Hammer v. American Kennel Club

1 N.Y.3d 294, 803 N.E.2d 766 (2003)

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Hammer v. American Kennel Club

New York Court of Appeals
1 N.Y.3d 294, 803 N.E.2d 766 (2003)

Facts

In 2001, Jon H. Hammer (plaintiff) sued the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Brittany Club (ABC) (defendants). Hammer claimed that the AKC and the ABC encouraged owners of purebred Brittany Spaniel dogs to violate New York State’s Agriculture and Markets Law § 353, which prohibited animal cruelty. Hammer argued that because the AKC adopted the ABC’s standards providing that Brittany Spaniel dogs should have approximately four-inch tails, it encouraged owners to dock their dogs’ tails to enter the AKC’s breed competitions. Hammer alleged that the process of docking a tail constituted animal cruelty. Hammer sought a declaratory judgment that the standard promulgated violated Section 353 as well as an injunction requiring the AKC to stop using the four-inch standard when judging breed competitions. The AKC and the ABC both moved to dismiss Hammer’s complaint on the ground that Section 353 did not provide an individual with a private cause of action to obtain civil relief. The appellate division granted the motions. The matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Graffeo, J.)

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