New York Dog Bite Attorneys
Dogs are commonly referred to as man’s best friend and, in most cases, they live up to that name. Dogs help the blind navigate, provide therapy to those with PTSD, relieve stress, and offer companionship. They are, however, still capable of causing injury to others; when a dog feels threatened, sick, scared, or is taking care of puppies, even a docile dog may become dangerous.
ANIMAL BITE STATISTICS
Each year, approximately 4.5 million dog bites are reported in the United States. Of those injured, 386,000 require emergency room treatment and about a dozen end in fatalities. Dog bite-related injuries are most common among children ages 5 to 9, and decrease as age increases. The face is the most frequent place bitten; however, mail carriers suffer bites to the lower extremities 97% of the time.
Although there is a large canine population in New York City and throughout the nation, reported dog bite numbers have decreased in recent years. According to the National Canine Research Council (NCRC), New York City had over 37,000 reported dog bites in 1971, and only 3,557 in 2011. That’s over a 90% decrease! Most attacks are from pet dogs and happen in everyday settings, most often to those already familiar with the dog.
STATISTICS BY BREED
Though all dog breeds are capable of causing injury, larger and more aggressive breeds can cause serious injury or even death. An increase in the population of large dogs has resulted in increased number of bites. While proper training and proper ownership will prevent almost any breed from becoming dangerous, some are more likely than others to show aggressive behaviors. Below are the 12 most dangerous breeds, as provided by the Center for Disease Control.
HOW TO AVOID A BITE
While there are certain breeds more prone to aggressive behavior, any dog can bite under certain circumstances. To prevent a bite, you must be aware of the behaviors that a dog might see as aggressive, as well as behaviors a threatened dog may exhibit. First of all, be respectful of the dog’s personal space, as a dog who does not know you may see you as an intruder or threat upon first meeting. Never attempt to pet an unfamiliar dog without letting him see and sniff you first for approval. Similarly, do not disturb a dog while he is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for its puppies, as he can get very protective.
THE DOG’S BODY LANGUAGE
If you see any of the following signals, make sure there is a safe amount of space between yourself and the dog. A dog that shows any of these signals is indicating that she is uncomfortable and may bite:
- Tense body
- Stiff tail
- Pulled back head and/or ears
- Eyes rolled back to show the whites
- Showing her teeth
- Intense stare
- Backing away
IF YOU THINK A DOG IS GOING TO ATTACK
If a dog is showing any of the above signals or you feel you may be attacked for any reason, follow these steps:
- Do not turn your back or scream and run away. This will trigger the dog’s natural instinct to chase.
- Stay still with your hands at your sides and avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
- Once the dog appears to lose interest, back away until the dog is out of sight.
- If the dog attacks, try to put your jacket, purse, shoe, or anything else between yourself and the dog.
- Take advantage of the height advantage between yourself and a dog by using your foot as a weapon.
- If you fall, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and neck. Remain quiet and motionless.
IF YOU ARE BITTEN
If you are bitten, do not panic. Stay calm and follow these steps to resolve the issue:
- Immediately wash the wound with soap and warm water.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, especially if the dog may have rabies.
- Report the bite to your local animal control agency. Tell them everything you know about the dog, including the owner’s name and address. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you’ve seen him before and in which direction he went.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
New York’s Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121, states that the owner or lawful custodian of a “dangerous dog” is strictly liable for medical costs caused by a dog bite to a person, companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal. A “dangerous dog” is one that without reason either attacks and injures or kills a person, companion animal, farm animal or domestic animal, or behaves in a manner in which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. There are exceptions to this rule, for example, dogs assisting the police are not given this classification. In addition, the conduct of the victim can excuse a dog from “dangerous” status.
New York courts recognize a law that imposes strict liability on the owner for damages other than medical costs. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has ruled that the owner of a domestic animal who knows (or should have known) of the animal’s vicious propensities will be held liable for any harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities.
If you are someone you know has been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact one of the highly-qualified attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff immediately. We are uncompromising in our litigation technique and will aggressively fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office online or call us at any time at 212-962-1020 (toll-free at 877-MSL-4LAW or 877-675-4529) to arrange a free initial consultation.