“Dogs are emotional beings that deserve our care and compassion. They are not merely pieces of property. This legal loophole puts this dog in immediate danger. The court should use common sense and help protect this loving companion.”
NY Post: Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they’re just property: judge
By Julia Marsh and Lorena Mongelli January 6, 2016 | 12:25am
Another New York judge has turned his back on man’s best friend, declaring that dogs are nothing more than property under the law.
Echoing a recent Manhattan judge’s ruling, Nassau County Surrogate’s Judge Edward McCarty III used that rationale to order a pair of dog lovers to return an Irish terrier named Darby to her late owner’s brother — even though the pooch had reportedly been found covered in her own filth under his care.
McCarty’s ruling, released Tuesday, cited the recent Manhattan case of Stevie — whose two dads broke up and fought over him — with Justice Arthur Engoron ruling that the mutt was property.
Darby is the latest animal custody case to snub a 2013 landmark decision by a second Manhattan judge, Matthew Cooper, who said that the pets’ best interest — and not who legally owns the animal — should be considered when determining custody.
In this Long Island case, bar owner James Boyle bought the American Kennel Club-registered Darby shortly before dying suddenly last April at age 72.
His brother, Michael Boyle, 80, inherited his $450,000 estate, including the 1-year-old terrier.
But shortly after the funeral, two cousins rescued Darby, who was barricaded in Michael’s Inwood, NY, kitchen and “covered in urine and feces,” according to court papers.
The puppy was “traumatized” from being “confined to filthy, isolated conditions,” according to the relatives, Patrick and Patricia Donoghue.
“Darby was rescued from conditions of filth and squalor,” say the Donoghues, who took her to their Pennsylvania home, where she enjoys frequent walks, plays with a neighbor’s dog in a fenced-in backyard and attends doggie day care.
“As a living, feeling creature, Darby requires a home and care-givers that are safe and appropriate,” the Donoghues argued.
Justice McCarty disagreed.
“A court can not predicate a decision on what is best for a dog,” he wrote.
The brother’s attorney, Christina Cline, says her client only left Darby home alone for a few days while he was at his sibling’s funeral.
“The dog was always taken care of,” said Michael, who was reunited with Darby on Jan. 3. “She is the last remembrance of Jimmy and that way I don’t feel alone.”
But New York-based animal-rights group New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) blasted the ruling.
“Dogs are emotional beings that deserve our care and compassion,” a NYCLASS spokesman said. “They are not merely pieces of property. This legal loophole puts this dog in immediate danger . . . the court should use common sense and help protect this loving companion.”
The Donoghues’ lawyer, Amy Johannesen, said her clients were “disappointed” by the decision.