FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013

NYSCEF DOC. NO. 1

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 2

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK -------------------------------------------------------------x MELISSA CUSICK, Plaintiff, - against GLENCADIA CORPORATION (dba Glencadia Dog Camp), WILLIAM PFLAUM and AENNE GRANNIS Defendants. ------------------------------------------------------------x

Index No.

VERIFIED COMPLAINT

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

Plaintiff Melissa Cusick (“Ms. Cusick” or “Plaintiff”), by her attorneys Hofheimer Gartlir & Gross, LLP, complaining of defendants Glencadia Corporation (dba Glencadia Dog Camp) (“Glencadia”), William Pflaum (“Mr. Pflaum”) and Aenne Grannis (“Ms. Grannis”) (collectively “Defendants”) alleges: WILLIAM PFLAUM AND AENNE GRANNIS HAVE ENGAGED IN THE WANTON NEGLECT OF HELPLESS DOGS AT THE GLENCADIA DOG CAMP. 1. Pet owners love their dogs -- they consider them to be integral members of their

family. To many, their dog is akin to their own child. This is a heartbreaking case of gross negligence, recklessness and severe neglect of helpless dogs resulting in catastrophic and near fatal injuries to a cherished companion dog owned by Melissa Cusick and known lovingly as “Matilda.” Until recently, Matilda, a 40 lb mixed breed dog, was a fixture in Central Park, where she was frequently seen gleefully socializing with other dogs and providing loving companionship to Ms. Cusick. Today, Matilda is severely disfigured and crippled -- having lost both of her ears and most of the skin on her head due to injuries she suffered at the Glencadia Dog Camp.

{40166/001/01312491:1-ZBG}

2.

The Glencadia Dog Camp, supervised by its owners William Pflaum and Aenne

Grannis, offers long-term boarding for dogs at a facility located in Columbia County, New York. Many of Glencadia’s clients are dog owners from New York City who send their dogs to Glencadia to “play and enjoy nature” while their owners are traveling. Based on Defendants’ assurances that their pets will be well taken care of, pet-owners trust their precious companion dogs to Glencadia Dog Camp and expect that their dogs will be treated with the utmost care and affection. Tragically that has often not been the case. Over the past several years, the Glencadia Dog Camp has repeatedly been the scene of significant injury (and in at least two instances, death) to dogs under the trust, care, supervision and control of William Pflaum and Aenne Grannis. This pattern of animal neglect and abuse must end and Glencadia’s owners must be held responsible for their actions. As Immanuel Kant so aptly stated: “[h]e who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” 3. In addition to seeking compensation for the staggering veterinary bills Plaintiff

has struggled to pay as a result of Defendants’ mistreatment and neglect of Matilda; Plaintiff also seeks to ensure that no other pet owner has to suffer the heartbreak of having their pet severely injured or killed at the Glencadia Dog Camp. To that end, Plaintiff asks the Court to empower the ASPCA to investigate the conditions at Glencadia and to order the local authorities in Columbia County New York to investigate Defendants for animal cruelty. MATILDA’S STORY 4. On February 4, 2013, Plaintiff Melissa Cusick sent her cherished companion dog,

Matilda, to the Glencadia Dog Camp in the town of Stuyvesant, New York. When Ms. Cusick came to pick up Matilda on February 11, 2013, she found her beloved dog mauled, torn to pieces

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and barely clinging to life. During her stay at the Glencadia Dog Camp, Matilda had been violently and repeatedly attacked by one or more dogs over the course of many hours. Her wounds were gruesome. Large areas of Matilda’s head, neck and ears were badly bitten, torn, chewed and infected. Veterinarians had to remove both of Matilda’s ears and most of the skin on her head and neck to save her life. Her veterinarian says skin grafts may be necessary. Photographs of Matilda’s wounds and condition after her first operation, annexed to this Complaint as Exhibit A, demonstrate the horrible extent of her injuries. 5. After Matilda was mauled at the Glencadia Dog Camp, William Pflaum, one of

the owners of Glencadia and a person responsible for supervising the dogs boarded at Glencadia, repeatedly promised Ms. Cusick that he would pay for Matilda’s veterinarian bills and associated expenses. A copy of William Pflaum’s note to Ms. Cusick, in which he promises to pay for Matilda’s veterinarian bills, is annexed to this Complaint as Exhibit B. He has never followed through on that promise, and has instead left Ms. Cusick to pay for those substantial costs herself. 6. Defendants were grossly negligent in their supervision of Matilda and

thoughtlessly left her to be repeatedly mauled by other dog(s) in an enclosed space -- resulting in severe injuries, trauma and nearly causing Matilda’s death. Although Mr. Pflaum has admitted responsibility for Matilda’s injuries, he has failed to pay one cent towards the significant veterinary expenses resulting from his gross negligence. That said, Mr. Pflaum can never truly compensate Plaintiff for the devastating distress she experienced when she came home to find her beloved dog so badly injured. Nor can Mr. Pflaum alleviate the intense pain and suffering Matilda experienced from this traumatic event.

