Dog Bites/Animal Attacks
The owner of a dog or other animal can be liable for their animal’s actions when they attack innocent victims. The case law in this area provides that the animal must have a prior vicious propensity. In some cases, the Court will consider a specific breed automatically to have vicious propensities (Pit Bulls, Dobermans, German Shepards, etc.). It is more important that if you are attacked by a dog or other animal, you should document the behavior of the dog or animal before the attack (check with local dog wardens as to prior attacks).
Injuries caused by dog bites or animal attacks can result in scarring, bone fractures and even death. An animal attack can also leave the victim (especially children) severely traumatized psychologically as well as physically. Victims must also document their injuries by photographs as soon as possible after the attack.
It is vital in dog or other animal attacks that the behavior of the dog or other animal be documented. Examples of prior behavior to be noted would be: actual attacks, growling, jumping, and the animal being uncontrollable around other animals. The victim must take immediate photos of the injuries before healing occurs. Also, you should take photos or videotape of the animal involved for documentation and confirmation so that the right animal is examined. It is important to determine if the dog that bit you is up to date on its shots and has been treated for rabies.
A check with a municipality dog warden can prove whether any prior attacks by the same dog or animal has occurred, thus proving prior vicious propensities.
Dog fights often involve a person being bitten. For instance, you’re walking your dog on a leash and an unleashed dog runs over and starts fighting with your dog. Naturally you attempt to protect your dog and try to break up the fight, when the loose dog bites you and your dog requiring medical attention.
You must report the other dog and dog owner to local authorities. There are laws which make it mandatory to have your dog on a leash and under the owner’s control. The owner of the dog may have violated local laws or New York State Agricultural Laws which can carry criminal remedies against the dog owner. After a dog bites the first time, a dog owner must post “Beware of Dog” warning signs; muzzle and leash the dog when it leaves it owner’s property; have the dog tied up when it is on the owner’s property; or on a leash while in a fenced in portion of the owner’s property. These laws are enforced by local justice courts in quasi criminal proceedings.
Obviously, any type of bite from an animal must be treated medically, (even a small bite can become infected) as soon as possible. Emergency rooms physicians see and treat many dog bites and animal attacks every year.
The Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC represents victims of dog bites or animal attacks in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess Counties as well as the five boroughs of New York City. We have offices in Somers, White Plains, and Orange County, New York for the convenience of all Hudson Valley clients. We will aggressively pursue owners of dogs or animals and their insurance companies to obtain the maximum value of your injuries. Call us at our White Plains Office in Westchester County at (914) 288-0800, Monroe Office in Orange County at (845) 782-9571 or our toll free number at (800) 727-7084.