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Hayley Greenberg

Jerry Merola


Hello. I am a life long animal activist. I started rescuing at the age of ten! Right now I have six spoiled cats. I have been a vegan about 30 years and a vegetarian about 38 years.

Since I became an attorney about 25 years ago, I have handled MANY animal related cases. These include: animal bites, vicious dog hearings, ownership/custody/visitation disputes, The Pet Law of NYC, landlord/tenant issures related to pets, and many more.

I am in court on a regular basis and know how to help you and guide you with what is best for your case. And I am fully familiar with the courts so I know how they operate and the individual rules associated with them.

With my many years of experience I have seen all kinds of problems like yours and I can usually come up with a way to solve them. Also, I am a listed attorney on the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Pets.

One of the most important ways to win your case is to know the law. I am a continuing legal education teacher and I teach other lawyers about animal law.

It is very important that you choose an experienced and knowledgable lawyer like myself to help you through one of the most stressful and painful times in your life. Call me today and we can start figuring out the best strategy for your case. To save some time, try to have some of your documents and/or dates ready before you call. Hayley Greenberg


Animal law can impact us in a number of ways. Here are some of the types of problems/issues that Greenberg & Merola can help you with:

  • Animal Custody/Visitation/Ownership disptues
  • Vicious Dog Hearings
  • Adoption/foster disputes and/or contracts
  • Orders of Protection
  • Animal ordinance/nuisance laws
  • Veterinary and other malpractice
  • Dog bite defense cases
  • Divorce and its effect on pets
  • Wills/Estate Planning/Pet Trusts
  • The New York City Pet Law (landlord/tenant)


When a dispute arises over these issues the courts are going to look at the specific facts of the case.

For example, it has been held that licensing of a pet is evidence of ownership, but not necessarily determinative. Courts focus on who had control and dominion of the pet. Of course, if the pet was not licensed, this fact is not relevant.

Other facts will include who adopted the pet, whose name is on the papers, what do friends/witnesses say about who owned the pet, who primarily took care of the pet, who paid for the pet, who bought its food, who handled its veterinary visits, was it a gift, what is your proof, etc.

In one divorce case that involved the gift of a dog by a husband to the wife, who then refused to let her keep the dog during the divorce, the court ordered him to return the dog to the wife.


New York City's pet law, (NYC Administative Code 27-2009.1), has an exception that allows tenants to keep pets even though their lease might prohobit it.

Generally Landlords get to decide if you can keep a pet. THE NYC Pet Law creates an exception. You can keep your pet if you:

  • openly keep your pet in your apartment for three months;
  • your landlords knows or should have known about your pet; and
  • your landlord does not take proper legal action

These exceptions have been interepreted many times by the courts so you could contact an attorney for further clarification.

The NYC Pet Law does not apply everywhere and there are exceptions to its exceptions. For example, if your pet is a nuisance you cannot keep it. You should speak with an attorney about all the intricacies of the law.

A great resource for you to review is put out by MFY Legal Services. You can read it before you call us. PET-MANUAL


MONEY JUDGMENT - We have represented several animal organizations where a person fostered/adopted an animal but then broke the agreement. Sometimes they refused to return the animal, other times they gave it to someone else, and sometimes they just dumped it. In these cases we have successfully obtained money judgments, settlements, and information on where the animal was placed so the organization could check that it was a safe place for the animal.

RETURN OF PET - I have handled MANY of these family fights where sometimes the animal is the only issue and sometimes the dispute arises in another context such as a divorce. In these cases, I have successfully gotten the animal back to its rightful owner. In some cases the parties have exchanged money for the return of the pet.

VICIOUS DOG HEARINGS - In these cases, the Government wants to destroy your dog often because of a bite. You should never just give up your animal willingly to them. At these hearings I have successfully won and prevented the animal from being killed. Usually a long agreement is made about how the dog will be kept by you so that it cannot harm anyone again.

ANIMAL BITE DEFENSE - If you have insurance that covers your case, your insurance company will defend you, but many times you will not have coverage. In those cases, I have often managed to get the case against you dismissed, and other times have been able to work out a low payment settlement.

Contact us for new clients only. Existing clients please call.

Call today to see if your plan is one of them

GREENBERG & MEROLA, Attorneys at Law
521 5th Avenue, Suite 1700, New York, NY
2280 Grand Avenue, Suite 2280, Baldwin, NY
Conference Offices: Nassau, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Bronx, Suffolk

521 5th Ave., Ste. 1700, New York NY

2280 Grand Ave., Ste. 202, Baldwin NY

26 Court St., Bklyn NY

1129 Northern Blvd., Manhasset NY

214-11 Northern Blvd., Bayside NY

145-11 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica NY

547 N. Ave., New Rochelle NY

749 E. 135th St., Bronx NY

150 Motor Pkwy., Hauppauge NY

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising. This website provides general information. Due to complexities and constant changes in the law, exceptions to general principles of law, and variations of state laws, seek professional legal advice before acting on any matter!

Some of the information on this website only pertains to certain states. Accordingly seek professional legal advice before acting on any matter.