Pet licensing data for New York City

Conor Skelding filed this request with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of New York City, NY.
Tracking # 2013FR02916
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Conor Skelding

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (1977 N.Y. Laws ch. 933), I hereby request the following records:

All the pet licensing data, including breed, owner address, and animal names for New York City.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Conor Skelding

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Chari Anhouse

Dear Mr. Skelding:

Please be advised that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received your Freedom of Information Law request on October 23, 2013. I apologize for not acknowledging it sooner. A search will be conducted for the information available to you under the law and you should receive a response within 20 business days. The data is electronic, so the 25¢ per page fee will not apply.

Thank you,
Chari Anhouse
Associate General Counsel/Records Access Officer
Office of General Counsel
NYC DOHMH
42-09 28th Street, CN-31
Long Island City, NY 11101
(347) 396-6419

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From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2013FR02916.

Thank you for your help.

From: Chari Anhouse

Dear Mr. Skelding:

Please be advised that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is processing you FOIL request but it is taking longer than usual due to a change in personnel in the relevant programs. The new team informs me that they will have the information you requested ready by December 6, 2013. We apologize for the delay.

Thank you,
Chari Anhouse
Associate General Counsel/Records Access Officer
Office of General Counsel
NYC DOHMH
42-09 28th Street, CN-31
Long Island City, NY 11101
(347) 396-6419

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From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2013FR02916.

Thank you for your help.

From: Chari Anhouse

Dear Mr. Skelding:

Your FOIL request is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as for currently licensed dogs for the following data points:

1. Owner's ZIP code,

2. Dog name,

3. Gender,

4. Primary and secondary breeds,

5. Animal dominant, secondary, and third color,

6. Date of birth,

7. Spay or neuter,

8. Guard or trained,

9. Vaccinated,

10. Vaccinated date,

11. License ID number,

12. Application date,

13. License issue date, and

14. License expiration date.

It is denied with regard to the dog owners' contact and other identifying data because public release would be an unwarranted invasion of the owners' personal privacy under FOIL §§ 87(2)(b) and 89(2)(b). Indeed, releasing this information would have a chilling effect on the strong public policy of encouraging pet adoption. As noted by the New York State Second Department Appellate Division, "as a matter of public policy the names of adoptive pet owners should be kept confidential in order to foster the adoption process. . . . The protection of the identities of the adoptive pet owners involved in the animal adoption process promotes the placement of animals in homes and prevents the needless euthanizing of otherwise healthy animals." Ferger v. Warwick Animal Shelter, 59 A.D.3d 68 (Second Dept., 2008), citations omitted. The Department does not segregate information about adopted dogs from that of dogs acquired via other means, so it is not possible to redact information related only to adopted animals to protect this important public policy.

In addition, the Department has received inquiries of concern from advocates and victims of domestic violence living in safe and/or otherwise undisclosed locations who wish to license their pets but are concerned about privacy of their contact information. The contact information of dog owners is also therefore denied pursuant to FOIL § 87(2)(f), as release could endanger the life and safety of domestic violence victims as well as FOIL § 87(2)(a) because NYS Social Services Law § 459-h prohibits disclosure of the street addresses of residential programs for victims of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence are not so identified in the Department's records, so it would not be possible to redact this information from the dataset.

You may file a written appeal of this partial denial within 30 days of the date of this message. The appeal should be addressed to:
Thomas Merrill, Esquire
Appeals Officer & General Counsel
42-09 28th Street, CN-30
Long Island City, NY 11101
The notice of appeal should include the request control number, the date of this denial message, a description of the records that were the subject of the request, and the full name and address of the original requester.

Thank you,
Chari Anhouse
Associate General Counsel/Records Access Officer
Office of General Counsel
NYC DOHMH
42-09 28th Street, CN-31
Long Island City, NY 11101
(347) 396-6419

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