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Lawyers' senior rescue dog center of legal battle in New York coop eviction

Marcus is 12-years-old and in ailing health - why would a coop board want to kick out a dog and his family?
Marcus is 12-years-old and in ailing health - why would a coop board want to kick out a dog and his family?
Courtesy Phillips family via New York Daily News

New York attorneys Steven Phillips and his wife Diane Paolicelli Phillips regard their rescued collie mixed breed dog, Marcus as part of the family, but have been met with animosity and an eviction notice terminating the couple’s proprietary lease in their luxury co-op as of August 15, according to the New York Post.

The couple are now suing their coop board at 870 UN Plaza for forcing them to choose between getting rid of their 12-year-old arthritic dog with failing kidneys or moving out of their multimillion dollar duplex apartment.

The hostility against the gentle dog began in June 2012, when Marcus nipped at another tenant's finger; the tenant allegedly admitted to putting his finger in front of Marcus' face as his (the other tenant) walked his own dog, a Sharpei. A year later, when a neighbor complained Marcus lunged at him, new rules for the senior pooch were dictated. The dog's owners defended Marcus stating he just barked at the other tenant.

In a decision by the coop board, the owners were ordered to restrain their dog and demanded the dog be muzzled whenever he left the apartment. For a while, the couple complied, but felt the muzzle was "inhumane and unnecessary" according to records and wrote back to the coop board stating:

“Marcus is a beloved member of our family. We rescued him when he was a puppy, and he is not going to suffer at your or anybody else’s hands."

And if that wasn't contentious enough, the coop board threatened to call the Department of Health to have Marcus declared a vicious dog and have him euthanized.

The dog's owners hired a dog behaviorist to evaluate their dog who stated the dog showed no aggressive tendencies and was gentle and well-behaved.

“There are other dogs in the building whose behavior is far more vicious and threatening than Marcus."

The couple believe the coop is against big dogs. Marcus weighs 75 pounds and is described by his owners as a gentle companion.

Marcus is so fortunate his human family is able to afford his legal representation; many thanks to a couple who take their dog's guardian responsibilities seriously.

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