How does New York define a dangerous dog?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2020 | personal injury

While dogs can be sweet, loving, and loyal companions, they can also be capable of great violence and aggressiveness. When this occurs, others will be at risk of experiencing serious dog bite injury, which can have lasting effects when the damage is severe.

New York holds dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets. This entails determining whether a dog is considered dangerous by the court, in which case steps must be taken to prevent future attacks. Here are a few basics surrounding dog bite law so you can seek help should an attack occur.

Definition of a dangerous dog

According to New York Law, a dangerous dog is one that attacks without provocation or justification. These attacks can victimize a person, another pet, a service animal, farm animal, along with many others. In addition to causing a serious injury or loss of life to the victim, dangerous dog status can also be assigned if a “reasonable person” deems the behavior significantly threatening to others. A reasonable person is defined as someone who has the average level of skill and care to reasonably assess whether a dog poses a threat.

What happens when a dog is deemed dangerous

Upon seeing a dangerous dog or being the victim of an attack, a person is allowed to make a complaint against the animal. Complaints can be made to your local police or animal control department. At that point, the person you are filing the complaint with will advise you of the next steps. The case will be heard before a judge, who will determine whether the dog does pose a legitimate risk to others. This entails providing evidence of your claim to the judge which establishes the clear threat the animal poses to others.

A dog being deemed dangerous does not always mean it will be ordered to be put down. The judge may order that the animal should be restrained in public, or that it should be subject to spaying or neutering, which often curbs problematic behavior. The dog may also be evaluated by a specialist, who will provide further insight into its behavior.