What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Laws in New York


If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in New York, it is vital to know the laws regarding animal attacks and what type of compensation might be available to you. Being bitten by a dog can be devastating, leaving physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime. In the most severe cases, victims may not survive their injuries.

Those who’ve been bitten or the families of those who were attacked by a vicious dog have rights, but New York State often makes it difficult to recover the fair compensation you might be owed, so read more to learn about your legal options.

New York is a “mixed” state when it comes to responsibility for a dog bite. State law mixes the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability. This means that if a dog that has been previously adjudicated as “dangerous” bites someone, the owner will be strictly liable for the victim’s medical costs and veterinary bills. To recover other damages, the state requires that the victim prove that the dog’s owner knew of the animal’s dangerous tendency to bite people. Negligence is not grounds for compensation for dog bite claims in New York.

Because the state is a “one-bite” state, the dog’s owner could be able to avoid liability if the dog has never shown a propensity for being violent in the past. The dog may be adjudicated as a “dangerous dog” after the first attack, however.

What is a “Dangerous Dog” According to New York Law?

Civil liability for a dog bite is covered by New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123. It covers both bites and non-bite injuries (such as being knocked to the ground by an aggressive dog) and applies to attacks on people, livestock, and service animals. New York State statutes define a dangerous dog as:

  • An animal that attacks and injures or kills a pet, farm animal, or person without justification or provocation
  • An animal that behaves in such a manner that a reasonable person would believe that the animal might injure or kill them

Commonly-raised defenses to dog bite claims in New York include, law enforcement animals performing their “duties,” the animal protecting its home, owner, puppies, or itself, the dog reacting to inflicted pain, or provocation of some kind that caused it to attack.

Bitten By a Dog in New York? Contact our Long Island Dog Bite Lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C.

Because New York State law requires you to prove that the animal that bit you had “vicious propensities,” to be eligible to recover compensation, it is vital to hire an experienced injury attorney who knows how to handle these cases properly. The New York City injury attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., is intimately aware of the laws regarding dog bites in New York, and we know how to build a strong case on your behalf.

Contact an experienced New York dog bite attorney of Finz & Finz, P.C., at 1-855-TOP-FIRM to discuss your case with us today during a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.