful, call your local Dog Control Officer, animal shelter or Police right away. DO NOT attempt to chase, grab or approach this type of dog. Call for help and give an accurate description and location of the dog.
  • Friendly dogs can pose issues as well. They may be eager to jump into a vehicle, or enter a home, and lick your hands and face. However, that dog may not be vaccinated against viruses/diseases or treated for parasites like fleas, ticks or worms. If you have found an unknown dog or cat, you should NEVER allow it to come in contact with your other animals or children. The best strategy is to keep the dog or cat in a separate room or area of your home, or outdoors on a leash or in a garage. It is a high risk to take allowing a strange dog or cat to have access to a lot of people or your pets.
  • Owners missing their dog, or other pet, should contact the Police, DCO or local animal shelter immediately to file a lost pet report. Listing newspapers ads, and posting flyers around the area and on social media websites, will help spread the word fast that a dog or other pet is missing. Animal Shelters and Dog Pounds in NYS only have to hold unidentified animals for a 5 day owner redemption period. In some large cities like NYC the time to redeem your animal is only 3 days. Report your lost pet as soon as soon as they go missing, and you have a better chance at being reunited with them.


Dog Licensing

Love me, License Me.

The Tri-Lakes Humane Society is required by NYS and local Dog Control laws to make sure that all dog owners provide proof of ownership when redeeming a seized dog from our facility. The State and Local laws define proof of ownership as a Dog License record and tag issued by the Town Clerk where the dog is harbored. Any other form of ID tag or microchip will help our DCO or shelter staff be able to contact you, but a Dog License record must be provided to claim your dog.

Licensing your dog is simple, and is the #1 way to make sure your dog will be returned to you if it is found. Contact your local Town Clerk for information regarding Dog Licensing in your town. Failure to properly license your dog could mean that if your dog runs away, you may never be contacted if your dog is found and brought to an animal shelter.

New York State and local town laws require that all dogs owned or harbored in a town for longer than 30 days, and over the age of 4 months, must be licensed through the owner's Town Clerk's office. A copy of a current rabies vaccination certificate is required to license your dog (all dogs over the age of 3 months must be rabies vaccinated in accordance with NYS Health Department Laws). If you dog is spayed or neutered, you must bring a copy of a valid spay or neuter certificate from a licensed veterinarian to the Town Clerk to show proof of the surgery. If your dog is not spayed/neutered, you will be required to pay a higher licensing fee.

Dog Licensing is now the responsibility of your Township/Municipality, instead of a state-wide licensing system which had been the standard for decades. Towns will now be issuing their own dog licenses with the town information printed on the tags, and you will be required to pay a town approved license fee. A dog license tag will be issued to you, which needs to be attached to your dog's collar at all times. If your dog is a guide dog, therapy dog, working dog, hearing dog, police work dog, or service dog, you must bring certified proof of training to obtain a dog license. There is no required license fee for these dogs.

Dog Licenses serve multiple purposes. The most important is: It is legal proof that you own your dog as long as you attach the dog license tag to your dog's collar. If your dog is seized while running at large, Police and Animal/Dog Control Officers are legally obligated to notify you that your dog was seized and the location of the shelter or facility your dog has been impounded at. The impounding facility must hold your dog up to 9 days to give you time to claim your dog. Additionally, a dog that is found with a license tag must be reported to the Police or local ACO/DCO. It is illegal for any person to keep a licensed and identified dog without making a report to the authorities or local shelter. It is also illegal for a person to remove a dog license tag or collar in order to claim the dog as their own (similar to removing a license plate or registration from a vehicle).

A dog/puppy that is seized without a Dog License tag on its collar is considered unidentified dog. The impoundment, or holding period for a seized dog that is unidentified is only 5 business days in most NY Towns. After the 5 days, a dog is considered unclaimed, and can be placed up for adoption, transferred to another rescue or shelter, or euthanized if deemed un-adoptable. Having your dog licensed and properly identified gives you legal rights to your dog and more time to claim it, which is very important in Towns that may not have a "no-kill" facility in the area.

If a non-resident brings a dog into NYS for less that 30 days that is unlicensed, and it is seized and impounded at a shelter or facility, the dog must still be licensed in order to be claimed. A local Town dog license can be obtained to claim a dog, however this license will not be transferable to the hometown of the owner. 

