Published on:

New York Court Denies Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion in Dog Bite Case


A man was walking on a public sidewalk when a dog, which came from the building, charged him and bit him two times, causing him injury. The man commences an action against the owner of the dog. However, the owner of the dog filed motion for a decision without proceeding.

The owner of the dog lived on the second floor of the building during the incident. The owner stated that to access his second floor apartment, he would use an interior stair case. He also stated there was no fence around the front yard of the building.

The owner also states that while he was going down the interior stairs of his building to let his dog out the front door, he noticed the door to the outside was open. He admitted to have an opened door on the way into the building just prior to the incident. The owner denies knowledge of any prior complaint about any vicious tendency of his dog.

The owner argues that his dog didn’t have a vicious propensity and had never bitten or threatened anyone prior to the incident. He argues that in the absence of a known vicious propensity of the dog, a violation of the leash law is insufficient for a finding of common law negligence. Based on records, the leash law provides a person who owns, possesses or controls a dog shall not permit it to be in any public place or in any open or unfenced area abutting on a public place unless the dog is effectively restrained by a leash or chain not more than six feet long.

The man however argues that the owner knew of the dog’s vicious propensity and therefore should be found negligent for the dog attack. He further argues that even if the dog had no propensity for violence, a violation of the leash law, coupled with a bite, is sufficient to create potential liability to a dog owner.

The man adduced no evidence from anyone with personal knowledge that the dog had a propensity for violence. However, even without proof of a vicious propensity, liability may be found against a dog owner based on a violation of the states leash law, which prohibits the owners from permitting their dog to be in a public place unleashed.

On the day of the incident, after letting the dog down the interior stairs, the owner came down the stairs and found the door to the front of the house was open. He said he sent the dog upstairs and when he went to close the front door, he saw the man in front of the house. It was then that the man told the owner that his dog had bitten him.

The owner of the dog admitted that he and his family had opened the door as they had just come in carrying groceries. The owner doesn’t deny that the door was still open when the dog was let down the stairs. If the owner let the dog go down the stairs unleashed, after leaving the front door open, it would amount to permit the dog to have access to the public sidewalk unleashed and it is a violation of the leash law.

In the present case, when the dog was not leashed, there is a question of fact as to whether the owner contributed to the dog getting to the sidewalk by either leaving the door open or failing to make sure the door was closed or failing to make sure the dog was leashed. Consequently, the court finds that the owner’s motion for decision without trial is denied.

Some people treat their dog as part of their family and their life by being a buddy. Most of the time, dogs like other animal, they became harsh if they experience pain or cruelty from other people. Just like human beings, they tend to protect themselves from harm. If your dog is in trouble, you may ask for legal advice from the NY Dog Bite Attorneys or New York Injury Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

Posted in:
Published on:

Comments are closed.

Contact Information