Nassau lawmaker wants residents to know about dangerous dogs

A lawmaker on Long Island wants to establish a dog database to list all dogs legally deemed dangerous by a judge in Nassau County.

Legislator John Ferretti introduced the legislation, dubbed Benny's Law, after a neighbor's dog viciously attacked his 1-year-old Tibetan terrier named Benny two years ago. 

"This will prevent further attacks," he said. "If a dog in this instance never bit a human being, despite the fact that the dog is vicious, has a history of attacking other dogs, the judge's hands were tied and he had to return the dog to the community."

The dog that attacked Benny is under probation for a few more months and there's a sign on the owner's home. But not everyone is aware of what happened.

"I continue to watch community members walk right past the house with their animals or with their babies, completely unaware that there's a dangerous animal 20 feet from them," Ferretti said.

The legislation would change that.

"Now when the judge determines [a dog is] dangerous they put restrictions on it," Nassau County SPCA's Gary Rogers said. "It makes the pet owner become responsible to protect the pet so it doesn't do it again." 

Similar to a sex offender registry, the pet owner would have to mail a letter to all property owners within 1,000 feet of the home notifying them that the owner's dog has been deemed dangerous.

The bill is scheduled to be voted on before the full legislature next week and hopefully signed into law sooner than later.

"The registry will include the address of the property the dog is housed, the date of incident, the duration of dangerous dog designation, the breed, weight, age and color of the judicially determined dangerous dog," Ferretti said.

Some people are skeptical however Ferretti's son Johnny hopes the legislation helps protect people and their pets in the community.

"It won't prevent it but it'll help," he said.

Fines would start at $500 if the pet owner fails to notify neighbors.