Taking children and pets to a dog park has hidden dangers that parents may not be fully aware of. When canines come together in a fenced-in park, some may become more aggressive than they are at home. Puppies and younger dogs not yet experienced in socializing may suddenly go on the attack.
Bites, wounds and serious injuries commonly occur at dog parks, as reported by The New York Times. Because a bite could puncture the skin, bacteria from a dog’s saliva may cause illness or infection. For this reason, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and report the incident to law enforcement officials.
New York State’s dangerous dog law
Under NY law, an injured individual may hold a canine’s owner strictly liable when his or her pet has received a “dangerous” dog classification. Dangerous dogs tend to bite or attack without provocation; by their nature, they pose a threat to humans and other animals. Its owner has a duty of care to leash the dog and ensure that it does not cause harm to others while in a public place.
As reported by Forbes magazine, pit bulls rank as the most dangerous dog breed in the nation. While some owners feel comfortable bringing their “friendly” pit bull to a park because it never attacked before, a dangerous dog breed does not require a child or animal to provoke it to attack.
The average cost for a hospital admission to treat a dog bite is $18,200. When a dangerous dog causes serious injuries, its owner must provide compensation for medical expenses.
Bites or attacks by non-dangerous dogs
When a dog does not have a natural propensity toward aggression, it may suddenly act out in a park while he or she is around other unknown animals or people. Unfamiliar surroundings may result in a dog’s first bite.
New York State’s “one bite” rule allows an owner to defend against liability if his or her dog has never bitten or attacked before. When an owner knows a non-dangerous dog has bitten before, however, he or she owes a duty of care to prevent further injuries.