When we think about dogs, we think, “man’s best friend,” and we view them as family members. Unfortunately, that does not mean dogs cannot hurt us, especially in cases where the dog owner is irresponsible. To hold a dog owner, property or business owner, or landlord legally responsible, New York State law requires us to show that they knew or should have known about their dog’s previous tendencies of being vicious. A dog does not need a prior history of biting to be deemed “dangerous.” We can prove a dog is vicious by establishing that beforehand the dog was aggressive, growled excessively, attempted to bite, or was involved in a prior attack.
However, if the dog has previously bitten or attacked someone in the past, the owner can be held strictly liable. Once owners are legally liable, they are responsible for medical costs, lost earnings, related out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.