Dog bite laws are specific to every state and New York is no exception. While a dog may seem harmless and is often referred to as “man’s best friend”, the reality is that they are still animals and there is no way to completely control or predict their behavior. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, it is important that you understand the law and your options.

FindLaw states that in New York, if a dog has been determined as dangerous, the owner is liable for any injuries the dog causes. A dangerous dog is one that attacked without justification. If the dog attacks in defense or has a reason for attacking, it may not be considered dangerous.

If a dog attacks someone on the owner’s property or someone who is committing a crime against the owner, the attack may be justified. This is also true if the dog or its puppies are being abused. Unjustified attacks happen when an animal behaves in a way that would appear to pose an unjustified, serious, imminent threat of serious injury or death by a reasonable person. If a dog injures or kills a person, domestic animal, farm animal or service dog during an attack, it is also considered unjustified.

Any dog bite victim that sues an owner for non-medical damages must prove that the owner of the dog was negligent. A claim must be filed within three years of the incident and the owner can be convicted of a misdemeanor if the dog has previously been named as dangerous and they did not take proper precautions. This can lead to fines and jail time in some cases.

This is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.