On Tuesday, December 23, 2003 The New York State Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, published its 6-0 decision in the case of Jon Hammer vs. The American Kennel Club, finding in favor of the AKC and the American Brittany Club. Mr. Hammer filed suit against AKC and the American Brittany Club alleging that the official Brittany standard calling for dogs to be tailless or tail to be docked to approximately four inches was discriminatory against dogs with long tails, and a violation of New York animal cruelty laws.
Victoria A. Graffeo, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, wrote the court's decision indicating that the order of The Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court should be affirmed.
In finding in favor of the AKC, the court determined the plaintiff had no private cause of action to enforce the criminal statute. The court noted in its decision that the plaintiff was not asking law enforcement officials to charge defendants with violations of the law subject to criminal penalties. Indeed, plaintiff has not alleged that these organizations are cruelly or unjustifiably injuring or maiming any dogs and admittedly does not intend to conform his dog's tail length to the breed standard. Therefore, neither plaintiff nor defendants have engaged in any conduct that violates the law as plaintiff interprets it.