Shapiro Renfroe, Forest Hills, NY, for appellant.
Elizabeth Brandler, New York, NY, for nonparty-respondent.
REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., COLLEEN D. DUFFY, FRANCESCA E.
CONNOLLY, ANGELA G. IANNACCI, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
by the defendant from (1) an order of the Supreme Court,
Queens County (Peter F. Vallone, Jr., J.), dated December 20,
2017, and (2) an order of the same court dated January 18,
2018. The order dated December 20, 2017, after a hearing, in
effect, granted the petition of the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pursuant to Agriculture and
Markets Law § 373(6) to compel the defendant to post a
security in an amount sufficient to secure payment for all
reasonable expenses incurred in caring for the
defendant's seized animals, and directed that unless the
defendant posted a security bond in the sum of $212, 106.85
within five business days of the date of the order, the
seized animals would be immediately forfeited to the American
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The order
dated January 18, 2018, insofar as appealed from, denied that
branch of the defendant's motion which was to vacate the
order dated December 20, 2017.
that the appeals are dismissed as academic, without costs or
defendant was charged, inter alia, with multiple counts of
animal fighting in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law
§ 351. On or about June 21, 2017, the police seized 19
pit bulls from the defendant, and the dogs were placed in the
care of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals (hereinafter the ASPCA). Two of the dogs were
euthanized, and several of the dogs gave birth to litters of
puppies, bringing the total number of dogs to 53. Thereafter,
the ASPCA filed a petition pursuant to Agriculture and
Markets Law § 373(6) with the Supreme Court, seeking to
compel the defendant to post a security bond to secure
payment of the expenses incurred by the ASPCA in caring for
the dogs during the pendency of the criminal proceeding.
order dated December 20, 2017 (hereinafter the December 2017
order), following a hearing, the Supreme Court, in effect,
granted the petition and directed the defendant to post a
security bond in the sum of $212, 106.85. The court further
directed that if the defendant failed to post the entire
security within five business days of the date of the order,
the dogs would be immediately forfeited to the ASPCA. The
defendant did not post the security bond and moved, inter
alia, to vacate the December 2017 order. The dogs were then
forfeited to the ASPCA. In an order dated January 18, 2018,
the court, among other things, denied that branch of the
defendant's motion which was to vacate the December 2017
order. Thereafter, certain of the dogs had to be euthanized,
and the ASPCA placed the remaining dogs in adoptive homes.
The defendant appeals from both orders.
power of a court to declare the law only arises out of, and
is limited to, determining the rights of persons which are
actually controverted in a particular case pending before the
tribunal (see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50
N.Y.2d 707, 713). "This principle, which forbids courts
to pass on academic, hypothetical, moot, or otherwise
abstract questions, is founded both in constitutional
separation-of-powers doctrine, and in methodological
strictures which inhere in the decisional process of a
common-law judiciary" (id. at 713-714).
Accordingly, "an appeal will be considered moot unless
the rights of the parties will be directly affected by the
determination of the appeal" (id. at 714;
see Matter of Denise V.E.J. [Latonia J.], 163 A.D.3d
the ASPCA no longer has custody or possession of the dogs at
issue. Since the defendant cannot recover the dogs from the
ASPCA, the rights of the parties will not be directly
affected by the determination of the appeals (see Asher v
Gigante, 21 A.D.3d 916, 917; People v Stoltz,
10 Misc.3d 139');">10 Misc.3d 139 [A], 2006 NY Slip Op 50018[U] [App Term, 2d
Dept, 9th & 10th Jud Dists]). The matter does not warrant
invoking an exception to the mootness doctrine, and thus, the
appeals must be ...