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In Most New York Dog Attacks, a Child is the Victim

33 Canine Homicides in 2010

Approximately 1,000 of the daily U.S. emergency medical care requirements are the result of dog bite injuries. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that dogs bite 4.5 million Americans in any given year, including thousands of children in New York. Furthermore, one in five of those dog bites will result in injuries that require medical attention.

According to a report from the public information website,, pit bulls, rottweilers, presa canarios, and their various mixes are responsible for 65 percent of all canine-related homicides. Out of the thirty-three known canine homicides that occurred in 2010, twenty involved children under the age of 10.

The following statistics reflect the typical pattern in dog bites:

  • Children between the ages of five to nine years old are the most frequent victims
  • The face is the most likely target of the attack
  • People with dogs in their homes run a higher risk of suffering from a dog bite
  • Among adults, males are most likely to be bitten

Victims of aggressive New York City dog attacks often require reconstructive surgery, including skin grafting, tissue expansion and scar diminishment at a cost that can range from $250,000 up to $1 million.

Any Dog Can Bite

Dog lovers tend to link the risk of aggressive behavior to breed and size, yet even small dogs are capable of inflicting serious injury. For example, in October 2000, a pet Pomeranian killed a six-week-old baby. The typical Pomeranian seldom reaches over four pounds in weight.

Dog Bite Law in New York

Under New York law, a dog owner is absolutely liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs if the owner has prior knowledge, or should have knowledge, of the dog’s propensity for violence. However, if the owner has no knowledge of the dog’s likelihood of violence, they generally cannot be held liable.

This defense has become to be known as the “one free bite” rule since the owner will not know the dog to be violent until it bites someone – although some courts have noted that are certainly circumstance where, even though the dog has not yet bitten anyone, its vicious nature is obvious. For example, it may be sufficient to show that the dog is constantly baring its teeth or a “beware of dog” sign is posted on the property.

Prevention and Remedies

In New York’s summer and fall months kids spend more time outside and away from adult supervision. It also involves travel to new locations and the increased likelihood that your child will come into contact with unknown dogs. Prevention and supervision is the best policy. However, dog attacks can still happen to even the most cautious child or adult.

New York premises liability law holds an animal owner responsible for the injuries or death his pet causes. When the dog owner is held accountable, his insurer will often “low ball” the victim’s family, or even try to deny the policyholder’s liability altogether. Until all medical evaluations have been performed and the injuries have been evaluated over time, a victim cannot know the true expense and damages of a dog attack.

Do not sign any agreement without first consulting a reputable New York dog bite attorney. A reputable lawyer will investigate to determine the vicious propensities of dog as required under New York law; identify the responsible party and rightfully hold them accountable for their animal’s actions.

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