Dog Laws In New York

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While New York does not have a dog bite statute, New York does have a statute for civil penalties. Under that statute, in addition to a dog owner’s liability when negligence is proven, a dog owner who negligently permits his or her dog to bite someone is subject to a civil penalty of up to $400. In cases where the dog causes a serious injury, the owner will be subject to a civil penalty up to $800.

New York also has a Dangerous Dog statute. The statute defines a “dangerous dog” as a dog that:

1. without justification, attacks a person, a companion animal, a farm animal or a domestic animal and causes physical injury or death. “Physical injury” means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain;

2. a dog that behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. “Serious physical injury” means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or serious disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or impairment of the function of a bodily organ;

3. a dog that, without justification, attacks a service dog, guide dog or hearing dog and causes physical injury or death.

In New York, a landlord can be held liable for injuries caused by a tenant if the injured person can prove that the landlord was negligent. A landlord who has knowledge that a tenant keeps a dangerous dog on the premises and fails to take reasonable steps to remove the dog, or to ensure that it is fully contained to prevent injury, may be liable for damages stemming from negligence.

In addition, some cities, counties, in New York prohibit certain breeds of dogs from being kept at rental properties and a landlord can be held liable for injuries when he or she knowingly allows a prohibited breed from staying on the property.


In New York, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of injury. This means you must file a lawsuit against the owner/keeper of the dog within that time or you will be forever time barred from pursuing a case.

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The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed through the use of this website.  Laws relating to dog injuries can, and do, change.  To learn your legal rights, contact The Snow Law Firm, or contact a licensed and experienced attorney in your state.


In most states, when a minor is bitten or injured by a dog, the statute of limitation period does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18.  Thus, for example, if an 11-year-old child is bitten or injured by a dog in a state that has a 3 year statute of limitation period within which to file a lawsuit, they will have three years from the date they turn 18 years of age, and would thus have to file a lawsuit before they turn 21 years of age.  In most instances, however, it is recommended that a parent or guardian bring a claim for a dog bite or injury claim on behalf of a minor child before waiting for the injured child to turn 18.


Some states limit the type of damages that a person bitten or injured by a dog can recover.  In most states, however, a person who is bitten or injured by a dog can recover damages that include medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, physical pain and mental suffering, scarring, permanency of injury, periods of total and/or partial disability and loss of spousal consortium.