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Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order, Allowing Hav-A-Home Kennel to Reopen for Business and Resume Servicing Pet Owners

A temporary restraining order was issued on May 21 against a local municipality which prohibited the municipality from enforcing a condemnation order that it issued against a family-run kennel that has been in the business for nearly a century. Two of the firm's Partners, Jon A. Ward and Andrew Roth, and Joseph R. Bjarnson, an Associate with the firm, are currently representing the kennel's owner and her family.

On April 13, the village ordered Hav-a-Home Kennels, its owner/operator, Patricia Kleber, and her two sisters who also operate the facility with her, to vacate the premises after condemning the building for what the municipality deemed to be an "unsafe" structure. As a result of the condemnation order, the kennel was forced to immediately shut down and close. Ms. Kleber and her two sisters, all of whom are in their seventies, rely on the income from the kennel to support themselves. Thus, the impact of the condemnation order was personally devastating for them.

The municipality maintained that an exterior wall of the structure was unsafe because it was leaning slightly. Ms. Kleber retained a professional engineer, who inspected the kennel and disputed the basis for the condemnation. He found that the slightly leaning wall was not an uncommon feature in a building of this type and age, which was constructed in the 1920s or earlier. He also found that the building was not in any imminent danger of collapse or otherwise unsafe. He recommended a simple repair to the wall. To alleviate any concerns the municipality might have regarding the safety of the structure, Ms. Kleber also hired a contractor who installed a temporary shoring wall to further support the structure, and will be repairing the exterior wall in a few weeks.

On May 4, Mr. Ward wrote a letter to the municipality requesting that the condemnation order be lifted immediately. After nearly two weeks without a response from local officials, Mr. Ward filed a civil rights lawsuit against the municipality on May 21, claiming, among other things, that the municipality abused its governmental power and violated Ms. Kleber’s constitutional rights to occupy and use the building because the municipality did not provide her with any due process (notice and opportunity to be heard) either before or after it condemned the structure. Further, the municipality failed to follow its own procedures outlined in its local laws with respect to addressing buildings it deemed unsafe.

After hearing arguments on May 20, Justice Antonio I. Brandveen of the New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, granted a temporary restraining order against the municipality, finding that the condemnation order was causing Ms. Kleber and her sisters to suffer immediate and irreparable harm. The temporary restraining order prevents the municipality from enforcing the condemnation order, which will allow Hav-a-Home to reopen and continue its operations while the court considers whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the municipality.

"We are pleased to see the kennel open again after it was abruptly closed by local officials," Mr. Ward said. "This is a third-generation, family-owned dog kennel whose owner has an excellent reputation for the care the kennel has provided to thousands of local families and their pets for decades. Ms. Kleber is continuing to make improvements to the facility, and we look forward to fully vindicating her rights in court."

This was reported by News 4 New York.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NEWS 4 NEW YORK SEGMENT.

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