Dogs have been an enemy of mankind for thousands of years, and at one time had three heads on a single body before genetic engineering made them less terrifying.

As a longtime resident, citizen, and neighbor, I can no longer stay silent about an issue that is a very real threat to our economy, health, and public safety. All three are being jeopardized by a trend of young urbanites acquiring and housinganimals that are known to be unclean, loud, and potentially dangerous.

I’m talking, of course, about dogs.

Dogs are disruptive and destructive creatures whose activities negatively effect property values. Dogs are known to dig holes in back yards. Their owners allow them o urinate and defecate in their back yards with no regard for their neighbors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the owners make it even worse by taking the dogs off their property and bringing them to urinate and defecate on nearby sidewalks. If you’re a neighbor of a person that has a dog or dogs, there is literally no escape from the pollution.

In addition to polluting our neighborhoods, dogs are known to emit foul odors, particularly if they get wet. They’re also known to roll around in and occasionally eat the feces of other animals. As such, dogs are prone to carrying a litany of bacteria and diseases, including but not limited to ringworm, lime disease, and rabies. These diseases can be passed on to humans and, in some cases, kill them.

They also pose a more immediate and visible threat in the form of physical attacks. This situation is exacerbated by dog fighting rings, which create their own sets of problems and further contribute to a criminal element in our society.

It’s time for us to outlaw dogs in urban areas. They are dirty, drive down property values, carry diseases, and allowing them encourages people to make them fight each other for money and entertainment.

If you disagree and think this sounds ridiculous, please send the link to this blog post – – to the members of the Albany Common Council and especially those that oppose the ordinance to allow residents in urban areas to have chickens in their back yards. After all, they’re using the same arguments against the measure, and they all sound every bit as ridiculous. In some cases even more so, particularly when it comes to things like public health and game fighting.

Stop playing to the most ill-informed members of your constituency, and Hell, stop being ignorant yourselves. Vote based on science, facts, and reality, rather than unfounded fears.

This is also, in a very real way, bigger than chickens. The decay in discourse and civic awareness and unity is a growing problem in this country, and it’s a direct result of politicians getting lazy and pandering to the loudest and most ill-informed of their constituents rather than speaking and voting based on facts, common sense, and the greater good. This is hardly a new phenomena, but it’s one that has been fostered for far too long. A vote for this measure isn’t just the right thing to do in this situation, but it’s the right direction for the city – and any city – to take in improving its quality of life.

After the cut, a list of the members of the Albany Common Council and their e-mail addresses. Get to sending.

PRESIDENT: Carolyn McLaughlin

WARD 1: Dominick Calsolaro

WARD 2: Lester Freeman

Ward 3: Ronald E. Bailey

Ward 4: Barbara Smith

Ward 5: Jacqueline Jenkins-Cox

Ward 6: Richard Conti

Ward 7: Catherine Fahey

Ward 8: John Rosenzweig

Ward 9: James Sano

Ward 10: Leah Golby

Ward 11: Anton Konev

Ward 12: Michael O’Brien

Ward 12: Daniel Herring

Ward 14: Joseph Igoe

Ward 15: Frank Commisso, Jr.

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40 Responses to It’s time for the city of Albany to ban dogs

  1. Rob Madeo says:

    There are 16 people on the Common Council? No wonder they can’t get anything done.

  2. Roz says:

    S**t! Logic!

  3. irisira says:


    Of course, Kevin, there are some people who WOULD like to ban dogs … let’s not get those crazies going, hmm? ;)

  4. Em says:

    Albany should totally ban teenagers too. Little punks.

  5. COME ON says:

    It’s not the animals’ fault… it’s the inconsiderate owners that do not take care to respect other peoples right to a clean a quiet neighborhood by cleaning up and keeping after their pets.
    I will say, however, there are certain aggressive breeds of dogs that should be outlawed. If not the dogs then the owners should be outlawed.

  6. jt says:

    At least it will be easier to get eggs for Kegs and Eggs.

