New York

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Jones v. Beame


In this New York case, the plaintiffs, organizations concerned with the treatment of animals in the New York City zoos, sought injunctive and declaratory relief against city officials who were charged with operating the zoos. Due to a citywide fiscal crisis, the City had to make “Draconian” choices with its human and animal charges, according to the court. In granting a motion to dismiss, this court declined to accept the responsibility for matters that it found to be administrative in nature.

Jon H. Hammer v. The American Kennel Club and Brittany Club of America, a/k/a The American Brittany Club, Inc.


Plaintiff, the owner of a Brittany Spaniel dog with an undocked tail, sought to enter his dog into AKC competitions. However, AKC standards stated that any tail substantially over four inches long would be "severely penalized." Plaintiff contended the practice of docking a dog’s tail (which oftentimes occurs without anesthesia or even under the proper care of a veterinarian) constituted an act of cruelty in violation of Agriculture and Markets Section 353 and was an arbitrary and capricious discriminatory standard. Plaintiff sought both declaratory relief declaring that the practice is illegal and discriminatory, and injunctive relief to enjoin the practice form being applied in New York and elsewhere.

Johnson v. Douglas


Plaintiff appealed an order denying her claim to emotional distress damages presumably for the death of her dog.  The court held that it is well established that a pet owner in New York cannot recover damages for emotional distress caused by the negligent killing of a dog.

Jason v. Parks


In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for veterinary malpractice, the plaintiffs appeal.  The court reaffirmed that it is well established that a pet owner in New York cannot recover damages for emotional distress caused by the negligent destruction of a dog.

Jacobsen v. Schwarz


Plaintiff appeals an order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment that dismissed her personal injury case. The plaintiff commenced this action after she was bitten by defendant's dog while working on a computer at defendant's house. This court found that summary judgment was not appropriate because the defendant warned plaintiff that the dog was possessive about her ball and not to touch it. These warnings along with the dog's actions with the ball may give rise to a finding that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog possessed a vicious propensity or a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm.

Jackson v. Georgalos Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.
Iris Lewis v. Al DiDonna, Pharmacist; James DiDonna, Pharmacist; Eckerd Drug Store of Stone Ridge, New York; Eckerd Corporation


In this case, the plaintiff brought her dog of nine years to a veterinarian and was given a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug called Feldene to treat the dog’s condition. After the dog died of renal failure complications, plaintiff discovered that the Feldene prescription was mislabeled by the pharmacist. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department held that the allegations in plaintiff’s verified complaint sufficiently allege defendant’s wanton and reckless disregard of plaintiff’s rights to survive a motion to dismiss. Further, the court noted that while plaintiff did not appeal the dismissal of her cause of action for loss of companionship, the court made it clear that loss of companionship is not cognizable cause of action in the state of New York.

In the Matter of the Application of Richard M. COPLAND, as an Executor of the estate of Lenore Lewis Abels, Deceased Co-executor of an estate petitioned the Westchester County Surrogate's Court for a decree in accordance with EPTL 7–8.1[d] reducing the amount of money to be transferred from the estate to the trustees of a testamentary pet trust established under the decedent's will. Since the decedent gave very specific instructions as to how she wanted her cats to be cared for and the petition was in opposition to the decedent’s wishes, the court denied the reduction.
In re Clinton Cty. Synopsis from the court: County filed notice of claim, directed toward estate of cattle farmer who had passed away after he was charged with animal cruelty, seeking reimbursement for costs incurred in connection with care of seized cattle. The Surrogate's Court, Clinton County, Timothy J. Lawliss, J., held that: (1 ) county failed to establish that it was entitled to any relief based upon a theory of quantum meruit, and (2) even assuming that service providers, and thus county upon payment of service providers' bills, enriched farmer, county was not entitled to recover based upon a theory of unjust enrichment because criminal charges against farmer were dismissed upon his death. Notice of claim denied and dismissed.
Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc. v. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty


Animal rights protestors appealed the decision of the Supreme Court, Westchester County that permanently enjoined the protestors from engaging in protest activity that constituted a private nuisance (to wit, participating in targeted protest at the home of the plaintiff Mark L. Bibi). This court found that the protestors failed to refute the evidence from the lower court that showed the plaintiffs were entitled to a permanent injunction as a matter of law (including evidence of the appellant's federal conviction conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992). While the court did find that the appellant-protestor's incarceration did not render the appeal academic, imposition of the injunction was a reasonable and constitutional restriction on protest activity.

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