The Fourth Department, reversing County Court and remitting the matter to Town Court, determined County Court misapprehended the applicable law in affirming Town Court’s finding that respondent’s dog (Brady) is a dangerous dog and directing the dog be euthanized pursuant to the Agricultural and Markets Law:
… [T]he court repeatedly misstated the applicable law. Before the hearing commenced, the court stated that, if it determined Brady was a dangerous dog, the court had only “two options”— euthanasia or permanent confinement. After the hearing, before delivering its decision from the bench, the court stated that it “can” order euthanasia “upon a finding the dog is dangerous.” Those statements are subtly different, and both are in error. As discussed above, mere dangerousness does not empower the court to order euthanasia or permanent confinement, which may be imposed only upon the establishment of an aggravating circumstance. Even where an aggravating circumstance is established, euthanasia and permanent confinement are not the court’s only options (see Agriculture and Markets Law § 123 , ). As a result of its mistaken understanding of the applicable law, the court ordered euthanasia without determining whether petitioner had established the existence of an aggravating circumstance and without considering other available relief.
We therefore modify County Court’s order by vacating that part affirming the order of the Justice Court insofar as it directed that respondent’s dog be euthanized, and we remit the matter to the Justice Court for a determination whether petitioner established the existence of an aggravating circumstance and for the imposition of remedial measures as permitted by statute and “as deemed appropriate under the circumstances” (Agriculture and Markets Law § 123 ). Matter of Town of Ogden v LaVilla, 2020 NY Slip Op 04032, Fourth Dept 7-17-20