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7.

Matilda’s story is not an isolated incident. Plaintiff’s preliminary investigation of

the Glencadia Dog Camp has revealed that several other dogs have been mauled, injured, neglected and even killed while boarded there. Simply put, the pattern of incompetence and neglect at the Glencadia Dog Camp is shocking. 8. Indeed, upon information and belief, in order to hide the deplorable treatment of

dogs under his care, William Pflaum has actively sought to conceal Matilda’s attack from being publicized. Initially, Mr. Pflaum accepted responsibility for Matilda’s injuries and promised he would pay for Matilda’s veterinary bills and related expenses. However, Mr. Pflaum has now had a change of heart. He has recently sent several emails to Ms. Cusick in which he has suggested that he would pay for Matilda’s veterinarian bills only if Ms. Cusick agreed to remove her Yelp.com1 review of the Glencadia Dog Camp from the internet. A copy of William Pflaum’s February 26, 2013 email to Ms. Cusick is annexed to this Complaint as Exhibit C. Ironically, Mr. Pflaum purports to be a zealous advocate for government transparency and corporate responsibility.2 Yet, William Pflaum apparently has no qualms about attempting to use “hush money” to cover up incidents at the Glencadia Dog Camp in order to protect his own business interests. 9. Plaintiff has been sickened by her experience with Glencadia and William

Pflaum. Plaintiff therefore respectfully asks that this Court empower the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“ASPCA”) to conduct a thorough investigation of the Glencadia Dog Camp and order local enforcement to commence an investigation of animal cruelty at Glencadia, so that (1) its abuses are exposed to the public, (2) the responsible parties
1 2

Yelp.com is a business rating and review site. William Pflaum is no stranger to the legal system and has himself been the plaintiff in numerous lawsuits against the town of Stuyvesant and local Stuyvesant officials (several of which were summarily dismissed). 4

are appropriately dealt with, and (3) no dog suffers the way Matilda (and other dogs) did at Glencadia Dog Camp ever again. THE PARTIES 10. Plaintiff Melissa Cusick (“Ms. Cusick” or “Plaintiff”) is an individual who resides

in New York, New York in the borough of Manhattan. Matilda is a 40 lb mixed breed dog (albeit now slightly less weight as she lost both her ears as a result of the attack at Glencadia) owned by Ms. Cusick. Matilda is Ms. Cusick’s companion dog. 11. Defendant Glencadia Corporation (“Glencadia”) is a corporation organized under

the laws of the State of New York. Upon information and belief, Glencadia is owned by Defendants William Pflaum and Aenne Grannis. Glencadia, William Pflaum and Aenne Grannis operate the Glencadia Dog Camp located at 3 Rybka Road, Box 40, Stuyvesant, New York. Glencadia regularly solicits and actively conducts business in New York, New York. 12. Defendant William Pflaum (“Mr. Pflaum”) is a resident of New York State and is

the Chairman and CEO of Glencadia Corporation. Mr. Pflaum is a shareholder of Glencadia. Upon information and belief, Mr. Pflaum and his wife Aenne Grannis supervise and care for the dogs boarded at Glencadia. Since 2011, William Pflaum, quite the litigious individual, has commenced at least five civil actions, Pflaum v. Stuyvesant, Pflaum v. Narzynski, Pflaum v. Naegeli, Pflaum v. Knott, and Pflaum v. the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Stuyvesant. Collectively, these civil actions concern Mr. Pflaum’s allegations that the town of Stuyvestant and its officials are engaged in fraud and embezzlement, running businesses forbidden by town ordinances, and improperly hiding information from public view, among other allegations. Several of these cases have been dismissed. Upon information and belief, Mr. Pflaum’s numerous lawsuits have severely strained the Town of Stuyvesant’s budget.

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13.

Defendant Aenne Grannis (“Ms. Grannis”) is a resident of New York State and is

the wife of William Pflaum. Upon information and belief, Aenne Grannis is a shareholder in Glencadia. Upon information and belief, Ms. Grannis contributes to the supervision of the dogs boarded at the Glencadia Dog Camp and is also responsible for the care and well-being of the dogs boarded there. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 14. This Court has jurisdiction over Defendants under CPLR § 301. Glencadia has

offices in the State of New York and conducts substantial business in the State of New York. All or substantially all of the acts or omissions by defendants Glencadia, Mr. Pflaum and Ms. Grannis alleged in this lawsuit occurred in the State of New York. The harm alleged in this lawsuit was suffered in the State of New York. 15. Plaintiff designates New York County as the place of trial pursuant to CPLR §§

503 and 509. Plaintiff resides in New York County and Defendants solicit, advertise and conduct substantial business in New York County. Among other business activities, Defendants regularly do business in New York, New York by meeting with dog owners and transporting dogs to and from New York, New York. Mr. Pflaum even recently showed up at Plaintiff’s residence in an attempt to purportedly discuss this horrible incident. Matilda lives in New York, New York with Ms. Cusick and is receiving regular veterinary care from the Westside Veterinary Center located in New York, New York. Matilda’s medical records are kept in New York County.

