Category Archives: Animals

Service Dog Adopted Out of Animal Care Without Notice to Owner:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Would Court Intervene/Assist Recovery on Emergency Basis?

Denise McCurrie suffered from anxiety and depression and lived on disability payments. On April 16, 2021, she experienced a medical emergency at her residence, requiring the services of an ambulance. Two Emergency Medical Technicians and two police officers arrived at her home. McCurrie was transferred by ambulance to a hospital, and the police officers took her dog Roscoe to the New York City Animal Care Center. She alleged that she made the police officers aware that Roscoe was an emotional support animal.

A few days later, McCurrie contacted the police and inquired as to Roscoe’s whereabouts. She was informed that Roscoe was given to ACC, which she contacted to inquire about her dog. She was informed by ACC that Roscoe was given to a shelter, but ACC would not provide the name of the shelter to her.  Subsequently, an individual applied for and adopted Roscoe from the shelter. McCurrie diligently sought to recover Roscoe, and brought suit upon obtaining counsel.

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Three Day Trial in Contested Canine Custody Case:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Determines Which Parent has Right to Sole Possession

Our Courts regularly and routinely resolve disputed claims to possession of personal property and controverted petitions for child custody. But, as a recent case illustrates, a Court may be required to adjudicate competing applications for possession/custody of a cherished canine companion.

Matthew Mundo sued Harry Weatherson to recover possession of a Chihuahua dog named Maximus. The complaint alleged that Maximus (valued at approximately $2,500) was being wrongfully detained by Weatherson because Mundo held a superior right to possession. Mundo asserted causes of action for replevin, declaratory judgment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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Dog Bites Guest at Home of Owner’s Parents:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Are Mom and Dad Liable for the Injury?

Dog bite cases and their factual differences and distinctions abound. Liability is often based on who owned or controlled the dog. But, as a recent case illustrates, another determinant of liability may be where the incident occurred.

Jessica Sigmund claimed that she was bitten by a dog named Luke belonging to Christopher Porreca while she was a guest at the home of his parents, Francis and Rosemary Porreca, on January 10, 2019.

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Did Dog Already Have Its “One Bite”: And Thus Was Vicious Propensity Known?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Dog bite case decisions regularly and routinely address the legal basis of liability: did (or did not) the owner know of the canine’s “vicious propensity”. But that is where the similarity begins and ends. As a recent case illustrates, each case is “fact-specific” and requires an examination of the dog’s “propensity” pedigree.

Mindy Gordon was the owner of a dog named Mystery. On September 30, 2018, Amisha Mulji was walking her dog named CJ around 8:45 in the evening. Mystery was also out and being handled by Melissa Torres. Mystery was leashed but was not muzzled. Mystery then attacked, scratching Mulji and biting CJ. Eventually, CJ died from its injuries. As a result, the New York City Department of Health entered into a settlement with Gordon setting forth the care and responsibilities of Mystery. The settlement stated “Mystery was involved in both the foregoing incident and a prior incident on December 11, 2015, in which Mystery attacked and caused physical injuries to persons and killed another dog.”

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“Beware of the Dog”: Did Pet Have Known Vicious Propensities?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

“Every dog is entitled to one bite” is shorthand for the principle that a dog owner may not be liable for an attack or bite by a pet without known vicious propensities. But, as a recent case illustrates, a determination of whether or not the vicious propensities were known to the owner is both circumstance specific and fact-intensive.

Kathleen Stack, a home health aide, alleged that she was injured on June 14, 2017, on-premises owned by Frank Manfredi and Lillian Manfredi premises at 115 Quinby Avenue, City of White Plains. Stack alleged that she was attacked by a dog who charged at her causing her to brace herself against the Manfredis’ door to prevent from being bitten and attacked. In doing so, she claimed injuries to her neck, back, shoulders, wrists, hands, and ankles. And that the Manfredi’s had knowledge of the vicious propensity of the dog– and were strictly liable in tort, as well as negligence.

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Was Residential Holdover Proceeding “For the Birds?”: Pigeon-Feeding Tenant Faced Eviction for “Nuisance”

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Pigeons are synonymous with New York City’s high-rise ecology. Pets to be fed by some. An annoyance to others. But, as a recent case illustrates, a pigeon-feeding tenant may face eviction if her conduct rises to the level of “nuisance.”

