It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the runners and cyclists are getting restless-er. However, a word to all wise dog owners – make sure your pet does not follow suit and, following a lazy winter of prolonged naps and indoor play, become caught up in the spring fever and use all of his pent up energy to harass – or worse, injure – an innocent passer-by.
In brief, under New York law a dog owner is potentially liable for injuries his dog causes to another person if (1) the owner is aware his dog has displayed vicious propensities in the past or (2) the owner fails to properly restrain the dog on the owner’s property or use a leash when transporting the dog off the property, (i.e. when walking the dog.)
Under ways-you-may-be-liable for your dog’s delinquency #1, the law will impose liability on you if you have seen your dog act aggressively in the past but have failed to take any corrective action, (such as enrolling your pet in doggie obedience school or building a really high fence.)
Reasons-you-may-get-hauled-into-court-on-a-count-of-your-mutt #2 is much more straightforward. If your municipality has a leash law (as most do,) follow it. If your dogs frequently goes astray, erect a fence or build a doghouse or chain ‘em up or do something else to keep your pooch off the loose.
Specifically, I learned some decent tips for how to handle yourself if your dog attacks someone:
- Stay calm. Don’t argue. Don’t accuse. Be nice to the victim.
- Make sure the victim gets medical attention. Take him or her to the hospital or to a doctor. Be considerate.
- Whether or not you have insurance, if you have any money or credit at all, you should offer to pay for the victim’s medical bills.
- Take steps to protect others from your dog.
- Obtain the name, address and phone number of every witness.
I also found the following statistical from the website to be very interesting and informative:
- The death count in 2007-2008: There have been two fatal dog attacks in the United States 2008 and 31 in 2007.
- The deadliest states: (8),
Georgia(4), Tennessee(three), and (three). Illinois
Thanks for reading,
Christina M. Bruner, Esq.