  7. Tim says:

    For me, this issue has been the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to confidence in the Albany Common Council. They’ve taken a simple proposal and morphed it into a horrible piece of legislation requiring yearly fees, permits, caps, consent forms and random code inspections.

  8. GenWar says:

    I don’t understand. you were doing fine…with what was probably your most insightful and brilliant blog post ever and then, round about the 7th paragraph, you completely flip flop and go back to being one of those namby pamby lovers of those disgusting animals. At the end, I am left disappointed, as I realize your brilliance was all tongue in cheek. Sad. I was really enjoying this one…

  9. Brad says:

    More proof that we live in a world where majority rules but minority groups like “chicken haters club of NY” speak the loudest.

  10. Sara says:

    Well, hell, my poor neighbor will never be able to sell their home. We have two dogs, and the neighbors on the other side of them have three. Property value must be in the tank. We’re such scum for getting rescue dogs!

    Now I must go contemplate a future chicken coop in the backyard.

  11. Eric says:

    Whether it is a dog, cat or chicken it is ultimately the owner’s behavior that irritates someone. We’ve all seen dog owners that allow their dogs to dig up the yard and bark at all hours or cat owners that allow their cat to use the neighbors flower bed as a litter box so why do we think that all of the chicken owners will be orderly and house their chickens in coops designed by Smith & Hawken? I already have to deal with junk cars and other debris in some yards in my neighborhood so I’m happy that the Common Council is making the ownership of chickens a bit onerous. Prove you’re a responsible owner and you can have chickens (or dogs or cats).

  12. jakester says:

    When life hands you “lime” disease, make a freakin pie…

    Lyme disease, on the other hand, is only tranmitted by a tick. So keep your pet ticks in your yard chained to a tree, or else !

  13. daleyplanit says:

    Kevin, I applaud you for penning this… or typing it. I would also like to ban Justin Bieber music. my neighbors daughter listens to it in the back yard and I fear it may lower the resale value of my home, unless I can legally sell it to a tween.

  14. Gray Cat says:

    You had me at “ban dogs”…..

  15. Barbie Franklin says:

    Amen! Down With Dogs!

    Outdoor cats, as well.

    I’m sick of their s**t.

  16. A Dog says:


  17. Cate says:

    This was a remarkable post on so many levels. But no part of it was more remarkable or accurate than this:

    “The decay in discourse and civic awareness and unity is a growing problem in this country, and it’s a direct result of politicians getting lazy and pandering to the loudest and most ill-informed of their constituents rather than speaking and voting based on facts, common sense, and the greater good.”

    I think we should make every politician in this country write that 100 times on the blackboard.

  18. golem says:


    Yes, of course, some chicken owners may create a nuisance with their pets.

    But if we turn around and ban everything that could, possibly, be misused then we’ll end up with a dull, conformist, micro-controlling society, and squelch mechanisms by which people can find unique common grounding.

    I just mentioned an excellent parallel to the “chicken question” on Green’s blog: the issue of techno/electronica warehouse and club dancing.

    When I was a teenager, there was a popular movement called “PLUR” (peace, love, unity and respect.) However, some associated with the movement used drugs, particularly pot and ecstasy.

    Using the justification that some people may use drugs at raves, the authorities began shutting down the warehouse dances.

    In spite of the fact that eventually the warehouse organizers were using local off-duty police as security and employing searches and drug-sniffing dogs, the profound fear that some of the teenagers and 20-somethings might bring in drugs lead to a complete ban on warehouse dances.

    Now, for myself, I was never a warehouse dancer; I went to alcohol-free clubs instead. Which, when put that way, sound innocuous.

    However, one person died with MDMA in their system after the warehouses were shut down. Although no evidence was provided that the person was taking MDMA at the alcohol-free dance clubs, they used it as justification to shut down the alcohol-free clubs as well, because a teenager “could” take drugs there.

    Now kids are fat and sit on computers all day because they don’t really want adults to tell them to do what they want them to do, they want to express themselves in their own way. And sitting fat at a computer is pretty much the only way to do that now.

