New York

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Crossroads Apartments Associates v. LeBoo


Landlord brought an eviction proceeding against tenant with a history of mental illness for possession of a cat in his rental unit in violation of a no pets policy. Tenant alleged that he needed the cat to alleviate his "intense feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, which are daily manifestations of his mental illness." The court held that in order to prove that the pet  is necessary for the tenant to use and enjoy the dwelling, he must prove "that he has an emotional and psychological dependence on the cat which requires him to keep the cat in the apartment." The court denied the housing authority's motion for summary judgment, stating that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the cat was necessary for the tenant to use and enjoy the dwelling.

Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Inc.


Plaintiff sued for mental suffering after she discovered a dead cat in the casket that was meant for her dead dog in an elaborate funeral for the dog.  In ruling that the plaintiff was entitled to damages beyond market value for this actionable tort, the court found that plaintiff Ms. Corso did suffer shock, mental anguish and despondency due to the wrongful destruction and loss of the dog's body.  The court specifically distinguished a pet from other sentimental inanimate objects as they are not capable of returning love and affection.

Conti v. ASPCA


A parrot flew away from its original owner, was found and adopted by the plaintiff, and subsequently seized by the ASPCA for return to the original owner. The finder-plaintiff brought an action of replevin to recover possession of the parrot. The court found that the bird found was the same as the one lost and it did not extinguish the original owner's right to possession by reverting to a wild state.

Collier v. Zambito


Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home.  After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.

Cohen v. Kretzschmar


The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the owners established that their dog did not have a propensity to jump up on people, and that they were not negligent in the manner in which they handled the dog at the time of the alleged accident.  The judgment granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Labs, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of State University of New York


Citizens wanted access to University records dealing with biomedical research using cats and dogs.

 

These records were created, as required by federal Law, but access to the records was requested under state law.

 

According to the New York Freedom of Information Act (FOIL), documents held by an “agency” should be disclosed.

  The lower Appellate Division held that s

ince the University did not fall under the definition of “agency" under New York Public Officers Law, it was not required to turn over such documents.  The New York Court of Appeals, however, found that the Appellate Division's rationale for denying FOIL disclosure was inconsistent with precedent, and that the legislative goal behind FOIL of was liberal disclosure, limited only by narrowly circumscribed specific statutory exemptions.  Thus, in reversing the Appellate Division's decision, the Court of Appeals held that the records were subject to disclosure.

Christian v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc.


This New York case consists of an action to recover damages for personal injuries. The plaintiffs appeal the granting of the motion of the defendant for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him and the cross motion of the defendants Petco. The infant plaintiff allegedly sustained personal injuries when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant Kenneth Coughlin at a Petco store. The court held that the evidence submitted established that the defendants were not aware that this dog had ever bitten anyone or exhibited any aggressive behavior.

Christensen v. Lundsten


In this New York case, the parent of child injured by a dog brought an action seeking to have the dog declared a “dangerous dog” under the relevant law. The Court conducted a trial of the “dangerous dog” petition filed and rendered an oral decision that declared the respondents' Chesapeake Bay Retriever “Nellie” to be a dangerous dog under New York Agricultural and Markets Law § 121. The parties contested the appropriateness of a finding of “negligence” and “strict liability” and the entry of judgment. The District Court held that the court would not resolve issue of negligence because the issue was not properly joined for disposition; however, the owners were strictly liable for child's unreimbursed medical expenses.

Central Park Sightseeing LLC v. New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets, Inc. This New York cases balances animal right protestors' First Amendment rights against the government's interest in preserving public safety and flow of traffic on public streets. Plaintiff here is a business that operates horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park. Defendant is an animal rights organization that protests the horse-and-carriage industry, often demonstrating where carriage operators drop off and pick up customers. At issue, is the manner in which defendants conduct their protests in the designated horse-drawn carriage zones. Plaintiff's claim defendants harass and threaten customers and drivers, and create a public safety issue by chasing after carriages. The court granted a preliminary injunction that enjoined defendants from things like physically blocking or impeding persons from riding or disembarking from carriages, physically touching associated persons or horses, yelling or shouting at persons or horses, obstructing the progress of a carriage ride, and handing literature to a person situated within a horse carriage. The court found the plaintiffs also established a likelihood of success on an action for public nuisance and a showing of a "special injury" aimed at plaintiff's business. Finding the injunction was content-neutral, this reviewing court then considered whether the challenged portions of the injunction burden speech no more than is necessary to assert the significant government interest. The court agreed with defendant that the "floating buffer zone" of the original order would be difficult for a protestor to assess and would burden speech more than is necessary. Thus, this court modified the order to prohibit any person from knowingly approaching within nine feet of a person in the loading/unloading carriage zone (a “conversational distance," said the court). The court also noted that the First Amendment does not require that protestors be allowed to interrupt the flow of traffic or endanger the public in the delivery of speech. The court also limited language in the original order that extended the reach of the injunction to “anyone else who becomes aware of this [d]ecision and [o]rder.” The court changed to this to defendants and “those acting in concert with the named parties” The order from the Supreme Court, New York County was modified as specified in this decision.
Carter v. Metro North Assocs. In this case, a tenant sued her landlord for injuries sustained when the tenant was bitten on the face by a pit bull owned by another tenant. The court held that before a pet owner, or the landlord of the building in which the pet lives, may be held strictly liable for an injury inflicted by the animal, the plaintiff must establish both (1) that the animal had vicious propensities and (2) that the defendant knew or should have known of the animal's propensities. In this case, there was no evidence that the pit bull had vicious propensities, nor did any of the evidence support a finding that the landlord had, or should have had, knowledge of any such propensities. The appellate court found the lower court erred when it took "judicial notice of the vicious nature of the breed as a whole." The court noted that there are alternate opinions and evidence that preclude taking judicial notice that pit bulls are inherently vicious as a breed. The trial court order was reversed, judgment for plaintiff vacated, and complaint dismissed.

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