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STATEMENT OF FACTS I. Matilda’s experience with Glencadia. 16. On January 26, 2013, Melissa Cusick made a reservation to board her companion

dog Matilda at Glencadia Dog Camp from February 4, 2013 until February 11, 2013. 17. On February 4, 2013, Matilda was picked-up at her residence in New York, New

York by a Glencadia employee in a van and driven to the Glencadia Dog Camp in Stuyvesant, New York. 18. 19. On February 5, 2013, Ms. Cusick traveled to California for a business trip. While Ms. Cusick was in California, she sent several messages to Mr. Pflaum to

check on Matilda. 20. 21. Initially these messages went unanswered. On February 8, 2013, Mr. Pflaum responded to Ms. Cusick’s messages and said

that Matilda was doing “fantastic.” 22. On or about the evening of February 10, 2013, according to an account from Mr.

Pflaum, Matilda was boarded with at least one other dog, a much larger dog named “Henry,” in a confined pen at the Glencadia Dog Camp. 23. Upon information and belief, commencing at or about 7:00 PM on February 10,

2013, Matilda was repeatedly mauled and attacked by Henry and/or other dogs. 24. Henry and/or other dogs severely wounded Matilda during this attack.

Photographs of Matilda’s injuries and condition after her first operation are annexed hereto as Exhibit A.

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25.

Upon information and belief, Matilda loudly barked and yelped to draw attention

to the fact that she was being attacked. As anyone who has ever witnessed a dog attack or fight can readily attest -- “it is a noisy chaotic affair.” 26. At no point during the time that Matilda was being attacked by Henry and/or other

dogs did Mr. Pflaum, Ms. Grannis or any other Glencadia employee even bother to check on Matilda. 27. Upon information and belief, Defendants carelessly or intentionally ignored

Matilda’s distressed barks and yelps during the attack or were grossly negligent in leaving the dogs unattended for a prolonged period of time. 28. Upon information and belief, Defendants were grossly negligent in failing to

adequately screen “Henry” (as well as any other dogs participating in the attack) for aggression. Common sense dictates that you board an aggressive dog alone -- thereby eliminating the possibility of an attack. 29. Upon information and belief, Matilda had been left unattended for at least twelve

hours, from approximately 7:00 PM on February 10, 2013 until 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013. During that time period, Matilda was in severe pain and/or shock from her wounds. 30. Upon information and belief, Matilda lay in agony for many hours and repeatedly

barked for help from approximately 7:00 PM on February 10, 2013 (the approximate time of the attack) until 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013. 31. Upon information and belief, Defendants carelessly or intentionally ignored

Matilda’s distressed barks and yelps between approximately 7:00 PM on February 10, 2013 and 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013. 32. Defendants did nothing to help Matilda during that time period.

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33.

Sometime around 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013, Matilda was found in her pen

by Mr. Pflaum, Ms. Grannis and/or another Glencadia employee. Upon information and belief, at this time Matilda was unable to stand, bleeding from her head, ears, neck and legs and had bruises and deep puncturing bites all over her body. Upon information and belief, Matilda was in a state of shock from the attack and was barely alive when she was found that morning. 34. At 8:40 AM on February 11, 2013, William Pflaum called Melissa Cusick and left

her a voicemail. Mr. Pflaum intentionally and recklessly withheld the truth of what had happened to Matilda in order to mislead Ms. Cusick. In his voicemail, Mr. Pflaum stated that Matilda had been bit on the ear this morning, that the bite was not too bad, and that to be on the safe side, Matilda would be taken to the vet to see if “a stitch” might be necessary or not. Mr. Pflaum assured Ms. Cusick that “I’m sure she is fine.” 35. At the time Pflaum left this voicemail, he knew it was false and misleading

because Matilda was severely injured and in critical condition when she was found on the morning of February 11, 2013. 36. At 9:30 AM on February 11, 2013, a female Glencadia employee or Ms. Grannis

took Matilda to the Chathams Small Animal Hospital (“Chathams”). According to the receptionists at Chathams, Matilda arrived at Chathams slung over said woman’s shoulder, covered in fluid and dirt, unresponsive and smelling horrible. 37. At 10:40 AM on February 11, 2013, Ms. Cusick received Mr. Pflaum’s voicemail

message and called him back before taking off in a plane from California to New York. Mr. Pflaum received that call and told Ms. Cusick that Matilda had been bitten by a dog named Henry and that she needed to be sedated and stitched. William Pflaum told Ms. Cusick that he