    Some people express themselves through independent hobbies – like chicken raising, which is also associated with naturalism, environmentalism and self-sufficiency.

    Sarcastic: Yes, go ahead, squish that, too. That sounds… awesome. We wouldn’t want anybody to mis-use it, after all.

  19. facts says:

    “Vote based on science, facts, and reality?”

    Why do you hate America?

  20. LMAO! This is your best. You genuinely had me believing you for the first couple lines, at which point I couldn’t wait to bring it up on the show. Great job, and excellent way of causing people to see the silliness.

  21. K. Judge says:

    Facts- Kevin Marshall loves America, he just doesn’t want dogs destroying it anymore, Can we still eat hot dogs or will they be banned too?

  22. golem says:

    First, to clear up any confusion: I was responding to Eric’s #11, not Kevin’s post.

    But Kevin is being remarkably hypocritical here.

    My point is that we have a society of “Well, I don’t like it, so we should ban it…”

    Here on the issue of horse-drawn carriages:

    “I’m not sure where I stand on the subject. I do know, however, that the things are annoying and a nuisance, and there’s more than enough precedence for a municipality to restrict and/or otherwise limit the activities of the horse-drawn buggy through Quality of Life legislation.”

    So, because he likes chickens (or maybe just because his friends like chickens, or whatever), he’s pro-chicken. But because he doesn’t like horse-drawn carriages, he’s perfectly fine with banning that.

    That’s my point. Perhaps we’re microcontrolling our society into a dull, listless, unintelligent society dominated by the millions of things which you’re not allowed to do, because they annoy someone.


    • golem – There’s just a bit of difference between a contraption being pulled by a large animal in a public street and blocking up traffic for miles and someone keeping small chickens in their back yard. Actually, I was being sarcastic, because they’re not the same thing at all and two entirely different issues. You’re really grasping here.

      Actually put forth an argument based on the actual issue at hand. Don’t try to find one and draw a comparison where one doesn’t exist. That’s what folks in opposition and on the Council are doing, and they hardly need encouragement.

  23. golem says:

    No, Kevin, they are directly parallel – you just don’t like one and do like the other.

    Chickens aren’t always nicely quiet little things. For example, leghorns, even the hens, can be very noisy:

    Here’s a popular forum on chickenraising discussing the issue of noisy hens:

    So… yes! They aren’t perfect. They’re often noisy (even egg-laying hens) and their dried feces causes asthema: [handbook on chicken and other small farm animals for 4-H projects; Colorado State University extension.]


    I suppose we should ban chickens then… just like warehouse dances… and horsedrawn carriages… and…

    • golem – You should really read through stuff you’re linking to before citing it as evidence. The first one is simply a search result on Google, which has a lot of pages with little to no substance to them (such as one page asking “do they make noise?” with literally no response). The second link has people asking about it, with some responses saying they can be noisy during the day (so can dogs), but then the person(s) noting that the neighbors hadn’t complained. The third one has a section on page 6 that alludes to pathogens in manure, but doesn’t go into great detail. But you’d need to be in direct contact – i.e. not a next door neighbor – to catch it. Plus, Asthema isn’t even mentioned in the entire booklet.

      Directly parallel? Perhaps in the sense that both are things that a municipality is thinking of banning and involve animals. One is chickens, which in this case the fears expressed by the council are unfounded. The other are horse drawn carriages, the central issue of which is the fact that they can clog up traffic. People owning chickens with a permit versus a horsedrawn carriage in public clogging up traffic (an effect on the public at large) and potentially bringing harm to the horse itself.

      But that’s neither here nor there. If I won’t even acknowledge that me being on one side of the issue of backyard chickens on a private residence is different from me raising the possibility of a horsedrawn carriage ban without even citing a side on the issue, then I don’t know what on Earth to tell you, other than I suspect this is not about chickens at all.

  24. golem says:

    Yes, I know the first is a Google search. I searched it!

    I was suggesting you take a moment and look throught the results.

