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Delta-Lawyer, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3546
Experience:  10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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My dog and kittens I was taking care of and adopt out were

Customer Question

My dog and kittens I was taking care of and adopt out were seized from my home.
I had taken kittens to an emergency vet, three were dying, one survived. The emergency vet contacted the SPCA and the District Attorney's office, claiming that the kittens were neglected/and or harmed. They had all been to the vet, and on medication to prevent respiratory infections and parasites. It's common for kittens to have parasites and get upper respiratory infections. All were treated. The SPCA convinced me that I had to turn dog over, which I did. They said he would be returned if healthy. He was found healthy. I am at fault for having a home in deplorable condition. I have several disorders: depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADHA, OCD( clutter- not hoarding) Recent events in my life plus 11 years of harassment from a neighbor who is a police office,r contributed and worsened my state of mind. Essentially, he is being kept due to the conditions of the house, which were deplorable- grounds for neglect. He was found to be in good health, and not dangerous to others. I understand that I am guilty of that. I live in New York state( Wes Islip). Also the SPCA did not return to remove my own cat from my home, nor several of the kittens who had escape, and were outside. There seems to be a contradiction there. I live in New York state( West Islip) where it is legal to own pet if you are homeless, pets have been returned to people deemed neglectful, and when I volunteered with a rescue group, I delivered food to people who left their animals in deplorable and dangerous states without food, water, and shelter. Is there any chance that I can sue for the return of my dog. My house is being cleaned by a professional cleaning company. I have been under a psychiatrists care since 2009. I am also seeking to return to therapy that focuses on the above mentioned disorders. The SPCA also said that a family member could take ownership of the dog. At first two family members were willing, now both are reconsidering, although they both felt that I had done so much for them they would do this( I supported one sister and her family for three years, I continue to pay her phone bill. This may be irrelevant, but feel you should know this to further prove that my dog is not dangerous. In your opinion, is there any possibility to sue for the return of my dog. I would appreciate any information and/or assistance you can offer.
Carrie Marano
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Carrie, first off I am sorry you are having to deal with this issue. I am an animal lover too and know that they can be therapeutic to have them close by. Honestly, the best method here (at least the path of least resistance may be to have a family member get the dog).

That said, there are legal ways to handle the situation. You can seek an injunction in a court in your county of residence which would order the SPCA to give you your dog back. Here is the legal standard to get an injunction:

“A preliminary injunction may be granted under CPLR article 63 when the party seeking such relief demonstrates:

  1. a likelihood of ultimate success on the merits;
  2. the prospect of irreparable injury if the provisional relief is withheld; and
  3. a balance of equities tipping in the moving party’s favor.”

Doe v. Axelrod, 73 N.Y.2d 748, 750 (1988).

You need to be able to prove all of those points. I think the winning way for you is to show your fitness to get the animal back. I think you also need to plead with the court that the animal is therapeutic for you relative to conditions that you deal with which are of no fault of your own.

The court can order the release of the dog to your custody and you can even agree to being checked by the SPCA as a part of the order if you so choose to hopefully make them back down.

Please rate my answer positively and let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes going forward!

Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any additional questions or comments? I want you to be as comfortable as possible as you move forward with this important issue. Thanks