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would pay Matilda’s veterinarian bills and that he was sorry. Upon Ms. Cusick’s demand, Mr. Pflaum gave Ms. Cusick the name and number of Dr. Bilinski, a veterinarian at Chathams. 38. Immediately after speaking with Mr. Pflaum, Ms. Cusick called Dr. Bilinski and

was horrified to find out that Matilda’s ears had been bitten down to the cartilage and that she was in shock and dehydrated. Dr. Bilinski told Ms. Cusick that he did not think Matilda would survive if he sedated her now but that he would give her fluids and antibiotics to stabilize her. Ms. Cusick relied on Mr. Pflaum’s representations that he would pay all of Matilda’s veterinarian bills and therefore told Dr. Bilinski to do everything possible to save Matilda. 39. At 4:36 PM on February 11, 2013, while flying from California to New York, Ms.

Cusick sent William Pflaum an email asking for an update on Matilda. 40. At 6:00 PM on February 11, 2013, Ms. Cusick’s flight from California to New

York landed at John F. Kennedy airport. Immediately after landing, Ms. Cusick called Dr. Bilinsky again for an update. Dr. Bilinsky told Ms. Cusick that Matilda’s situation was very serious but that he was giving her the best possible care. 41. At 6:14 PM on February 11, 2013, Mr. Pflaum responded to Ms. Cusick’s 4:36

email and said that Matilda was doing “very well and should be fine tomorrow.” Mr. Pflaum assured Ms. Cusick that he would pay for her to stay in a hotel and pay for her train fare, and pick her up from the station, if she wanted to come to pick up Matilda herself. Mr. Pflaum knew his statement to Ms. Cusick was false and he intentionally attempted to mislead Ms. Cusick with regard to the seriousness of Matilda’s condition. 42. At 6:17 PM on February 11, 2013, Mr. Pflaum emailed Ms. Cusick again and told

her that she did not need to drive upstate; Matilda would be fine and he would be glad to drive her back to New York City tomorrow.

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43.

At 7:21 PM on February 11, 2013, Ms. Cusick told Mr. Pflaum that she would

come to pick up Matilda herself and that she had her own car and did not need a ride. 44. Even though she had just gotten off a long flight from California and was

exhausted, at 8:15 PM on February 11, 2013, Ms. Cusick left her New York City home to drive to a hotel near Chathams. She arrived at around 11:00 PM and stayed at a Comfort Inn that night. Ms. Cusick incurred an expense of $197.58 staying at that Comfort Inn for two nights in connection with her stay in the area attending to Matilda. A copy of Ms. Cusick’s receipt for her stay at the Comfort Inn is annexed hereto as Exhibit D. 45. The next morning, at 8:10 AM on February 12, 2013, Ms. Cusick went to

Chathams to see Matilda. She was devastated by Matilda’s appearance. Matilda’s face was so swollen it was almost unrecognizable. Her ears and head were horribly wounded. Matilda was wounded all over her body, such that Ms. Cusick could not find a place to pet Matilda that did not have open wounds. There were numerous deep puncture wounds on Matilda’s body. 46. At 8:15 AM on February 12, 2013, Ms. Cusick spoke with the receptionists at

Chathams. They told her that this was far from the first instance of attacks at Glencadia, that several other dogs had come to Chathams after being bitten at the Glencadia Dog Camp. 47. At 8:30 AM, Ms. Cusick spoke to Dr. Bilinski. Dr. Bilinski explained that given

the state of Matilda’s wounds when she arrived at Chathams, he believed that she had been attacked on or around 7:00 PM on February 10, 2013. He also stated that Matilda’s ears were filled with blood when she arrived and that it looked as though she had been attacked by a pack of dogs. Dr. Bilinski also stated that Matilda’s health was improving and that he would operate on her wounds if her health continued to improve.

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48.

