New York

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DOYLE v DEPUTY SHERIFF'S


In this New York case, a minor child was injured when he was kicked by defendant's horse while defendant was in the process of the setting up a petting zoo at a picnic. The court was posed with the question of whether limited circumstances exist to support a negligence claim where a person is injured by a domestic animal and there is no proof of the animal's vicious propensities (the pony in this case never kicked anyone or showed any vicious propensities). The court answered the question in the affirmative. Here, defendant is subject to the enhanced duty of horse owners to young children. There were triable issues of fact as to defendant's negligence in the manner in which the horses were unloaded while in the presence of children that precluded summary judgment for defendant.


Earl v. Piowaty
Plaintiffs' son was seriously injured when he was bitten in the face by a dog that belonged to defendant Susan Piowaty.  Plaintiffs brought action on behalf of their son against Piowaty and the animal shelter from which Piowaty had adopted the dog two weeks prior to the incident, alleging that they had constructive notice of the dog's vicious propensities because of a minor incident earlier that week.  However, this court agreed with the denial of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment because there remains a triable issue as to the defendants' notice of the dog's vicious propensities at the time of the son's injury.
Erie County Society ex rel. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Hoskins


In this action, plaintiff animal society appeals from an order to return 40 horses to defendant after they were seized pursuant to a warrant. The issue of whether the Court has the authority to order return of animals to the original owner was raised for the first time on appeal. Despite the  procedural impropriety, the Court found plaintiff's contention without merit. The Court held that the return of the horses is based on principles of due process, not statutory authority.

Eslin v. County of Suffolk


A woman was horseback riding at a ranch in New York and was injured when she fell off the horse. The woman had signed a Horse Rental Agreement and Liability Release Form before the accident.  The court determined that the rider assumed the risk of injury and the lower court's decision to deny defendant's motion for summary judgment was reversed. 

Evans v. Craig


A postal worker brought an action against dog owners to recover for injuries allegedly sustained when dog jumped on her while she was delivering mail to the owners' home. In affirming the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court found that there factual issues as to whether the owners were aware of the potential danger from the dog and whether they took reasonable measures to prevent the dog from jumping on the plaintiff.

Faraci v. Urban


In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that


defendant knew or should have known


of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.

Farnham v. Meder


In this New York case, the plaintiff commenced this negligence action seeking damages for injuries sustained when defendants' bull knocked him to the ground while plaintiff was chasing the bull from his own property. Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that plaintiff's activities in chasing the bull constituted primary assumption of the risk. This court concluded that Supreme Court properly denied defendants' motion. The record established that plaintiff was fully familiar with defendants' bull and had in fact chased the bull from plaintiffs' property on prior occasions. At no time had the bull ever acted aggressively toward plaintiff, and thus plaintiff had no reason to assume that the bull would do so on this particular occasion.

Feger v. Warwick Animal Shelter
In this New York case, a cat owner brought suit against an animal shelter and its employee for their alleged misconduct in knowingly placing a champion cat stolen from her home for adoption by unidentified family. In ruling that the lower court properly denied the plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment, the appellate court found that there are questions of fact,

inter alia

, as to whether “Lucy” is “Kisses." However, the Shelter defendants are correct that the plaintiff may not recover damages for the emotional harm she allegedly suffered from the loss of her cat.
Felgemacher v. Rugg


In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

Fiori v. Conway Org.


In this New York case, a customer brought a negligence action against the owner of a retail store after she was allegedly attacked by a stray cat while shopping at store. The owner of the store moved for summary judgment. The Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County, held that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the presence of a stray or feral cat in a retail store constituted a particular danger for unassuming visitors and/or customers whose presence on premises was foreseeable precluded summary judgment.

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