Lask Extends Puppy Lemon Law to Pain & Suffering
PUPPY SUES PET STORE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING
Consumers are Not Limited to Puppy Lemon Laws
On December 29, 2011, Elena Zakharova by her attorney Susan Chana Lask filed a novel animal rights complaint in New York County’s civil court, Docket # 0677221/2011, captioned “ELENA ZAKHAROVA for herself and as representative of her dog, Umka against RAISING ROVER LTD., Defendant.” The complaint demands Umka be recognized as a living soul, not “property” as our lower courts hold, and demands damages for Umka’s “pain and suffering”. Violations of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) for selling a “defective product” are also alleged. Read the Complaint here.Read the Amended Complaint here.
Umka is a female puppy Brussels Griffon born December 5, 2010. On February 4, 2011, Elena Zakharova purchased Umka for $1,650 from Raising Rover, Ltd. By June, 2011, four months later, little Umka, only 6 months old, was in pain, could not walk and was diagnosed with medial patella subluxation disorder of both rear knees and her hip sockets did not develop properly. The complaint alleges Umka’s disorder is a congenital defect inherited during birth. Umka required surgery opening her right rear knee, shaving the bone and inserting her knee back into the socket, costing $2,079. She wore a cast and requires further surgery on her other hind leg, which more costs of thousands of dollars are expected. Umka cannot enjoy life as a healthy puppy and is in pain.
“New York recognizes pets as “property”, which eliminates pain and suffering that pets feel. Umka's case gives me the chance to argue to the highest court, if needed, that pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property. Umka feels love and pain like any human being whose pain and suffering would be recognized in a court if their leg was broken.” says Susan Chana Lask, the attorney for Elena and Umka. The Complaint informs consumers that they have more rights than New York’s Puppy Lemon Law that limits discovery of congenital defects to 14 days from the date of sale, otherwise the pet store is not liable. It is impossible to discover many defects in a mere 14 days as Umka’s case proves it was months later before her serious condition arose. The Puppy Lemon Law states it is not exclusive of other laws. Since pets are considered property then pets are "goods" under the UCC. As a "good", Umka’s Complaint also alleges violations under the UCC which gives consumers four years to sue the pet store rather than14 days. The UCC gives broader rights , such as a full refund of the sales price and payment of veterinary costs to correct the defect. Although the allegations conflict between recognizing Umka as a living soul and providing damages as property udner the UCC, pleadings may allege all remedies to protect every right for Umka and Elena Zakharova.
About 2 million puppies are sold annually in the U.S., as reported by the Associated Press on December 13, 2011. Elena Zakharova is devastated emotionally and financially to watch little Umka suffer from surgeries and pain and not live a normal life because of her congenital defect from improper breeding. “This lawsuit is filed to inform and encourage consumers not to return their new pet purchased during the holidays or anytime if they have a defect because laws exist beyond the Puppy Lemon Laws. Pet stores can be responsible years later for medical and other expenses to get their new puppy healthy rather than returning the pet that will most likely be euthanized. The improper breeding then destroying these animals is the inhumane treatment this lawsuit is meant to stop.” says Lask.