At 8:32 AM on February 12, 2013, William Pflaum left Ms. Cusick a voicemail in

which he stated “I just want to make sure I get uh straightened out any kind of payment that I have to do.” 49. At 3:32 PM on February 12, 2013, William Pflaum emailed Ms. Cusick and told

her that he would be happy to pay for all her expenses. He offered to send Ms. Cusick a check for future expenses and for travel costs. 50. At 4:00 PM on February 12, 2013, Ms. Cusick visited Matilda again. Dr. Bilinski

said he would operate on Matilda’s wounds tomorrow. 51. At 7:55 AM on February 13, 2013, Ms. Cusick called Dr. Bilinski, who told her

he was going to operate on Matilda that afternoon. 52. 53. At or around 1:00 PM on February 13, 2013, Dr. Bilinski operated on Matilda. At 2:00 PM on February 13, 2013, Dr. Bilinski called Ms. Cusick to tell her the

results of Matilda’s surgery. According to Dr. Bilinski, the surgery had been disastrous because he had to remove a large area of necrotic, infected skin from Matilda’s head and neck. 54. At 4:00 PM on February 13, 2013, Ms. Cusick met with Dr. Bilinski to discuss

Matilda’s operation and future care. Dr. Bilinski said that based upon Matilda’s wound patterns, it appeared that other dogs had picked her up with their teeth and thrown her around. Dr. Bilinski released Matilda to Ms. Cusick’s care with the understanding that Matilda would receive further care from Dr. Karen Cantor (“Dr. Cantor”) of the Westside Veterinary Center (“Westside”) in New York City. 55. At 5:00 PM on February 13, 2013, Melissa drove Matilda back to New York City

and arrived later that evening.

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56.

On February 14, 2013, Ms. Cusick took Matilda to Dr. Cantor at Westside. Dr.

Cantor was shocked by Matilda’s condition and asked that she be left at Westside overnight to be treated by a veterinary surgeon named Dr. Jane Kosovsky (“Dr. Kosovsky”). Dr. Cantor also suggested that Ms. Cusick might want to consider putting Matilda down given the severity of her injuries and the significant cost of the veterinary care it would take to save Matilda. In reliance upon William Pflaum’s repeated assurances that he would pay for all of Matilda’s veterinary bills, Ms. Cusick decided against putting Matilda down and instructed the veterinarians at Westside to do what was necessary to save Matilda. 57. On February 14, 2013, Dr. Kosovsky told Melissa that they would have to

perform additional surgery to remove more necrotic tissue from Matilda’s head and would probably have to remove her ears in order for her to survive. Matilda would rest for the next few days pending surgery. 58. Beginning in or around 2:45 PM on February 14, 2013, Ms. Cusick exchanged a

serious of text messages with a Glencadia employee known only as Naomi or Amy (“Naomi”). As part of this exchange, Naomi accepted responsibility on behalf of Glencadia and Mr. Pflaum, writing that everyone at Glencadia felt horrible about what happened to Matilda and that “Will wants to pay all of your expense for this” and to “please let us/Will know the cost, plus pain and suffering.” Later in the exchange, Naomi wrote “Will will send you a check tomorrow. If it is not enough please let us know.” 59. On February 15, 2013 at 2:02 AM, William Pflaum continued to mislead Ms.

Cusick into believing that he would pay Matilda’s veterinary expenses, and in furtherance of his intentional fraud, sent Ms. Cusick an email asking her to send her copies of receipts because it would supposedly be a “big help” in “squaring up bills.”

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60.

On February 15, 2013, Ms. Cusick picked up a gift package Mr. Pflaum had left

for Ms. Cusick on or about February 14, 2013. The package was accompanied by a note handwritten by William Pflaum. A copy of the note is annexed hereto as Exhibit B. The note reads: MELISSAI AM VERY SORRY FOR THIS TERRIBLE INCIDENT. I WILL SEND A CHECK FOR FAR IN EXCESS OF BILLS TO DATE TOMORROW. I LOVE MATILDA AND AM SORRY. TAKE CARE AND A SPEEDY RECOVERY TO HER AND YOU. SINCERELY, WILL 61. On February 16, 2013, Ms. Cusick sent a summary of her expenses to William

Pflaum. At that time, Ms. Cusick had incurred approximately $8,568.87 on veterinarian bills and other expenses. At that time, Westside estimated that is would cost another $10,000 to provide proper veterinary care for Matilda. 62. On February 17, 2013, William Pflaum tried to talk to Ms. Cusick but she was too

upset to do so and told him to send her a reimbursement plan. 63. Later that day, William Pflaum sent Ms. Cusick a response. Suddenly, Mr.

Pflaum attempted to withdraw his promise to pay for Matilda’s care. He did not include any reimbursement schedule and instead intimated that it would be difficult for him to repay her because Ms. Cusick had apparently written a description of what happened to Matilda at Glencadia on Yelp.com (the business review web site), had reported the incident to the dog control officer, and posted pictures of Matilda’s wounds online. 64. At 8:45 PM on February 17, 2013, Ms. Cusick emailed William Pflaum an

updated summary of expenses. Mr. Pflaum did not respond to this email.

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65.

On February 22, 2013, Matilda was finally healthy enough for another operation.

