New York Dog Bite Laws

New York is a “mixed” state, meaning that it has a dog bite law statute that mixes the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability. The statute makes the owner or keeper of a previously adjudicated “dangerous dog” strictly liable only for the victim’s medical and veterinary costs. For other damages, New York requires a victim to prove that the dog had the dangerous tendency to bite people, and that the dog owner knew it. New York does not permit victims to recover compensation on the ground of negligence.


What if a dog attacks another dog or companion animal

According to the Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121 -An attack on another dog (or companion animal) can result in serious consequences for the dog owner or keeper as well as the attacking dog itself. A judge or magistrate can determine that the dog is dangerous and impose penalties on the owner and conditions of confinement of the dog. The dog can be euthanized if it previously was declared dangerous and it inflicted serious injuries or death on another dog.


Criminal penalties

According to New York dog bite law, the dog owner can be convicted of a misdemeanor ($1000 file and 90 days in jail) if the following criteria are met:

  • If a dog owner negligently permits his dog to bite a person;
  • The dog previously was declared to be dangerous;
  • The injury is a “serious injury,”;

A “serious injury” is one that causes death or presents the risk of death, or causes “serious or protracted” disfigurement, “protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ”. If a dog previously declared dangerous escapes or otherwise gets to a person and kills him, the owner can be convicted of a class A misdemeanor, in addition to other penalties and civil liability.


How to Prevent Dog Bites

People love dogs and with good reason- in the majority of cases they are man’s best friends and protectors. Things can happen and sometimes dogs will bite. Sometimes it is because of the dog but in many of the cases we see there is a large degree of human error involved. Here are some things you can do to help reduce your chances of being bitten by a dog. Here are some tips from a New York dog bite lawyer:


  • Always ask the owner if it is ok to pet the dog before making a move towards the dog.
  • When an unfamiliar dog approaches you, even on a leash, remain motionless.
  • Immediately let an adult know about any strays or dogs that are behaving strangely.


  • Approach an unfamiliar dog or one that is wandering around without an owner.
  • Run from a dog if they begin to approach you.
  • Panic, yell, shout, scream, or make loud noises.
  • Disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Encourage any dog, even your own to play aggressively.
  • Let small children play with a dog unsupervised.
  • Pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.


What to do if an unfamiliar dog approaches you and you do not want to interact with it:

  • Be calm and don’t run.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
  • Say “No” or “Go Home” in a firm, deep voice.
  • Keep your side turned to the dog, facing it head on may seem like a challenge.
  • Slowly raise your hands to your neck, with your elbows in and brace.
  • Wait for the dog to pass you by or you can begin to slowly back away from the dog.
  • If someone approaches you motion carefully for them not to yell or run at the dog.

“According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, and 900,000 of those bites become infected. The U.S. population is approximately 325.8 million people as of 2017. That means a dog bites 1 out of every 72 people. These are scary statistics. Statisics become a lot less scary when you’re armed with the right information. From the top breeds to be wary of, to accounting for your own behavior around animals, to why dogs actually bite in the first place, we’re giving you an arsenal of information in this article so you can bite back in the dog bite debate” (Canine Journal).


Dogs that allegedly bite the most, according to this article:

  • Chihuahua
  • Bulldog
  • Pit Bull*
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Bull Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Papillion

* 30+ breeds of dogs and mixes are incorrectly identified as “pit bulls”* in dog bite incidents, attributing the pit bull with an unfair and overstated number of incidents

If you or a loved one have been bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog, our dog bite lawyers have the experience necessary to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a Free Case Review.