New York

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New York Consolidated Laws 1938: Sections 180-196


Article 16, entitled "Animals", concerns New York's Law about the treatment of animals from 1938.  The act covers such topics as poisoning of animals to abandoning diseased or injured animals.  In addition, the act provides definitions in section 180.

New York Penal Law 1866: Chapter 682: Section 2


Chapter 682 from New York Penal Law of 1866 covers cruelty to animals.  Section 2 from this chapter describes the offense entitled neglect of disabled animals.  The law states the penalty for leaving a disabled or diseased animal to die on any state or city land.  

New York Revised Statute 1881: Chapter 682: Section 26


Section 26 of Chapter 682 from New York Revised Statutes 1881 concerns the treatment of animals by the owner or any other person.  A person found harming such an animal would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

New York Revised Statutes 1829: Title 6: Section 26


The law contained in Title 6, Section 26 of the New York Revised Statutes of 1829 concerns the offense of maliciously killing an animal of another.  The statute describes the type of animals covered and the punishment for killing, wounding, or maiming such an animal.  In addition, the statute also states the punishment for the offense of cruelty to animals.

New York Revised Statutes 1866: Chapter 783: Sections 1-10


Chapter 783, entitled "An act for the more effectual prevention of animal cruelty," concerns New York's Law on animal treatment for 1866. 

New York Revised Statutes 1867: Chapter 375: Sections 1-10


Chapter 375, entitled "An act for the more effectual prevention of animal cruelty," concerns New York's law on animal treatment for 1867. 

New York Revised Statutes 1874: Chapter 12: Sections 1-8


Chapter 12, entitled "An act relating to animals," concerns New York's Law about the treatment of animals from 1874.

Nigro v. New York Racing Ass'n, Inc.


An experienced exercise rider sued the owner of a race track seeking damages for personal injury after the horse she was riding fell on her while crossing a gravel-strewn asphalt road. The Supreme Court held that the rider assumed the risk that the horse might fall by choosing to cross the road despite being aware of the danger. The doctrine of “primary assumption of the risk” applied, and the owner of the premises was not at fault.

Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of Tommy and Kiko v. The petitioner, Nonhuman Rights Project brought this appeal on behalf of Tommy and Kiko, who are two captive chimpanzees. The chimpanzees had been confined by their owners in small cages within a warehouse and a cement storefront in a crowded residential area, respectively. Petitioner sought leave to appeal from an order of the Appellate Division, which affirmed two judgments of the Supreme Court declining to sign orders to show cause to grant the chimpanzees habeas relief. The lower courts based their denial of habeas corpus for the chimpanzees on the dictionary definition for "person." The term “person” tends to lean towards an entity that is recognized by law as having most of the rights and duties of a human. The Appellate Division also reasoned that chimpanzees are not considered people because they lack the capacity to bear legal duties or to be held legally accountable for their actions. As a counter, the Petitioner argued that the same can be said for human infants or comatose human adults, yet no one would say that it is improper to seek a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of one of them. The Appellate Division therefore based their denial on the fact that chimpanzees are not a member of the human species. In the instant action, Court of Appeals of New York denied the motion for leave to appeal. In the concurring opinion, Judge Fahey states that the better approach is not to ask whether a chimpanzee fits the definition of a person or whether it has the same rights and duties as a human being, but whether he or she has the right to liberty protected by habeas corpus. The concurring opinion also found that the Appellate Division erred by misreading the case it relied on and holding that a habeas corpus challenge cannot be used to seek transfer; a habeas corpus challenge can be used to seek a transfer to another facility. Although Judge Fahey recognizes that Chimpanzees share at least 96% of their DNA with humans and are autonomous, intelligent creatures, he concurred with the Appellate Division’s decision to deny leave to appeal. However, he ultimately questioned whether the Court was right to deny leave in the first instance.
Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. ex rel. Tommy v. Lavery The Petitioners, including the Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc . filed two petitions for habeas corpus relief on behalf of Tommy and Kiko, two adult male chimpanzees. The petitions stated that chimpanzees are intelligent, have the ability to be trained by humans to be obedient to rules, and to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities. Therefore, chimpanzees should be afforded some of the same fundamental rights as humans which include entitlement to habeas relief. The Respondents, included Tommy’s owners, Circle L Trailer Sales, Inc. and its officers, as well as Kiko’s owners, the Primate Sanctuary, Inc. and its officers and directors. The Supreme Court, New York County, declined to extend habeas corpus relief to the chimpanzees. The Petitioners appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division affirmed and held that:(1) the petitions were successive habeas proceedings which were not warranted or supported by any changed circumstances; (2) human-like characteristics of chimpanzees did not render them “persons” for purposes of habeas corpus relief; and (3) even if habeas relief was potentially available to chimpanzees, writ of habeas corpus did not lie on behalf of two chimpanzees at issue.

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