New York

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Hastings v. Sauve


After plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, she sued farm owner, operator of cattle-shipping business, and operator's assistant, alleging that defendants were negligent in not properly confining cow to its pasture. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious or abnormal propensity, or that cow's owner knew of propensity, as required to support a strict liability claim. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeals, the court held that a landowner or the owner of an animal may be liable under ordinary tort-law principles when a farm animal is negligently allowed to stray from the property on which the animal is kept.


Hastings v. Sauve
Plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, and sued owner for negligently failing to confine cow. The Supreme Court held that injury claims could only proceed under strict liability theory based on owner's knowledge of animal's vicious propensities. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious propensity, or that owner knew of propensity, thus, owner was not liable.

This order was Reversed by

Hastings v. Sauve

, 2013 WL 1829834 (N.Y., 2013).

Humane Soc. of U.S., Inc. v. Brennan


In this New York case, the petitioners, various organizations and individuals generally opposed to the production of foie gras (a product derived from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese who were force fed prior to slaughter) submitted a petition to respondent Department of Agriculture and Markets seeking a declaration that foie gras is an adulterated food product within the meaning of Agriculture and Markets Law §§ 200. The respondent Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets refused to issue a statement to the requested declaration. On review to this court, petitioners sought a judicial pronouncement that foie gras is an adulterated food product. This court held that petitioners lacked standing because they did not suffer an injury within the zone of interests protected by State Administrative Procedure Act §§ 204.

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.

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.

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.

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