New York

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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.

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.

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.

Kinara v. Jamaica Bay Riding Academy, Inc.


Plaintiff was kicked by a horse ridden by her friend while trail riding.  Plaintiff sued the Defendant who owned the horse and trail Plaintiff was riding on.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding Plaintiff assumed the risk.

Larry BARD et al., Appellants, v. Reinhardt JAHNKE, Individually And Doing Business as Hemlock Valley Farms, Respondent, et al., Defendant.


The accident underlying this litigation occurred on a dairy farm owned and operated by defendant. Plaintiff Larry Bard, a self-employed carpenter, arrived at the farm to meet defendant John Timer, another self-employed carpenter to repair of the dairy barn. While working, Bard was seriously injured by a bull. Bard, with his wife suing derivatively, commenced an action against both Jahnke and Timer to recover damages for his personal injuries, alleging causes of action sounding in strict liability and negligence. In affirming the Appellate Division's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, this court found that Jahnke was not liable for Bard's injuries unless he knew or should have known of the bull's vicious or violent propensities. The Court noted that the record contained no such evidence.

Lawrence v. North Country Animal Control Center, Inc Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. When one plaintiff tried to separate the dogs, the basset hound attacked him. Defendant removed the basset hound from the home that same day and refused to return the dog to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal from the New York Supreme Court decision, the appellate court found that under the circumstances, issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court also found that the contract clause at issue did not preclude plaintiffs from recovering for negligence because it did not “advise the signor that the waiver extended to claims that might arise from the defendant's own negligence.” The appellate court did, however, find that plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The court also found that sanctions were not warranted.
Leslie Ann Mandel Will (pet trust)
Malpezzi v. Ryan


In this New York case, the plaintiff brought an action to recover for a dog bite sustained when she was walking on a local bike path. The court noted that it has consistently held, “a plaintiff may not recover for injuries sustained in an attack by a dog unless he or she establishes that the dog had vicious propensities and that its owner knew or should have known of such propensities”  Here, defendant and his girlfriend testified, without contradiction, that they did not experience any problems with the dog prior to the incident with Malpezzi. Specifically, each testified that Oreo did not display any act of aggression prior to biting Malpezzi. In opposition, plaintiff primarily relies upon the purportedly vicious nature of the attack, the fact that Oreo allegedly was restrained while on defendant's property and Oreo's specific breed. However, the court observed that where, as here, there is no other evidence even suggesting that defendant knew or should have known of Oreo's allegedly vicious propensities, consideration of the dog's breed is irrelevant. As such, Supreme Court erred in denying defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

Marek v. Burmester


In this New York case, a bicyclist was injured after allegedly being chased and attacked by defendant's two dogs. The plaintiff-bicyclist sued to recover damages for his injuries. The Supreme Court , Putnam County, granted a defense motion for summary judgment, and the bicyclist appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that a genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether defendants had constructive notice of the dogs' proclivity to chase bicyclists on the roadway and as to whether those actions put others at risk of harm.

Martin v. Columbia Greene Humane Society, Inc.


A dog breeder was required to abstain from selling dogs for three years or else criminal charges would be reinstated for failing to file health certificates for the dogs they sold or report deaths due to contagious diseases.  The breeder brought claims for malicious prosecution, tortious interference with a business relation, and section 1983 violations.  The trial court denied defendants motion to dismiss and the Court of Appeals affirmed in part holding the complaint failed to state a claim for malicious prosecution and the humane society volunteer was entitled to statutory immunity as an unpaid officer of a not-for-profit corporation.  

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