    Look, Kevin, my point is not “Chickens are terrible creatures which should be banned.”

    My point is “You can find ample justification for the banning of just about anything if you look hard enough.”

    And I know that you did NOT say “Horsedrawn carriages should be banned.”

    But you did say:

    “I’m not sure where I stand on the subject. I do know, however, that the things are annoying and a nuisance, and there’s more than enough precedence for a municipality to restrict and/or otherwise limit the activities of the horse-drawn buggy through Quality of Life legislation.”

    In other words (as I interpret it): “I have no problem with them being banned. Why should I support the rights of others to live as they so choose?”

    This – you are correct – is not about chickens per se. It’s about the role of the vocal, uneducated citizen in the high-speed democratic republic we live in.

    • golem – I know what your point is, but you’re dead wrong on it and I’m not sure why you’re continuing down this path.

      There are very real and measurable arguments for not having horsedrawn carriages: the carriages are out in public, in streets, creates unsanitary conditions for passerbys (re: the smell), the treatment/disposal of the horses could be seen in a very real way as abuse, and perhaps most importantly it can create a disturbance in traffic both vehicular and pedestrian.

      Urban chickens? There are no measurable reasons other than “I don’t think I would like it very much, kind sir!” All potential reasons given are bunk, which is why I made it a point to discredit the points you brought up in opposition. They’re phantom concerns; generated in order to block out something which a person only opposes because they don’t like being told that, hey, turns out your assumptions were wrong.

      In short: we can go back and forth on this, but the bottom line is that you’re obsessing over a blatantly false equivalence.

  25. Brenda Helm says:

    Backyard chickens and micro-farming are the solution to many problems, and the cause of nearly none. A well-maintained coop and healthy chickens present no nuisance or danger to anyone, and the benefits to health and the environment are highly positive. I recommend Pat Foreman’s book “City Chicks” and her “7 Myths About Urban Chickens” to clear up questions and eliminate misconceptions for people that have never owned a chicken or been close to one of these loyal, intelligent, adorable creatures.

    We’re fighting for our rights to chickens in Niskayuna, too! Please join us on FaceBook and sign our petition.

  26. golem says:


    I’m honestly worried that no matter what words you use, you’re simply making a bid for attention.

    I worry because when two people began discussing the concept of “simulacra,” you immediately interjected with mocking, almost cruel comments, and the only model I have for that behavior is “I don’t want to be ignored.”

    (And yes, you said we were welcome. But first…)

    But, if you’d like to open this discussion seriously,

    A question levied at you (and anyone interested):

    What do you believe the law should be predicated on?

    • I’m desperate for your attention?

      Oh, Golem aka Muse aka J. Nash aka Joan aka Johnny Nash aka Uebermensch aka Jack. You have it all backwards.

      Also, you need to develop thicker skin if you consider me poking fun at my friend (Eric, not you), which is what we do here, to be “almost cruel.” Though I don’t really buy that you were hurt by that at all.

  27. golem says:

    I just gave a question. No ad hominem intended, particularly not “me.”

    I just wanted to know what you believed the law should be predicated on.

    I’m sorry. Just… why?

    Don’t you care & believe that things – law, beliefs, ideals – should be predicated on more than how many facebook friends you have?

  28. Mickey says:

    Good Lord, golem, get a life! Take a walk, enjoy the sunshine (it’s scarce enough during the spring here) and step away from your computer. You are on a downward spiral.

    Countless “laws” are “predicated” on nonsense, or nothing at all except human prejudice. I’d like to get rid of all of them and move towards a more libertarian society in which personal freedom is highly valued for a change.

    Just go away and stop obsessing on Kevin, please.

  29. jakester says:

    Cate, exactly…

  30. Cihan says:

    Kevin, I went to the experts and asked Google, and I’m willing to consider that you are in the wrong as the two issues are the exact same thing.

    I hope you’re happy with your defeat.

