Other Pertinent State Laws


Learning objectives for section three:

  1. Name the agency that regulates the licensing of commercial pesticide applicators in New York State.
  2. List four things you are required to do by the New York State Sanitary Code.
  3. Describe three scenarios of what might happen to an unvaccinated dog that’s bitten a person, possibly exposing that person to rabies.
  4. List three rules that apply to the use of firearms.
  5. FIFRA and state pesticide regulations place four crucial restrictions on NWCO activity—name them.

State pesticide laws and regulations

Regulatory agency: DEC

Applicable to: pesticide use (the handling, use, storage, transportation, sale, and disposal of pesticides)

License required: pesticide applicator license for the use of restricted-use pesticides, or for the commercial application of pesticides. The commercial pesticide applicator license is broken down into 28 categories and subcategories, each requiring its own certification.

Read the laws and regulations:

online suggested—http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations8527.html

(The DEC site includes links to the many laws and regulations related to pesticides, such as the pesticide control regulations [6 NYCRR parts 320–329], the relevant parts of the ECL [Article 33, parts of Articles 15 and 71], the pesticide reporting law, neighbor notification law, and mosquito control laws).

Before we discussed the aspects of FIFRA, the federal pesticide law, that are managed by the US-EPA. Now we’ll discuss the DEC’s role.

New York State law adds a few new wrinkles to the use of pesticides. Remember that according to FIFRA, anyone in the nation who wants to apply a restricted-use pesticide must be a certified applicator? Well, New York State regulations require that anyone who wants to apply ANY pesticide on someone else’s property must have commercial pesticide certification. That might mean you.

If you want to use pesticides in your NWCO business, you will need a state commercial pesticide applicator license. Some NWCOs also seek this license, especially if they expect to handle many rodent jobs, or want the option of applying repellents, or fumigating burrows.

The DEC’s Bureau of Pesticide Management is in charge of this license. You’ll have to go through a separate training and take a different test. (Reinforce your bookcase, because there’s another big manual involved). There are continuing education requirements, too. Contact the DEC or the Pesticide Management Education Program at Cornell University for more information.

There are a few crucial points to keep in mind concerning FIFRA and the state pesticide regulations:

  • In New York State, the minute you step onto someone else’s property, the laws for the commercial application of pesticides come into play.
  • UNLESS you also have a commercial pesticide certification (and a pesticide business registration) you cannot apply any pesticides on someone else’s property. No deer or snake repellents. No mothballs, No bird repellents. No poisonous mouse bait. No product that has an EPA number on its label. Got it?
  • You can advise landowners about using repellents or other general use pesticides as part of their control strategy, but you cannot provide the service unless you also have a commercial pesticide certification. (They can use these products themselves.)
  • ALWAYS read and follow the pesticide label instructions. The label is the law. Any use not list on the label is prohibited.

But what if you’re hired to exclude bats from an attic, and there’s a huge wasp’s nest under the eave so close to the bat’s entry hole that you’re afraid you’ll be stung while you’re up on the ladder installing the checkvalve, and might fall? If nesting stinging insects present an immediate danger while you’re trying to do your job, you may apply a general use pesticide such as a wasp or hornet spray for your personal protection. This is considered an “emergency non-routine application,” not a commercial pesticide application.

You can’t spray to protect your customers, even if they ask you to take care of it while you’re up there. Best advice is: don’t go out of your way looking for stinging insects for a customer; and if you do spray to protect yourself, don’t charge for it.

New York State Sanitary Code:

Regulatory agency: NYS Dept. of Health

Applicable to: all New Yorkers

License required: N/A

Read the law: online–http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/sancode.htm

print—Public Health Law Article 21 Title 4, sections 2140–2146 and Chapter 1, Title 10 Part 2, section 2.14

This law deals with the control of rabies, the reporting of potentially rabid animals and of human and animal exposures to a potentially rabid animal. It also specifies what happens to a potentially rabid animal (wild animals and domestic animals may be treated differently), and what happens to a domestic animal that was exposed to a known rabid animal. The law also calls for rabies vaccinations of cats under certain conditions.

The full text of the sanitary code is included at the end of this chapter. Here are the key points:

  • If you suspect an animal is rabid, you must report it to the local health authority immediately. [“Rabies suspect” is defined in section 5 (e).]
  • Bats and any animal other than a dog, cat, ferret, or domestic livestock suspected of being rabid shall be destroyed immediately and submitted for rabies testing, with the approval of the local health authority.
  • Health care providers must report all cases of human exposure to rabies to the local health authority immediately. (“Exposure” is defined in (a) 2.)
  • If a person has been potentially exposed to rabies by a dog, cat, ferret, or domestic livestock, the local health authority may have the animal confined for 10 days at the owner’s expense. With the owner’s approval, the health authority may have the animal destroyed immediately and submitted for rabies testing.
  • If the owner cannot be determined, the costs fall to the person who asked for the confinement. In this case, if confinement isn’t possible or desirable, the animal may be destroyed immediately and submitted for testing.
  • Should an animal develop signs of rabies during its isolation, it shall be destroyed and submitted for rabies testing.
  • Any mammal that’s been in direct contact with a known rabid animal shall either be destroyed or quarantined for six months. The costs are paid by the owner. If the animal was vaccinated before the exposure, it may be isolated under the owner’s control if it receives a booster shot within five days of exposure. Any animal under such restrictions shall not be moved from one health district to another during the quarantine period except with the permission of the health authorities in both districts.
  • Whenever rabies is confirmed in a county, all cats in that county who are over three months old must be vaccinated (this doesn’t apply to tourists staying less than 15 days, to animals in shelters, hospitals, research facilities, or breeding facilities).