New York State Law and Local Dog Control Laws also require that all dogs be properly identified with a valid Town Dog License Tag on a collar to be considered "identified". You receive this when you license your dog for the first time. If lost, a new tag MUST be purchased through the Town where you licensed your dog. You are also required to notify the Town Clerk if you have a change of address, phone number or the status of the dog.

Local Dog Control Ordinances

Each of the Local townships and villages have Dog Control Laws or Ordinances in effect that are used to regulate and control the activities of dogs. The Dog Control Officer that has been appointed to the town, or any peace officer or police officer, has the authority to enforce the town or village law, any related ordinances, laws or regulations. Additionally, appearance tickets can be issued by the DCO and other officers for violations of any of the laws.

The Tri-Lakes Humane Society's Dog Control Officers are responsible for enforcing Dog Control Laws for 5 towns and the Village of Saranac Lake. Here is a summarized list of the ordinances:

- Dogs allowed to run at large (off owner's property and not under the owner/caretakers control)

- Dogs that howl, bark, cry or whine in a disturbing or annoying manner.

- Dogs that cause damage or destruction to public or privately owned property other than the owner's property (this includes digging, defacting and urinating).

- Dogs that bite, chase, jump upon, harass or initimidate any person.

- Dogs that chase, run alongside, leap upon, or harass any bicyclist or motor vehicle.

- Dogs that are unlicensed.

- Dogs that are unidentified (not wearing an issued Dog License tag).

- Dangerous dogs that attack, or threaten to attack, any person, companion or farm animal. 

- Dogs that kill or cripple Deer.

Any person that is convicted on any of these violations will be required to pay a court fine. Fines for a first offense in the Towns and Village that we cover ranges from $25-$50. Second offense, $50-$100. Third offense and any subsequent violation $75 - 250, and possible imprisonment.

Please note that each Town/Village has their own approved Dog Control Laws in effect, and not all laws are the same. For more information regarding your local laws, contact your Town Clerk or Dog Control Officer.

Seizure of Dogs

The Dog Control Officer has the authority to seize:

- Any dog that is not identified (no dog license tag attached to collar) and which is running at large (not on the owner's premises).

- Any dog which is not licensed, whether on or off the owner's premises.

- Any licensed dog which is not under the control of its owner or custodian, or not on the premises of the owner or custodian, if there is probable cause to believe the dog is a dangerous dog.

- Any dog which poses an immediate threat to public safety.

*Every dog that is seized, shall be properly sheltered, fed and watered at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society during the redemption period in accordance with Section 118 of Article 7 of the NYSDAM Law. After the redemption period has expired, all unredeemed dogs will be evaluated for adoption, and in certain cases euthanized if a dog is deemed unadoptable. Owners shall forfeit ownership or title to any dog that is unredeemed at the end of the expiration of the redemption period.

**Upon seizure of an identified dog that was running at large, or a dangerous dog, or one that poses an immediate threat, the owner shall be notified personally or via certified mail. If notification was personally given, the dog will be held for 7 days after the day of notice, and the owner can claim the dog during this time. If notification made by certified mail, the dog will be held for a period of 9 days from the date of mailing, and the owner can claim the dog during this period.

**Unidentifed dogs, whether or not licensed, will be held for a period of 5 days from the day the dog was seized. An owner can redeem their dog with proof that the dog has a current dog license, rabies vaccination, and pay all impoundment or kenneling fees.

**Dangerous dogs, or ones that have posed an immediate threat to public safety, will be held pending a dangerous dog complaint that will be filed with the respective Town or Village Justice. Once the Justice has reviewed any complaint(s) made against the dog, the Justice will set a date and time for a Dangerous Dog Hearing, and notification will be presented to the owner of the dog. The Justice will also hold the right to determine if the dog is to remain held by the Dog Control Officer pending the hearing.

The Impoundment fees at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society for stray or dangerous dogs are set by the Town/Village where the dog was seized. These impoundment fees are collected by us as required by the Town Dog Control laws. Fees vary by Town, and are used by the Town to pay for Dog Control services.

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