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Is Your Dog Playful, Rambunctious, or Vicious?

October 21, 2014

Not all dogs are created equal. Regardless of whether an animal is domesticated or not, it is still an animal, and even the friendliest of dogs are not exempt from the off-chance it may bite if provoked.

If a dog feels threatened, scared, or senses danger, it will bite.  Given this information, what is the liability of a dog owner if their dog bites a person? Is the owner automatically responsible for injuries if his/her dog bites a person? The answer is NO.

According to NYS law, it must be proven that the owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious or dangerous propensities.  Without such proof, the owner is not liable. Thus, it is often said that “every dog is entitled to one bite”.  While it is not necessary that the dog actually had bitten someone before, he must have at least exhibited vicious or dangerous propensities before the attack.  If your dog has a propensity to over-playfulness and jumping, you may be held liable if your dog injures someone when it jumps on them.  Proper obedience training would be a good safeguard against a possible lawsuit, as well as keeping your dog separate from company if you know it has a tendency for jumping, excitability, or aggression.