GSKP LLC filed a nuisance holdover proceeding seeking possession of unit no. 3 at 28 Bond Street from Margaret Lee. The premises were not subject to the Rent Stabilization Law or the Rent Control Law. The premises were rent-regulated pursuant to Article 7-C of the Multiple Dwelling Law. The Notice of Petition and Petition alleged that the term for which the premises were rented expired on November 30, 2018.

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Did Siberian Husky “Charlie” Have Known Vicious Propensities? Postwoman’s Testimony May Have Dispositive Bite

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Is every dog entitled to one bite? As a recent case illustrates, proof of prior canine misconduct is required to show vicious propensity. 

Suzanne Castelluccio was bitten on May 12, 2016, by a dog named “Charlie” in the driveway of 13 Kent Street in Rock Hill, New York, owned by Karen Hudson and Phillip Hudson. 

According to Karen Hudson, she and Castelluccio were traveling to Middletown when they stopped by the Hudson house in Rock Hill. Hudson exited the van and approached the chain-linked pen, which contained her Siberian husky, Charlie. The fence of the pen was approximately five feet high and extended to her garage. Hudson approached the gated pen, and Charlie jumped up with his front paws on the fence; she then went back toward the vehicle to retrieve her house keys. Castellucio saw Hudson pet the husky who asked for and was granted permission to pet Charlie. Hudson then proceeded from the van to her front door.

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Does Gryffin belong to Shalloo or Zarrour? Court Decides Claims to Welsh Terrier Puppy

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

A dog may be wo/man’s best friend. But, when it comes to the law, a dog is a mere chattel or thing—possession of which is governed by the competing proofs in action for conversion.

Madison Shalloo sued Beleal Zarrour for the replevin of a dog on August 14, 2020. In her complaint, Shalloo alleged she was in a relationship with Zarrour. They shared an apartment in Long Island City from November 30, 2017, to January 10, 2020. In April 2018, they agreed to purchase a dog together. Shalloo located and was the contact person with the breeder. On July 2, 2018, they purchased a Welsh Terrier puppy named Gryffin Shalloo. And she reimbursed Zarrour for one-half of the cost of Gryffin.

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Dog Spooked in Veterinary Clinic Waiting Room & Cat Owner Injured

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

New York Court of Appeals Decides If Clinic Has Liability (On 10/22)

Palmer Veterinary Clinic, PC treated Vanilla, a dog, for a paw injury at its clinic. That same day, Marsha Hewitt brought her cat to the clinic for an examination. As Hewitt waited in the reception area, a veterinarian returned Vanilla to her owner in the waiting room; the dog had just undergone a medical procedure to remove a broken toenail. At some point after the veterinarian handed Vanilla’s leash back to her owner, Vanilla saw Hewitt’s cat in its carrier, slipped her collar and—in an apparent attempt to reach the cat—jumped at Hewitt from behind, grabbing her ponytail.

Several months later, Hewitt sued Palmer, alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of the incident. And alleged that Palmer had a duty to provide a safe waiting room, that Palmer breached that duty by failing to exercise due care and by bringing an “agitated, distressed” dog into the waiting area, and that Palmer knew Vanilla had vicious propensities and was in an agitated and aggressive state. Palmer denied the allegations and asserting various affirmative defenses, including that the clinic was entitled to have any liability apportioned between itself and the dog’s owner.

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Dog Chasing Cat Provokes Additional Insured/Vicious Propensities Imbroglio

This post originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

Scenario: Dog chases a cat. Guest gets caught in cable securing the dog. Dog owner and guest are significant others. Accident occurs at their former abode where he (but not she) then resides. Victim asserts claim on homeowners’ policy. Carrier disclaims. And (of course) litigation ensues.

Jo Ann Davis was injured on April 23, 2017 when visiting the house owned and occupied by Timothy Phillips at 11 East Avenue in Cortland. Davis fell after becoming entangled in the cable securing Phillips’s dog (Sam) just as the canine began to chase a cat.

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