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Dog Bites

Recent Examples of Dog Bite Cases Show Difficulties Involved in Ensuing Legal Battles

September 15, 2014 | Michael Barasch

Dog bite cases have a variety of challenges, both emotional and legal, that attorneys must navigate through to produce a successful result for their clients. Consider the following example:

Vicente Pickett-Garcia was walking along a creek with a small group in Binghamton, New York when he was suddenly approached by a pit bull. The dog’s owner had let the dog out of her SUV, and asked the group if they were scared of dogs. The dog sniffed Vicente a bit before walking off, but then suddenly became extremely aggressive and bit Vicente four times, leading to a stint in the hospital and two full months of recovery.

There are certain standards of determining whether a dog owner is liable for injuries occurring in dog bites, but the more emotional aspect comes in declaring whether a dog is “dangerous.” Dog owners are likely to stand up for their pets no matter what, while victims of their bites will be understandably angry and focused on justice.

Here are the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ standards for what constitutes a dangerous dog:

  • Dogs that attack people or domestic animals without any justification
  • Dogs that behave in a manner that most reasonable people believe poses an unjustified threat of physical injury or death
  • Dogs that attack service dogs, hearing dogs or guide dogs without justification, causing injury or death

Vicente’s case was settled out of court, and the dog is now required to wear a muzzle and leash when away from home. But the dog gave no indication that it was going to attack, and had no troubling history other than a previous owner that was abusive. The absence of warning signs is one of the biggest difficulties in dog bite cases: even apparently good dogs can lash out if triggered a certain way.

Contact a New York dog bite injury attorney with [ln::firm_name] for more information if you or a loved one has been the victim of an animal bite. You may be entitled to compensation.

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