What You Need to Know About “Dangerous Dogs” and Dog Bites in New York

What You Need to Know About “Dangerous Dogs” and Dog Bites in New York
What You Need to Know About “Dangerous Dogs” and Dog Bites in New York

According to New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, a dog owner holds a potential civil liability when the owner’s dog injures another person. The statute covers injuries that resulted from bites and non-bite injuries (cases when a dog knocks a person to the ground). Dog bites in New York can carry stiff penalties.

The statute states that a dog owner of a “dangerous dog” is at fault if the dog injuries another person, livestock, or to another person’s companion animal (a disability service dog).

Here are the definitions of a “dangerous dog” according to the statute:

  • Dog attacks and injures or kills a person, pet, or a farm animal without justification;
  • Dog behaves in a way that a reasonable person believes that the dog has a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”

A law enforcement dog carrying out its duties cannot be considered a “dangerous dog.” If have been injured by a dangerous dog, contact Cellino Law to speak with a personal injury lawyer and hold negligent owners accountable for their reckless behavior.

Liability for Damages for Dog Bite Cases in New York

According to  New York’s “dangerous dog” statute, a dog owner is liable for every medical bill that the injured person will have to undergo after being injured by caused by a “dangerous dog.” If the dog is found to be dangerous, the owner will have to pay the injured person’s medical bills (or other bills for the treatment of injuries to livestock or pets). It doesn’t matter if the dog’s owner took reasonable precautions to control or hold the dog, they still take responsibility for the medical expenses.

If the person has other damages from any dog bites in New York, they will have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. This means the injured person must prove that the dog’s owner did not use reasonable care to stop the injuries from happening.

For example, if a dog slips out of its yard, and breaks down the neighbor’s fence, and enters into the yard, and it bites the neighbor, the injured neighbor may collect a settlement. The injured person can cover the costs of medical care under New York’s strict liability rule. But, the neighbor cannot get the costs of replacing the broken fence unless they can prove that the dog’s owner didn’t take reasonable steps to stop the dog to break down the fence and enter the yard.

Types of Defenses to Claims for Dog Bites in New York

The law regarding dog bites in New York has several defenses that a dog’s owner may use in a civil liability claim.

The dog was a law enforcement dog on duty and was not a “dangerous dog” according to the New York statute definition.

  • The dog was protective of its owner, its puppies, or itself when it bit or injured the person.
  • The dog was protecting its home against a person who was trespassing or doing a crime on the property.
  • The dog was reacting in pain or suffering when it bit or injured a person.
  • The dog bit and injured after it was provoked or tormented, abused, or assaulted by the bitten or injured person.

Criminal Liability for Dog Bites in New York

In some cases, the dog’s owner may face a  misdemeanor. New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123 allows charges to be filed in the following cases:

  • the dog was previously declared to be a “dangerous dog”
  • the owner carelessly let the dog bite another person
  • the injury is considered a “serious injury.”

A “serious injury” is any injury that causes serious disfigurement, death, or the “protracted impairment” or loss of a body organ or body part.

If a “dangerous dog” manages to kill a person even if the owner attempted to restrain it, the owner may also be charged with a misdemeanor. A dog owner who faces a criminal charge after their dog bit a person, they might also face civil liability if the injured person chooses to sue in civil court.

Contact Cellino Law if You Have Been Injured by a Dangerous Dog

If you were a victim of a dangerous dog and ended up with injuries after dog bites in New York, you should consult a skilled dog bite attorney. Make sure you act fast and after your initial medical help, contact our office right ahead. If this is not a dog and owner you know, make sure you get their name, take photos of both the person and the dog.

Taking pictures of your injuries and keeping the medical records will help your case when you file for a claim. Allow our team to speak on your behalf and help you get the deserved settlement. We’re here to offer you a free case evaluation.


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