  31. Eddie says:

    The debate over chickens is so absurd. How many people are actually going to raise chickens? Yet the council is cackling over the burden of regulating chickens? I’d love the see the city burden itself with regulating… snow and ice removal, pot holes, dog shit, panhandlers. Ain’t happening anytime soon.

    • Eddie - Exactly. It’s like halting the construction of new homes and buildings because you’re concerned over the strain it puts on resources for code enforcement. Absurd.

  32. Weef says:

    Ugh. Dogs are pets. Chickens are farm animals. This whole idea that having chickens (born in factory farms) is somehow sustainable living is just silly. Want sustainable living? Live on a freekin farm.

    Don’t get me wrong. I really don’t care if anyone has chickens, so long as they’re not roosters (yes they are more annoying than dogs– all of them are annoying all the time where most dogs are not all the time). So if backyard hens are allowed, I don’t care. Just cut the crap.

  33. stacey says:

    Just a few comments – I will preface with I have horses, dogs, cats, chickens, and ducks. I don’t live on a “farm” but I do have some land – 6 acres is a rural type area.

    I don’t think the urban chickens and horse drawn carriages are the same issue. The chicken issue deals with animals in a back yard, contained on one’s own property, just like a dog (as Kevin pointed out). Dogs digging holes, barking, and pooping can affect neighbor’s property values. Yes chickens poop and yes chicken poop confined to a small area will smell (just like dog poop). And amazingly enough, you can clean up chicken poop just like dog poop (I know, crazy talk). And both chickens and dogs make noises (gasp!). My past landlord’s dog barked at EVERYTHING all day long – me closing a door on the second floor, my cats walking, etc. It was part of the reason I moved out. My rooster will make noise maybe once or twice a day and it’s not nearly as obnoxious as the dog. And as far as I’ve noticed, the rooster only makes noise during the day when out of the coop – there are no 5am wake up calls if we lock them in the coop at night. AND chickens eat bugs and ticks!

    The horse drawn carriage issue for me deals mostly with the care and treatment of the horses. Traffic is an issue, but whatever – anyone been on the northway at 5pm? The horses are forced to stand around all day on hard pavement, except for the couple mile loop they make when someone decides to take a ride. Standing around for that length of time on hard ground creates soreness and stiffness (just like when you have to sit in your office chair all day). Working on pavement is very stressful for horse’s hooves and bones. Inadequate shoeing and joint care can significantly decrease the horse’s health and life span. And horses are forced to pee and poop on the street. Horses do not like to pee on hard surfaces where the pee can splash up on their legs. My horses get to run around outside all day on nice soft ground. On the rare occasion they have to stay inside (ice, excessive rain, injury, etc), they are quite ornery from standing around all day, and tend be to stiff/sore.

    Chickens can be useful food producers as well as pets. Just like my dog’s purpose is to protect my house, the chicken’s purpose is to make eggs. I have 46 chickens, so I don’t really see them as pets, but I do know 4-H kids that name and care for their chickens just like some people care for and love dogs and cats. Raising and caring for any type of animal is a great responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

    So long story short – if you don’t like chickens, don’t get them! But don’t get in the way of someone else getting chickens because they might poop or make noise. If you want chickens, be sure you know how to properly care for them – and enjoy the great taste of fresh eggs! (I sell some of eggs and everyone says how much better they taste than store-bought eggs)

  34. Cihan says:

    “Ugh. Dogs are pets. Chickens are farm animals.”

    This is a false dichotomy, and your obvious disdain for those that disagree with you here is the cherry on top of the whole thing. Chickens were originally domesticated from birds that lived in forests. Neither a farm nor suburbia are exactly a forest, so I highly disagree with the fact that chickens are exclusively farm animals.

    I had a chicken as a pet when I was a kid, and only as a pet. She hung out with my dog and usually slept with him. Guess which was was louder, messier, and smellier? It wasn’t the chicken.

    Now that isn’t to say that some chickens can’t be loud, but I don’t think a ban is necessary. If someone were to let their animal situation get out of hand, just as if we were talking about dogs, then deal with it then.

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