Lawsuit argues dogs are more than “property”
Elena Zakharova says her dog Umka deserves to be compensated like a human for her pain and suffering.
And the lawsuit she’s filed in a New York court seeks just that.
Zakharova says an upper East Side pet store sold her a Brussels Griffon with bad knees and hips, which she believes are a result of a congenital disorder.
She’s seeking, in addition to payment for Umka’s suffering, compensation for her vet bills, expected to soon amount to $8,000, according to the New York Daily News. She and her lawyer contend that even though state law defines pets as ”property,” they are more than that, and they should be compensated accordingly.
“Pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property,” said Zakharova’s lawyer, Susan Chana Lask. “Umka feels love and pain like any human being whose pain and suffering would be recognized in a court.”
Umka is not covered by New York State’s “Puppy Lemon Law,” which allows buyers to return a sick animal in 14 days. Umka’s problems didn’t surface for six months — not until she was nearly eight months old.
Umka was two-months old when Zakharova purchased her for $1,650.
Despite extensive surgery, vets have told Zakharova the dog will never walk or run properly.
“Umka suffers a disorder causing her pain, her legs hurt, she cries when she is in pain, she drags herself with her front paws, she cannot run like other puppies,” the lawsuit says.
The store Umka came from, Raising Rover in Carnegie Hill was among those a Humane Society investigation last year revealed was buying animals from puppy mills.
It is now under new management. “I know nothing about the sale. The prior owner has all the records. We are very careful about where we get our puppies,” said owner Ben Logan.