There are few things more traumatic than being attacked by a vicious dog.
Depending on the breed, a dog bite can be up to 313 pounds per square
inch, which is more than enough pressure to break through skin, muscle,
tendons and even bone.
 While the damage a dog can inflict with one bite is staggering, keep in
mind that a dog can bite up to 5 times per second.
Every year more than 4 million people in the United States become victims of
 Unfortunately, children who are the most vulnerable to injury from bites
are at the highest risk for being bitten. Most young children are unable
to recognize warning signs of a dog about to attack and often put their
face close the dog’s face, which often results in severe facial
lacerations, infection, scarring and sometimes permanent disfigurement
and that’s just the physical damage. After a dog attack children
can suffer from a variety of emotional and mental conditions.
While some dog attacks cannot be prevented, there are some tips that may
diffuse a hostile situation;
- “Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog or scream.
- Remain motionless (e.g., "be still like a tree") when approached
by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and be still.
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.”
The above tips may prevent serious injury or even save your life in the
event of a dog attack, but stopping vicious behavior altogether is the
answer to America’s dog bite epidemic. The responsibility falls
with dog owners to properly train and socialize their dogs, so they interact
safely in the community. Certain breeds do have a tendency to behave more
aggressively than others and require more hours of training. Most bites
are caused by a dog being fearful, possessive over objects, dominant or jealous.
 Such negative behavior traits, must be immediately identified and remedied
by the dog owner, so to prevent aggressive behavior from manifesting into
The state of New York recognizes a dog as a “vicious dog” if
the dog has a “propensity to do any act that might endanger the
safety of the persons and property of others in a given situation.”
 A dog that has a history of biting others will almost always meet the
vicious dog threshold, but many acts or behaviors other than dog bites
can meet the vicious as well. Acts such as chasing others, barking aggressively,
showing teeth or growling, may cause the courts to label the dog as vicious.
The legal consequences for a dog attack are several and often times include
court ordered euthanize of the dog and tort liability for the dog owner.
In the state of New York, “an owner of a dog who either knows or
should have known of that dog’s vicious propensities will be held
liable for the harm the dog causes as a result of the dog’s propensities.” Therefore, even if the dog owner doesn’t have direct knowledge that
their dog harmed another, but should have been aware of the danger the
dog posed to others, the owner may be held strictly liable to any parties
their dog injures.
The law puts the responsibility on the dog owner to be conscious of their
dog’s behavior and incentives them to put a stop to any vicious
propensities their dog may exhibit.
At the law firm of Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor, we understand
the damage a dog bite can cause, both physically and emotionally and we
know dog bite litigation. Please don’t hesitate to
contact us if you’ve been injured by a dog. Our personal injury attorneys are
ready to represent the injured in and around Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie,
and surrounding areas.
 Collier v. Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d 444, 446, 807 N.E.2d 254, 256 (2004)
Id. at 256