2005_11_dogbitesman1.JPGYesterday we were browsing Delicious, and someone had linked this very interesting page explaining New York's dog bite laws. Our problems run more to bites of the feline variety, but if you have a poochey pal, you'll definitely want to know the rules just in case Fido goes Cujo on someone at the dog run:

New York has a limited strict liability statute that makes the owner or custodian of a dangerous dog strictly liable for medical or veterinary bills resulting from any type of injuries inflicted upon a person or animal. Beyond the medical bills, NY is a "one-bite" state, meaning that one may be held liable for dog bites caused by (a) negligence, (b) violation of a leash law or a law prohibiting dogs from "running at large," and (c) ownership of a dog with the knowledge that the dog has a history of injuring people.

And there's more! There are actually criminal penalties for some dog-bite cases:

If a dog owner negligently permits his dog to bite a person, the dog previously was declared to be dangerous, and the injury is a "serious injury," the dog owner can be convicted of a misdemeanor ($1000 file and 90 days in jail). Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121, subdivision 8.) A "serious injury" is one that causes death or presents the risk of death, or causes "serious or protracted" disfigurement, "protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ." Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 108, subdivision 29.)

If a dog previoiusly declared dangerous escapes or otherwise gets to a person and kills him, the owner can be convicted of a class A misdemeanor, in addition to other penalties and civil liability. Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121, subdivision 9.)

There doesn't seem to be much relevant case-law on cat attacks. And who can we sue when our cat climb into bed with us in the middle of the night, and then throws up all over our sheets?