Canine released after death sentence

May 28, 2013 By Amy Chaitoff, Esq. For Brookyn Daily Eagle
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“Lucky,” a 4 year old American Bull Terrier that has been on death row at the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter for over 14 months, has been released. 

A March, 2012 decision and order, ordered Lucky to be killed pursuant to section §123 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, known as New York’s Dangerous Dog Law.  The 2012 dangerous dog complaint filed by the complainant neighbor alleged that Lucky had attacked their cat “Biggie” on three separate occasions, resulting in the cat’s death in January 2012.

Lucky’s attorney, animal welfare attorney Amy Chaitoff, of Chaitoff Law in Bayport, N.Y., took on Lucky’s case and it back on the docket in the Sixth District Court in Patchogue, N.Y., for emergency relief by an Order to Show Cause to Vacate the prior order and a stay on Lucky’s order of destruction.

Chaitoff argued that the court erred in ordering the destruction of Lucky under New York State Dangerous Dog Law Section 123 which specifically excludes a dog from being euthanized for an attack on a companion animal, unless the dog had been determined to be a dangerous dog by a “previous judicial determination” within the last two years prior to the subsequent dangerous dog finding, as required under 123(c).

Chaitoff explained that, “the whole purpose of the law is to provide more safeguards for the accused dog and more judicial discretion in coming to that decision, so that euthanasia should only be ordered in cases of human attacks resulting in serious physical injury, or, if the dog has a history of a vicious propensity and has again been determined to be a dangerous dog, or lastly, if the dog has been previously deemed a dangerous dog after a judicial hearing and then again is judicially determined to be a dangerous dog within the last two years under the current statute.”

Chaitoff also represented “Duke” in 2007, the six-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier who had been on death row at the Islip Town Shelter for an incredible 3½ years after an order entered in February 2004 that ordered Duke to be killed pursuant to then section §121 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.  Chaitoff argued Duke’s case all the way up to the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department in Motta v. Menendez.

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