Legal Resources

As a New York City pet owner, it's important to know about your legal rights and responsibilities, and where to turn when you need legal help.

Dog at Adoptapalooza event. Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy
Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy

Providing For Your Pets In The Event of Your Death or Hospitalization by The Association of the Bar of the City of New York

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals provides free tenant advocacy for people with pet-related landlord issues. If your landlord is telling you to remove your pet, call (347) 938-7692 or email Matt at

Companion Animals and Eviction
NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare

Companion Animals in NYC Apartments – 2009 Edition by The Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC):
Surrender Prevention Program
Community Pets Program

New York City Civil Court: Commercial Landlord and Tenant Cases
For eviction and other housing court issues, there are pro bono centers in the civil courts in each borough. Check the website for locations, directions, and phone numbers

A Guide to the Use of Service Animals in New York State
by The Association of the Bar of the City of New York and New York State Bar Association

Visit our Animal Cruelty, Abuse & Neglect page for information on identifying and reporting animal cruelty.

Report to Police
If you observe animals being offered for adoption on the street and they appear to show signs of neglect or the adoption agent appears not to be a credible rescue organization, you can report the situation to the local police precinct. It’s recommended that you physically visit the local precinct. Ask to speak with the ASPCA Liaison. If you are told they do not have one, ask for the Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO). You can mention that the person is operating as a pet dealer without a license, and soliciting donations without a 501(c)(3), in addition to reporting any neglect or abuse you might have observed, such as the absence of adequate shelter from the weather, clean water, signs of illness or malnutrition, etc.

Report to State Business Authorities
All legitimate rescues in New York State must be registered with New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. If you observe a rescue group that appears to be illegally conducting pet adoptions or soliciting donations, you can file a complaint with that department. Additionally, all legitimate 501(c)(3) rescue charities operating in New York State must register with the Charities Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. In the case of suspicious adoptions or donation solicitations, you can also file a complaint with that bureau.