Dr. Kosovsky operated on Matilda and removed both of her ears due to the extensive damage they had sustained during the attack at Glencadia Dog Camp. 66. Westside. 67. On February 24, 2013, Ms. Cusick sent Mr. Pflaum an updated summary of On February 23, 2013, Ms. Cusick was finally able to take Matilda home from

expenses, which she estimated to be $11,987.85 as of that date. 68. Later that day, William Pflaum responded to Ms. Cusick’s February 24, 2013

summary of expenses. Yet again, Mr. Pflaum intimated that Ms. Cusick’s Yelp.com review of Glencadia, report to the dog control officer, and Better Business Bureau report could make it difficult for him to reimburse her. 69. On February 25, 2013, Ms. Cusick sent William Pflaum another email, telling him

to send her a partial payment as a sign of good faith. 70. On February 26, 2013, William Pflaum sent Ms. Cusick another email, telling her

to look out for a check from him and that he had to borrow money to pay her back in one check. For the third time, William Pflaum suggested that the BBB report, report to the dog control officer and Yelp.com posting could make it impossible for him to reimburse her. Clearly, Mr. Pflaum was attempting to silence Ms. Cusick and coerce her by reneging on his prior unambiguous promise to pay for Matilda’s care. It can only be assumed that Ms. Cusick was being offered “hush money.” 71. reads in part: Melissa, I went back into online banking and stopped the check, although the loan had come in and I did have the funds. I just can’t pay you that much money with Several hours later, William Pflaum sent Ms. Cusick a final email. The email

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the degree of uncertainty about the future income given the Yelp reviews and BBB Complaint. Also, I don’t know if there will be an impact from the dog control officer complaint. A copy of this email is annexed hereto as Exhibit C. 72. Mr. Pflaum had repeatedly assured Ms. Cusick that he would pay for Matilda’s

care and assumed responsibility for Matilda’s injuries. Ms. Cusick reasonably relied on Mr. Pflaum’s unequivocal representations to her detriment. The quid pro quo that Mr. Pflaum now demands -- that she withdraw her Yelp.com review of Glencadia and withdraw her Better Business Bureau complaint in exchange for money for her expenses and Matilda’s veterinarian bills -- is not only disingenuous by malicious and fraudulent. II. Other Incidents at Glencadia. 73. Upon information and belief, over the last few years, several dogs have been

seriously injured and/or killed because of the careless, reckless and or intentional actions of William Pflaum, Aenne Grannis and Glencadia. 74. In particular, Glencadia does not properly monitor the dogs in its care, such that

large numbers of dogs are routinely left alone for hours on end without any supervision. 75. Upon information and belief, Glencadia’s negligent, reckless and careless policies

result in serious injuries to the dogs in its care on a regular and ongoing basis. 76. In or around February of 2013, a dog was severely injured while boarded at the

Glencadia Dog Camp. Upon information and belief, this dog was mauled by another dog that it was left alone with (unsupervised) for many hours. This incident was reported on the website Yelp.com. A copy of this Yelp report is included in Exhibit F hereto. 77. In July of 2012, a woman name Kate Dwyer (“Ms. Dwyer”) took her dog Jackson

to the Glencadia Dog Camp. When Jackson was returned to Ms. Dwyer two weeks later, he was

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covered in cuts, punctures around his ears, eyes and mouth, and had large areas of fur missing from his body. Photos of Jackson’s condition after returning from Glencadia are annexed hereto as Exhibit E. When William Pflaum returned Jackson to Ms. Dwyer, Mr. Pflaum claimed he had no idea Jackson had been injured. However, Mr. Pflaum did admit that he had left Jackson alone with another dog in a pen and had to separate the two dogs because they were fighting. 78. In 2011, another dog which was boarded at the Glencadia Dog Camp for two

weeks was returned to its owner with a two large puncture wounds on her side, a full blown ear infection, and with its rib bones and hip bones visible due to extreme weight loss. Upon information and belief, this dog was neglected and malnourished while boarded at the Glencadia Dog Camp. This incident was reported on the website Yelp.com. A copy of this Yelp report is included in Exhibit F hereto. 79. In 2010, a dog which was boarded at the Glencadia Dog Camp was returned to its

owner covered in bite marks, sick, filthy and starved with its bones showing. Upon information and belief, this dog was neglected and malnourished at the Glencadia Dog Camp. This incident was reported on the website Yelp.com. A copy of this Yelp report is included in Exhibit F hereto. 80. Two small dogs have been killed at the Glencadia Dog Camp. Upon information

and belief, these two small dogs were mauled to death by other larger dogs during an open feeding at the Glencadia Dog Camp. This incident was reported on the website Yelp.com. A copy of this Yelp report is included in Exhibit F hereto. 81. In sum, at least five dogs have been seriously injured at the Glencadia Dog Camp

and at least two dogs have been killed there. And these are the incidents that Plaintiff has been able to discover in a short period of time. It is likely there are numerous other incidents that

