- Last Updated: 12:06 PM, January 5, 2012
- Posted: 2:01 AM, January 4, 2012
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you scratch our bellies, do we not shake our legs in the air?
In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a Manhattan woman — and her pooch — are taking an Upper East Side pet shop to court over the animal’s “pain and suffering.”
The suit, filed on behalf of “Elena Zakharova for herself and as representative of her dog, Umka,” contends the petite Brussels Griffon should be recognized as a living being instead of property, as state law currently contends.
“Umka [above] is a living soul with a heart. She feels love and pain,” the Manhattan Civil Court suit says.
Zakharova bought Umka at the Raising Rover shop last February for $1,600. The Russian native said she’d been looking to buy a male, but “I saw [Umka] and she picked me. It was love at first sight.”
Unbeknownst to Zakharova, however, the store had a history of selling puppy-mill dogs, according the Humane Society of the United States.
After initially being found healthy by a veterinarian recommended by the pet store, within months Umka was limping and crying in pain.
In July, she was diagnosed with a bum knee, and the vet said she needed surgery. She also had problems with her other three knees and her hips, the suit says.
The suit claims Ranging Rover failed to give Zakharova information about the breeder of the puppy, or that the dog likely came from a puppy mill.
The action seeks money for Umka’s medical costs, as well as an unspecified amount for her pain and suffering.
Filed by noted animal-rights lawyer Susan Chana Lask, the suit “requests humanity for Umka in that she be considered a living soul that feels pain, and that her pain and suffering is recognized by this state and considered as damages to her.”
Raising Rover owner Ben Logan said he bought the store in July and doesn’t have the dog’s records. He said he has tried calling Zakharova, but hasn’t heard back from her.