Agriculture and Markets Law Article 26, Cruelty to Animals Law

Regulatory agencies: Animal Industry Division of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Applicable to: cats and dogs and other domestic and farm animals

Read the law: online-  http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/AGM/26

print—  http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/ai/AILaws/Article-26.pdf

For a NWCO, the key sections are:

Part 374: Humane destruction or other disposition of animals lost, strayed, homeless, abandoned or improperly confined or kept

Part 360: Poisoning or attempting to poison animals

Part 353-a: Aggravated cruelty to animals

Part 366: Dog stealing

Part 356: Failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal

Part 377: Disposal of dead animals (refers to large domestic animals)

Agriculture and Markets regulations, Article 7, Licensing, Identification and Control of Dogs and Animal Population Control Program

Regulatory agencies: Animal Industry Division of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Applicable to: dogs and cats

Read the law: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/ai/AILaws/article7.pdf

(primarily, this is Article 7, sections 106–126; but there are many excerpts from other laws, so it’s easiest to download the circular)

For a NWCO, the key sections are:

Section 117: Seizure of dogs; redemption period; impoundment fees; adoption

Section 121: Dangerous dogs

Section 117-a: Animal population control program

Section 114: Dog control officers

Part 77, section 77.2: Standards for the care of seized dogs

Part 77, section 77.3: Euthanasia and disposal

Section 2140 (Public Health law, title IV, article 21): Rabies; prevention of the spread

Section 2142: Rabies; dogs at large; seizure and disposal; reports

Section 2145: Rabies; compulsory vaccination; violation; penalty

Firearm ordinances

“Firearm” is defined in 6 NYCRR part 180.3A as “any gun or other instrument which by force of gunpowder or other explosive, or which by the force of a spring, air or other gas, expels a missile or projectile capable of killing, wounding or otherwise inflicting physical damage upon fish, wildlife or other animals.” This includes shotguns, rifles, pistols, muzzleloaders, air guns, and dart rifles. Under state law, bows (long bows and crossbows) are not considered firearms.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are also local firearm regulations, and they may differ from state law. Some local laws are more restrictive. Some define other devices, such as bows, as “firearms.” You must obey both state and local regulations. To learn more, check the International Hunter Education Association website at www.ihea.com or consider attending the DEC’s hunter education course or a firearms safety course sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Here are a few points on gun safety:

  • shotguns and rifles must be unloaded when carried in a motor vehicle
  • firearms can’t be discharged across a public highway or maintained right-of-way
  • rifles aren’t allowed in the field on Long Island, or in Westchester County
  • legal discharge distance for firearms is 500 feet, for bows it is 150 feet, and crossbows it is 250 feet (unless you have permission from the owner of the building).

The last point explains how far you must be from a building in order to shoot legally. You must be more than that set back distance from

  • a school, playground, or occupied factory or church
  • a home, or occupied or used farm building or structure (unless you own it, lease it, are an immediate member of the family, an employee, or have the owner’s consent).

How far is 500 feet? Most people are poor judges of distance. You may want to take a tape measure outdoors and actually pace off the distance a few times. Unfortunately, you have to stretch your vision even more because you have to consider 500 feet in all directions. That’s 18 acres, or about as big as 16 football fields.

Building codes

Building codes are relevant if you offer repair or exclusion services, such as adding a cap to a chimney to keep raccoons out. These regulations vary across the state, and are updated regularly.

Higher, deeper, further… (optional activities to explore perspectives about this topic)

  • Check local building codes, firearms, and pest control ordinances. Would any influence your ability to control pigeons, repair a building and add exclusion devices, use firearms or traps?
  • Attend a firearms safety course.


Before you answer the review questions, you may wish to think about the learning objectives for this section:

  1. Name the agency that regulates the licensing of commercial pesticide applicators in New York State.
  2. List four things you are required to do by the New York State Sanitary Code.
  3. Describe three scenarios of what might happen to an unvaccinated dog that’s bitten a person, possibly exposing that person to rabies.
  4. List three rules that apply to the use of firearms.
  5. FIFRA and state pesticide regulations place four crucial restrictions on NWCO activity—name them.

Review questions

  1. You’re talking to a man on the phone, and he’s frantic. A stray dog has bitten his child. He wants you to capture it and have it tested for rabies. When you get there, the child is screaming and doesn’t want to let you near the dog if you’re going to kill it. What do you do?
  2. call the county health department
  3. restrain and isolate the animal, then try to find out who owns the dog
  4. explain that the dog doesn’t have to be killed. It could be held in quarantine for ten days to determine if it’s rabid, but if the owner can’t be found, they’d have to pay for it.
  5. all of the above
  6. Who certifies commercial pesticide applicators in New York State?
  7. US EPA
  8. Pesticide Applicator Board, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets
  9. Bureau of Pesticide Management, NYS DEC
  10. None of the above
  11. The New York State Sanitary Code
  12. requires you to report potentially rabid animals and cases when a person or animal may have been exposed to rabies.
  13. regulates the operation of commercial kitchens in restaurants, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals
  14. applies only when a person has been exposed to rabies
  15. focuses on wildlife, not domestic animals



2—a AND c