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were either unreported or were quietly handled by Mr. Pflaum. Plaintiff prays that the ASPCA and local law enforcement will investigate Glencadia and William Pflaum for animal abuse. Plaintiff wants to ensure that no one else has to experience the distress of their beloved pet being injured or killed and wants to make sure in the future that helpless animals are protected from suffering needlessly. III. Ms. Cusick did not waive Defendants’ liability for Defendants’ wrongful actions. 82. William Pflaum has claimed that Ms. Cusick has no right to any recovery against

Defendants because of the provisions of Glencadia’s booking terms and conditions. Specifically, Glencadia’s “No Liability” clause states: “Glencadia Dog Camp accepts no liability for your dog in our care. In social settings it is impossible to monitor 24 hours a day.” The booking terms and conditions further advise that “The philosophy of social boarding is that the benefits of a social setting and open space outweigh the risk of a fight. Be advised: there is a risk of bite wound. Dogs can cause serious injury to each other. If your dog is not social and must be housed by him or herself, there may be an additional fee.” 83. As a matter of law, the language in Glencadia’s booking terms and conditions do

not exculpate Defendants from their conduct in this case. Gross v Sweet, 49 N.Y.2d 102 (1979), is instructive. In that case, the New York Court of Appeals held that “it must appear plainly and precisely that the limitation of liability extends to negligence or other fault of the party attempting to shed his ordinary responsibility.” Id. at 107. “Unless the intention of the parties is expressed in unmistakable language, an exculpatory clause will not be deemed to insulate a party from liability for his own negligent acts.” Id. 84. Glencadia’s terms and conditions do not contain precise, unmistakable language.

Instead, like the release at issue in Gross “the release nowhere expresses any intention to exempt

18

the defendant from liability for injury or property damages which may result from his failure to use due care … Thus, whether on a running reading or a careful analysis, the agreement could most reasonably be taken merely as driving home the fact that the defendant was not to bear any responsibility for injuries that ordinarily and inevitably would occur, without any fault of the defendant ….” Id. at 109-10. Defendants never told Ms. Cusick that other dogs had been injured and killed at Glencadia, that Glencadia took little or no care screening the dogs it boarded, or that Matilda would be boarded with one or more aggressive dogs in a confined pen overnight without any supervision. 85. Accordingly, Ms. Cusick has not waived her negligence claim, or any of her other

claims, against Defendants. Indeed, gross negligence and intentional torts may not be waived. Id. at 106 (“To the extent that agreements purport to grant exemption for liability for willful or grossly negligent acts they have been viewed as wholly void.”) DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY 86. Pursuant to CPLR § 4102, Plaintiff demands trial by jury in this action of all

issues triable by jury. FIRST CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS NEGLIGENCE 87. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 86 above as

if fully set forth herein. 88. Defendants had a duty to exercise ordinary care for Matilda while she was

boarded at Glencadia Dog Camp. 89. Defendants breached that aforesaid duty, by carelessly leaving Matilda in a pen

with hostile and or/violent dog(s) for many hours without any supervision whatsoever.

19

90.

Defendants failed to properly screen the dogs under their supervision, care,

custody and control for aggression. 91. Defendants’ breach of their aforesaid duty of care resulted in traumatic and severe

injuries to Matilda. Said incident was clearly foreseeable, especially given that it was not the first time a dog suffered a serious injury at Glencadia because it was left alone in a pen with aggressive dogs without any supervision for an extended period of time. 92. To date, Ms. Cusick has spent over $12,000 on veterinarian bills in order to

provide treatment to Matilda for the injuries she suffered due to Defendants’ negligence. It is anticipated that Plaintiff will incur additional substantial veterinary bills for Matilda’s care and recovery. 93. By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be

determined at trial. SECOND CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS GROSS NEGLIGENCE 94. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 93 above as

if fully set forth herein. 95. 96. Defendants have operated the Glencadia Dog Camp since 2007. Defendants have knowledge that leaving two or more dogs alone in a pen

overnight without any supervision is totally unreasonable and is likely to cause foreseeable injuries to dogs so boarded. Indeed, other dogs were injured in this very manner before Matilda was attacked at the Glencadia Dog Camp. 97. In conscious disregard of the aforementioned knowledge, Defendants left Matilda

with one or more dogs in a pen overnight without any supervision whatsoever.

