By Peter J. Gregory

With insurance claims for dog bites rising, it is important to understand dog bite and dog attack law in New York.  Under state law, local Animal Control Officers must seek court-ordered restrictions when dogs that, without justification, attack or injure people or other pets, or behave in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury.

Following a “dangerous dog” court hearing, if a judge determines that a dog is dangerous, the judge may require that the dog be leashed or muzzled at all times in public, be trained by an expert, or covered under an insurance policy in case of future attack.  If the judge finds certain aggravating circumstances in a biting incident, the court may order permanent confinement or even euthanasia.  In the most serious circumstances, if a dog was previously declared a dangerous dog and bites again, causing serious injuries, then the owner could be charged with misdemeanor criminal charges resulting in fines or even jail time.

For dog owners facing a dangerous dog proceeding in local court, it is important to retain counsel for the protection of the animal and the owner.  For victims of a dog bite, it is important to report the incident as soon as possible to local animal control for an investigation.  Court findings in a dangerous dog hearing could then be used against the dog owner or other parties, such as landlords, in a personal injury claim made by the dog bite victim seeking compensation for injuries.

For assistance with these matters, please contact a member of our Personal Injury practice. 

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.