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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

New York Dog Bite Laws | Everything You Should Know

New York has its own set of laws regulating dog owners' responsibility for injuries brought on by their pets.

Unfortunately, dog bite victims often range in age from five to nine, and many of these incidents involve dogs with whom the victim is already familiar. Anyone who has a dog bite needs to be aware of their legal rights, whether they are aware of their attacker or not.

Dog Bite Laws in NY

Dog Bite Laws in New York

The laws governing dog bites in New York are quite confusing because they don't adhere to a single set of guidelines. New York adheres to one-bite and strict liability statutes because it is a "mixed" state. For help regarding a dog bite or animal attack, contact experienced Long Island dog bite lawyers.

One-Bite and Strict Liability Laws

Dog biting laws and punishments can be broadly classified into two categories. Most "One Bite" rules existed before the 20th century. It mandated that owners could only be held accountable for dog bites if they had prior knowledge that the dog might bite. This rule protected dog owners whose dog bit someone for the first time. NY also has a legal limit for brake pads.

Many states now abide by the strict liability dog bite rule, a more recent regulation. According to this rule, if any dog bite incidents occur, defendants are responsible regardless of whether anything could have been done to prevent the bite. In fact, they hold the dog owner liable for any victims of their dog bites, assuming the dog wasn't provoked.

Dog owners in New York are responsible for victims' medical and veterinary expenses if they know that their dogs are dangerous. The victim must show that the dog had a serious tendency to fight people and that the owner was aware of the dog's aggressive behavior. Additionally, victims cannot receive compensation in New York based only on carelessness.

Section 123 of the New York Agriculture & Markets Code protects victims of dog bites and non-bite injuries, such as those caused when a dog knocks somebody to the ground. According to the law, the owner is held responsible if a "dangerous dog" injures someone else, livestock, or another person's pet.

As per the law, a "dangerous dog" is one that:

  • Attacks, injures, or kills a person, animal, or pet.

  • Acts in a way that shows it is a "serious and unreasonable imminent threat of significant physical damage or death."

A law enforcement dog performing its responsibilities cannot be deemed a "dangerous dog."

Exceptions to the Dog Bite Rules

Dog bites usually lead to a lawsuit. However, New York dog bite laws provide certain legal defenses for dog owners. The exceptions to New York dog bite rules apply if:

  • The dog was protecting its house from intruders.

  • It stood guard for its owner or puppies.

  • The dog is responding to or suffering from pain.

  • Lastly, the victim harassed, abused, or assaulted the dog.

As a side note, you can find out if cars or trucks cause more accidents in New York.

When Can a Person File a Dog Owner Attack Lawsuit?

In most cases, the victim must prove that the owner was aware of the history of the dog's behavior to establish dog-owner liability.

The victim can sue a dog owner for attacking in the following cases:

  • If there have been prior complaints about the dog's violent conduct, the owner can be held accountable, especially if the dog is frequently aggressive or has previously bitten someone.

  • When the dog is trained to attack, the owner is completely aware of the dog’s behavior. Therefore, the victim can rightfully sue the dog owner for the violent attack.

  • If the dog frequently jumps on people and the dog has shown such behavior in the past to the owner’s knowledge.

  • When the past records show that the dog has previously engaged in frightful, vicious behavior.

  • If the dog has attacked before. This applies under the one-bite rule.

When is the Owner Not Responsible for a Bite

When Is the Dog Owner Not Responsible for a Dog Bite?

In some circumstances, a dog owner may not be held accountable for an attack:

  • The owner may not be held liable if the victim tried to harm the dog or its owner or otherwise behaved in a way that legally authorized the dog to attack.

  • Even if a dog has attacked before, an owner may not be held responsible for attacks committed on people who are on the owner's land without permission.

  • If the owner is aware that the dog has never bitten anyone before, owners are not liable for assaults under the one-bite rule.


If anyone is bit by a dog in New York, they should contact an experienced lawyer who has dealt with dog bite cases. The Law Office of Carl Maltese is among the top firms that take such cases and provide fair compensation to the victim. A dog owner can also retest the allegations against the victim if they are sure that their dog wasn’t at fault.


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