We should have seen this one coming. In our city of 8 million animal lovers and an unknowable number of animals, it was inevitable. And now it has come to pass. After a 63-pound pit bull mix mauled an 8-pound Havanese mix in front of a Chelsea condominium, the condo board has filed a lawsuit to evict the pit bill – which has brought a charge from the dog owner’s lawyer that the board is guilty of “dog racism.”
Pit bull Luna “viciously attacked and mauled” Kinje, a Havanese mix that looks like a tiny shih tzu, on May 31 in front of the Chelsea Modern condominium, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Manhattan Supreme Court. Both dogs live in the building with their owners. Kinje, who volunteers with the Good Dog Foundation, a charity that brings pet therapy to area kids' hospitals, "suffered multiple bite wounds around her head and between her eyes," claims an affidavit filed with the lawsuit, the New York Daily News reports.
The condo board's lawsuit seeks to kick Luna out of the building "in order to protect the safety and well-being of building residents, children, passersby and other dogs," the suit says. Luna’s owner is Gregory Carteron, whose wife, Michelle Kelban-Carteron, owns their apartment and is named in the lawsuit. The Carterons' lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey, claims Kinje's injuries were minor, requiring a "band-aid," and says his clients paid the pup's vet bills. Bailey also claims Luna is a therapy dog who has helped Gregory Carteron since he had a serious bike accident. Evicting a therapy pet is a delicate business.
Herbert Cohen, a lawyer for the building, countered during an emergency hearing that Carteron did not file a doctor's note about Luna's role as a service dog until days before the condo board filed its lawsuit.
Bailey insisted Luna's troubles stem from one condo board member who's a "racist against pit bulls," adding, “It's dog racism. What is it – like you don't like someone because of the (color of the dog's) skin?"
While the lawsuit proceeds, the Carterons agreed to keep Luna muzzled when leaving their apartment, according to Leitman Bailey.
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