Should New York State Leash Dangerous Pit Bulls And Their Owners?

Should New York State follow Maryland's lead and crack down on pit bulls and their owners?

Another state has cracked down on pit bulls. Should New York State do the same?

A new ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals declares pit bulls as a breed are “inherently dangerous,” and the owner of a pit bull or one that has been cross bred that attacks a person or another animal is liable for damages. In addition, any landlord who rents to a pit bull owner is liable as well.

In New York State, the courts have said the exact opposite — there are no inherently dangerous breeds.  Should there be, though?  A disproportionate number of our dog bite cases involve pit bulls, but I have also handled dog bites involving one of the most docile of breeds – a golden retriever!

Pit Bulls make good scape goats.  Just check news across the country on any given day and you will see report after report of pit bull attacks.

Just in the last few days:

A pit bull was shot to death by police after it attacked a woman who was walking her dog in Long Beach, Calif.

The pit bull also attacked two bystanders who tried to help the woman.

Police tried to stun the dog using a Taser gun, but it did not work, so the officers had to shoot and kill the dog!

A 2-year-old pit bull attacked a 7-year-old boy in a back yard in Charlotte, N.C., seriously injuring the boy. The boy needed 20 stitches for his wounds. Authorities will decide this week whether to euthanize the dog.

A Pottsville, Pa., couple were hospitalized after being attacked by their own dogs, which authorities said were likely pit bulls. The dogs were first fighting between themselves, then  turned on the owners.

Are pit bulls so dangerous that their owners and landlords should be strictly liable for damage a member of that breed causes even if that particular animal has never been vicious in the past?  It’s hard to say without a hard look at all the data.  One thing we know for sure is that a responsible owner can minimize the risk of an attack by any breed of dog by properly socializing, rearing, training and restraining the dog.  Conversely, a dog owner who fails to do these things, or even worse, encourages protective and aggressive behavior towards people and other animals, has a much greater risk of injuring someone else.

What do you think?  Are pit bulls inherently dangerous?  Are they simply the victim of bad press?  Let us know what you think!

Thanks for reading,


Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Dog Bite Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]




NY Attorney Comments on Local Dog Bites and Dog Attacks

On a beautiful afternoon, like many in the Twin Tiers, I can certainly see the appeal of wandering around downtown Ithaca and shopping in The Commons. What I often do not factor into this idyllic scene, however, is the danger of dogs.

Authorities in Ithaca are seeking a puppy after it bit a man in the Ithaca Commons. What is especially amazing to me about this incident is that the dog was on a leash and with its owner. The victim reached down to pet the dog and was then bitten.

This incident is only one of several recent dog bites in Ithaca, including incidents in October and December.

Our firm has represented many victims of dog attack and bite cases, so we know the permanent physical and emotional scars that can be left after these frightening incidents.

In a world in which half a million people bit by dogs last year required hospitalization, these bites are a reminder of the dangers that even friendly-looking dogs can pose.

These bites are also a reminder to socialize your dogs, especially when they are between the ages of 8-12 weeks. While many of us at Ziff love animals ourselves, it is important to stay safe and recognize the potentially dangerous nature of dogs.

If you or someone you know has a question about dog attacks or bites, please call us at 1-800-ZIFFLAW or email us at [email protected]. We would be happy to talk to you about your legal rights and options and try to answer your questions.  

Thanks, Christina

Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
[email protected]
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)

Insurance Companies Put Bite On Dog Owners, Says NY Dog Attack Lawyer


Has your dog been excluded from your homeowners' insurance?

New York State dog owners are going to be mad when they realize what homeowners’ insurance carriers have done.

In recent years, more carriers have quietly slipped “dog exclusions” into their insurance policies. Many policy holders have not noticed this stunning change which is certainly understandable because insurance policies are notorious for tons of incomprehensible, fine print.

These “exclusions” means that these homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover any injury caused by dogs, including bites.

This NY dog bite lawyer and other lawyers across the state noticed the changes were unleashed on unwitting homeowners, including many in the Elmira-Corning area, in the last few years.

At first, I noticed only some dog breeds were left uncovered, such as pit bulls, who were considered among the most aggressive. But now I am seeing exclusions for ALL DOGS, regardless of the breed.

If you’re a homeowner with a dog, it’s time to unleash your outrage, because you’re being ripped off!

Here is the bad news: One-third of all injury claims against homeowners are because of dog bites, BUT when insurance companies exclude coverage, they are NOT GIVING YOU a one-third discount!

What a deal for the insurance carriers! They’ll deny they are curbing your dog to roll up more profits, and say they are just trying to keep your premiums down!

Don’t bellieve it!

These exclusions are bad for dog-bite victims, too. Let’s say you have the misfortune of getting mauled by a poor dog owner with an insurance exclusion. If that happens, it is very possible you will get no compensation for your suffering!

All homeowners in the Elmira / Corning area, and throughout the Southern Tier, should still shop for insurance that covers dog bites. They are still available, and it’s the right thing to do.

And it should not cost you any extra money.

Thanks for reading.


James B. Reed
NY & PA Dog Bite Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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