20

98.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ grossly negligent actions, Matilda

sustained traumatic and severe injuries. 99. To date, Ms. Cusick has spent over $12,000 on veterinarian bills in order to

provide treatment to Matilda for the injuries she suffered due to Defendants’ gross negligence. It is anticipated that Ms. Cusick shall incur substantial additional veterinary bills for Matilda’s care and recovery. 100. By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be

determined at trial, including punitive damages. THIRD CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS TRESPASS TO CHATTLE 101. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 100 above

as if fully set forth herein. 102. By operation of law, Matilda is the property of Ms. Cusick, although Ms. Cusick

prefers to refer to Matilda as her companion animal and considers Matilda to be a cherished member of her family. 103. Upon information and belief, Defendants put Matilda in a pen with other hostile

dog(s) overnight with knowledge that Matilda was virtually certain to be injured by those other dog(s). 104. 105. As such, Defendants intentionally caused Matilda to be harmed. To date, Ms. Cusick has spent over $12,000 on veterinarian bills in order to

provide treatment to Matilda for the injuries she suffered due to Defendants’ intentional actions. It is anticipated that Ms. Cusick shall incur substantial additional veterinary bills for Matilda’s care and recovery.

21

106.

By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be

determined at trial, including punitive damages. FOURTH CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST WILLIAM PFLAUM AND GLENCADIA PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL 107. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 106 above

as if fully set forth herein. 108. William Pflaum and Glencadia have repeatedly promised to pay for all of Ms.

Cusick’s costs and expenses associated with Matilda’s injuries (including losses for pain and suffering) at the Glencadia Dog Camp. 109. In reliance upon William Pflaum’s and Glencadia’s unambiguous promises, Ms.

Cusick has incurred costs and expenses associated with Matilda’s injuries. 110. William Pflaum and Glencadia have broken their promise to pay for all of Ms.

Cusick’s costs and expenses associated with Matilda’s injuries (including losses for pain and suffering) at the Glencadia Dog Camp and have paid Ms. Cusick nothing. 111. To date, Ms. Cusick has spent over $12,000 on veterinarian bills in order to

provide treatment to Matilda for the injuries she suffered due to Defendants’ actions and in reliance on Mr. Pflaum’s representations. It is anticipated that Ms. Cusick shall incur substantial additional veterinary bills for Matilda’s care and recovery. 112. By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be

determined at trial. FIFTH CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS DECLARATORY JUDGMENT 113. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 112 above

as if fully set forth herein. 22

114.

Based upon the foregoing, William Pflaum and Glencadia present an ongoing

threat to dogs under their care. 115. Accordingly, this Court should issue a declaratory judgment empowering the

ASPCA to determine if animal rights abuses are occurring at Glencadia and order the Columbia County District Attorney to investigate the Glencadia Dog Camp for animal cruelty. SIXTH CLAIM BY PLAINTIFF AGAINST WILLIAM PFLAUM AND GLENCADIA FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT 116. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 115 above

as if fully set forth herein. 117. William Pflaum and Glencadia repeatedly represented to Ms. Cusick that William

Pflaum and Glencadia would pay Ms. Cusick for all costs and expenses associated with Matilda’s injuries. 118. Specifically, on or about February 14, 2013 William Pflaum wrote a note to Ms.

Cusick which stated “I WILL SEND A CHECK FOR FAR IN EXCESS OF BILLS TO DATE TOMORROW.” 119. At the time William Pflaum made that statement, he knew it was false and

misleading because he never intended to pay Ms. Cusick anything. 120. Ms. Cusick reasonably relied upon William Pflaum’s false and misleading

statement and continued to provide Matilda with veterinary care. 121. By reason of the foregoing, Ms. Cusick has been damaged in an amount to be

determined at trial, including all past and future veterinary bills and related care expenses, as well as punitive damages.

23

Melissa Cusick 530 Fifth Avenue, 9th Floor New York, New York 10036 (212) 818-9000

25

VERIFICATION

STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK

)
) ss.:

)

The undersigned, Melissa Cusick, being duly sworn hereby affirms: I, Melissa Cusick, am the Plaintiff in this matter; I have read the foregoing complaint and know the contents thereof that the same are true to my own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated to be alleged on information and belief; and as to those matters I believe them to be true. The grounds for my beliefs as to all matters alleged in the foregoing complaint are as follows: public records, publicly available information and personal knowledge. I hereby affirm that the foregoing statements are true, under the penalty of perjury. Dated: New York, New York March I2_, 2013

ókQA)
MELISSA CU’ CK Subscribed and sworn to before me onMarchj1,0l3
JENNIFER OUTRtDGE Notary PubHc State of New York NO. 010U6185233 Qualified in New York County My Crnmission Expires
-

(I

Jotary Public I comniission exPiresjrn

U.qo/1

{40166/OO1/01312456 1—ZBG}

Exhibit A

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 3

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

Exhibit B

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 4

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

Exhibit C

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 5

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

Exhibit D

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 6

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

Exhibit E

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 7

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

Exhibit F

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 03/13/2013
NYSCEF DOC. NO. 8

INDEX NO. 152312/2013 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 03/13/2013

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