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Landmark Lawsuit Seeks Damages For Puppy’s Pain And Suffering

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Elena Zakharova with her attorney Susan Chana Lask and Umka.

Elena Zakharova with her attorney Susan Chana Lask and Umka.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Is a puppy “property” or more than that?

A new lawsuit seeks to redefine a dog’s legal status.

At issue is Umka, a female Brussels Griffon, born in December of 2010. Elena Zakharova bought Umka for $1,650 from Raising Rover, Ltd. in Manhattan.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports

A lawsuit filed by Zakharova’s attorney Susan Chana Lask alleges that just four months after purchasing the dog, Umka was in pain and developed a disorder in her hips and legs as a result of a congenital defect.

“I was crying non-stop and then I couldn’t sleep for another two days just trying to figure out the next steps,” Zakharova said.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

The lawsuit seeks damages from Raising Rover not just for selling a defective product, but also for Umka’s pain and suffering.  Under the law, pets are considered property and can not sue for pain and suffering damages.

“She is in pain, and she deserves to collect like any other living person, or living soul,” Lask told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon. Chana Lask says if the lawsuit is successful, it may have consequences for puppy mills and pet stores.

“Maybe pet stores will be a little more careful where they’re getting their animals from,” Lask said.

umkathedog Landmark Lawsuit Seeks Damages For Puppys Pain And Suffering

Umka. (credit: Handout)

The surgeries alone cost thousands of dollars.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

“This suit says give us the value on Umka’s pain and suffering the same that you would as if I slipped and fell in front of that pet store through their negligence,” said Lask. “If it’s a felony to abuse an animal, than we already recognize that they feel pain.”

She is arguing that the puppy should be treated as a human being.

“Animals are living souls and they give love and they receive love but they also feel pain,”  Lask said.

Should you be able to sue and be compensated for an animal’s pain and suffering? Sound off in our comments section.

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