Service dog trainer suing N.Y. AG, governor for $75M

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 12, 2012, 12:15pm


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A New York service dog trainer, in a federal court filing earlier this month, contends Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is discriminating against him.

Plaintiff Jon Sabin, owner of Seizure Alert Dogs for Life Inc., filed his 16-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York Sept. 4.

The named defendants include Schneiderman, Assistant Attorney General Deanna Nelson and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In his suit, Sabin alleges that he has been ordered by Schneiderman to cease training service dogs for those who suffer from epilepsy -- a violation of his constitutional rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Earlier this year, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that Sabin had to cease operating his business until the case filed against him by Schneiderman is resolved. The attorney general's lawsuit accuses him of false advertising.

According to Sabin's complaint, New York has laws governing service dogs and service dog trainers that prohibit from him from selling or training dogs.

However, he argues that the state does not have any service dog training license or regulatory commission.

The state also cannot provide him with training requirements for seizure response dogs or define what a service animal is, he argues.

Moreover, the ADA supersedes state laws, Sabin contends.

"All service animals have had extensive training and there is no formal recognition for seizure response dog training or for seizure response dogs anywhere in the United States," he wrote, adding that he currently has a patent pending on his training methods, a special stimulator collar and cell phone case to make emergency assistance calls.

Sabin is asking the federal court to enter a permanent injunction "forever" enjoining the state from enforcing its service animal laws and award him $75 million in relief.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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