Diaz's Dog Bill Rolls Over and Plays Dead

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By Jude Seymour

Sen. Ruben Diaz's quest to require New York's dogs to pass obedience school was muzzled Wednesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Diaz, who owns a well-behaved Pekinese named Chewie, asked the Agriculture Committee to consider his bill in today's session.

The legislation would have required dog owners and their pets to successfully pass an accredited course within one year of the dog's birth - or 180 days of the canine being acquired.

Spokesmen for both Sen. Patty Ritchie, the Agriculture chairwoman, and Cathy Young, a member of the committee, confirmed that several New Yorkers had called their offices and howled at the proposed regulations.

Lawmakers responded to the complaints by sitting on the bill, 9-1.

"New York is not going to the dogs," Ritchie quipped through her spokesman, Jim Reagen. (He says the senator owns a yellow lab.)

Sen. Shirley Huntley was the only legislator willing to see the bill get a second shake, voting to advance the bill without recommendation.

A second Diaz bill, which would have required dog owners to implant microchips into their pets for identification purposes, was also dropped like a wet tennis ball.

Diaz did not speak at the Agriculture meeting.

No word on if the Bronx senator will lay down in light of the bills' fates today, or beg for a second look.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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