When a dog has a history of biting, the owner is responsible for any damages their dog causes. If someone else’s dog bites your dog, you may be able to recover compensation for your pet’s medical bills. Thanks to “Benny’s Law,” signed into Nassau County legislation on March 11, 2021, the dog in question may also be deemed dangerous, and dog owners will need to warn their neighbors.
New York’s One Bite Rule
In New York, dog owners are protected by the controversial “One Bite Law.” Under this legislation, dog owners may not face civil consequences if their dog does not have a history of biting. Unless the dog is deemed dangerous, New York dog owners get “one free bite.” Liability and other consequences apply after the dog’s second incident.
What Makes a Dog Dangerous?
A dog is dangerous if it has attacked a person or animal without provocation and been deemed dangerous by a judge or animal control agency. If you or your pets are ever involved in a dog attack, you must report the incident to local authorities to help ensure dangerous dogs are classified appropriately.
In Nassau County, report dog bites to the Health Department at 516-227-9697, the Nassau County SPCA at 516-576-2921, and the police department nearest you.
What Is Benny’s Law?
Benny’s Law exists to protect neighborhoods from dangerous dogs. If someone owns a dangerous dog or their dog is involved in an incident, their animal will appear on a registry, so neighbors know to stay away.
Nassau Legislator John Ferretti created the law after his dog, Benny, was violently attacked by a neighbor’s dog. Although Ferretti himself did not sustain injuries, he was concerned about others in the neighborhood. As he explained to CBS New York:
“I continued to watch community members walk right past that house, with their animals, with their babies… completely unaware that there is a dangerous animal 20 feet from them.”
The law requires owners of dangerous dogs to notify neighbors who live within a 1,000-foot radius about their animal’s status. The Nassau County SPCA will also work with the local police department to maintain a registry with information about dangerous dogs and documented dog bite incidents.
An SPCA representative tells CBS:
“Sooner or later, that dog may mistake an infant on the front lawn for another pet and go after that. So this is why these bills are very important.”
If another dog attacks your dog, call the police. Whatever you do, do not attempt to rescue your dog, or otherwise get involved in the dog fight, as you could sustain serious injuries.
Anytime you are physically or financially harmed by a dog bite, you have the right to file suit against the dog’s owner. Whether you or someone you love has been attacked, or your dog has suffered at the jaws of someone else’s animal, explore your rights and legal options with the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli.
We are committed to keeping you, your loved ones, and your pets safe, and we are available 24/7 to take your call.
For a free case evaluation and personalized legal attention, please call us at (516) 628-6402 or send us a message online.