If you are bitten or injured by a dog in New York, what are your rights? The law in the State of New York is that the owner of a domestic animal such as a dog who either knows or should have known of that animals's vicious propensities will be held liable for the harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities. Vicious propensities include the "propensity to do any act that might endanger the safety of the persons and property of others in a given situation". Once knowledge of a vicious propensity is shown "an owner faces strict liability for the harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities." Thus, if you are bitten by a dog, you must prove that the dog showed a prior propensity to bite, or at least to act aggressive. Dogs are not entitled to "one free bite". Vicious propensity may be shown by other means. The facts of each case must be looked at. Thus vicious propensity may be shown in certain circumstances where the dog has been known to growl, snap or bare its teeth. Whether the owner restrained the dog, and how it restrained it may be potentially relevant. The keeping of a dog as a guard dog may give rise to an inference that an owner had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities. The breed of the animal alone is insufficient to raise a question of fact as to its vicious propensity. It would be wrong for a court to take judicial notice that a pit bull has a greater vicious propensity than other dogs. If you are knocked down by a dog and injured, you can sue for compensation for the injuries suffered if you can show the dog had a prior propensity to knock people down,or jump on them. If you cannot show that the owner of the dog knew or should have known of the dog's prior propensity to act in such a way as to cause injury, you will not be able to recover for your injuries. The prior acts of the dogs can be proven by testimony of the victim, the dog owner, neighbors, delivery people, veterinarians, Department of Health or Animal Control records, or by any other admissible evidence. If you can show that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog's behavior which caused the harm, the dog owner will be held strictly liable for the injuries suffered. The statute of limitations in a dog bite case in New York is three years. If you have been injured by a dog you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights. Zalman Schnurman & Miner are New York Personal Injury Attorneys who handle dog bite cases, and other injuries caused by dogs and animals. They can be contacted for a free consultation at 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) Zalman Schnurman & Miner handles all cases on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee to you unless there is a recovery. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only, and is not entitled as legal advice. An attorney should be contacted to discuss any specific incident.