Category Archives: NYC Dogs

What You Must Know To Protect Yourself: NY Dog Bite Law

Every dog has the propensity to bite. Yes, even yours! By exiting the door of your apartment, you’ve accepted the risk that you or your dog could get bitten by someone else’s dog. Do you understand NY Dog Bite Law?

As inhabitants of congested NYC, we have a great responsibility to properly socialize and train our dogs to reduce the risk of bites. It’s also our responsibility to know our rights and our responsibilities. Even when we do our very best to be responsible dog owners, bites happen. After a bite incident, I always get a panicked email asking not only about behavior modification but about legal consequences.

To help you be the most prepared NYC citizen you can be, I’ve spoken to personal injury lawyer Tom Moverman to ask him what you need to know to protect yourself and your dog. His answers might not be what you’re expecting.


LL: A bite has just happened. What should the owner of the biting dog do immediately?

TM: The owner of the dog, as well as the victim, should judge the the medical complications of the dog bite. As stressful as that situation maybe, it is important to remain calm. Thereafter, both parties need to exchange names, insurance information, as well as the dog’s vaccination history. If there are witnesses nearby, it’s important to get witness testimonies, as well as their contact information.


LL: What should the victim do immediately?

TM: A victim must seek medical help as soon as possible and thereafter the victim needs to document their wounds, if possible, include pictures of the wounds and pictures of the dog that bit them. If pictures of the animal or even wounds, are not possible in that time, provide a description of the dog including the dog’s breed, color, size, and any other identifying features.

Furthermore, a victim needs to report their dog bite attack, depending on which part of New York the victim resides, there will be different places to report these injuries to e.g. the local SPCA or local police department. Contact a New York dog bite attorney, even if your dog bite incident results in a pending lawsuit or an insurance claim, it is recommended that you contact an attorney.


LL: What protections exist under the law to protect dogs that have bitten a person after the dog was provoked?

TM: Under New York law if a dog attacked out of provocation, New York’s dog bite law allows for several defenses that the dog owner can use in a civil liability claim. Some of those defenses include:

  • The dog attacked while trying to protect its home against a trespasser(s) or someone who was not on legally allowed on the property and or was attempting a criminal activity on the property.
  • The dog was trying to protect its owner or even its own puppies when the attack took place.
  • The dog was reacting to pain or suffering it experienced when it bit someone.
  • The dog was provoked  when it was being tormented, abused or assaulted by the offending injured party.


LL: Is there ever a “no fault” bite case as there are for car accidents?

TM: New York is a “mixed-state” and there is no one specific statute that governs personal injury liability for dog bites. Being a mixed-state means that New York has a dog bite statute that mixes the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability. If the person injured can show that the owner “should have known [sic]” their dog was dangerous, then the owner will be held liable for injuries caused by the dog. But there isn’t a no fault law per se.


LL: If it’s shown that the dog has a medical condition that caused a bite to happen and the medical condition is treated (example: seizures), would that change the outcome for the dog?

TM: With New York being a “mixed-state” means that it has a dog bite statute that mixes the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability, this might be difficult to change the outcome especially if the owner knew that the dog had a condition that might make it dangerous to other people.


LL: When should the owner of an aggressive dog call a lawyer? What type of lawyer should they look for?

TM: As a dog owner, if your dog bites someone you could be faced with a personal injury lawsuit or claim brought forward by the injured person and you could be charged with a misdemeanor, which is legally known as ‘harboring a dangerous dog’ among other charges. The best type of lawyer to help you in this case is an attorney who deals with animal law cases.


LL: When should the victim of a dog bite call a lawyer? What type of lawyer should they look for?

TM: It’s best for the victim of a dog bite to contact a lawyer as soon possible and before speaking to the liable parties such as the insurance agency representing the dog owner. However, before referring the insurance company to your lawyer, be sure to have the insurance company’s name, contact information, and case claim number.

A victim should by all means try to decline answering additional questions, settlement offers, or meeting dates. Knowing this means that the dog bite victim needs to contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible in order to secure the best possible compensation. A personal injury lawyer with experience with the victim’s dog state laws is the starting point for the kind of lawyer to look for.


LL: What is the one bite law?

TM: The one-bite law or rule simply put means that the dog only gets “one free bite” before it gets its owner in legal trouble. However, that one free bite under the one-bite rule also means that the dog owner is held liable for injuries the dog causes IF the owner knew or had some reason to know that the dog is capable of causing that kind of injury. New York is a mixed state and under New York law, liability for dog owners for injuries is mixed with the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability as previously mentioned. This also makes it difficult to prove a case which requires the victim to hire an experienced attorney.


LL: What is the legal definition of a “dangerous dog”?

TM: The legal definition of a dangerous dog can be classified as a dog that is  “dangerous” or “vicious” because of it’s breed, actions, or the actions of its owner, either before or after an official hearing, according to the law of the jurisdiction where the dog resides.


LL: What legally constitutes a bite? Does severity matter, and if so, by how much? 

TM: Legally a dog can be seen as harmful if it bites, jumps, slams against, swipes its paws or is over-friendly and jumps up on someone. Severity caused by these actions will matter as additional compensation is dictated by the severity of the victim’s injuries and other details from the incident in question. Severe injuries are physical injuries that result in  fractures, amputations, lacerations, puncture wounds, disfigurement as well as bruises, flesh wounds and other minor injuries. There are also infections, illnesses and other long-term medical treatments to consider when dog bites or attacks happen.


LL: What do dog training and dog behavior consultant professionals need to know?

TM: For dog training and dog behavior professionals, it’s important to have a contract put together that protects you from liability should a dog bite occur with an animal in your care.


LL: What do you wish all NYC dog owners would know about existing dog bite laws?

TM: It is important for all NYC dog owners to know that there is no “one-free bite” in New York and to understand the mixed state laws of New York dog bite liability.


Author Bio: Tom Moverman established the Lipsig Queens Law Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989; The firm’s focus is in personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents, products liability, and medical malpractice.


Hair of the Dog: NYC Dog Training, Safety, and Beer

In lieu of this week’s blog post, I bring you a podcast. Why? Because I’m the guest this week!

If you’ve ever seen Drunk History on Comedy Central, this podcast is just like that except we’re talking about all things dog. The podcast is Hair of the Dog, and the guest gets to pick the alcohol of choice. Since the hosts are huge fans of beer, I chose my favorite beer. Sarah picked up that beer and two related beers (all excellent), I made dinner and we did a tasting.

If you like to listen to podcasts while you walk the dog, you can listen to me on this week’s episode of Hair Of The Dog here.

Hair Of The Dog

Want more podcasts? Here are my favorite podcasts to listen to while out strolling with Grayson:

Invisibilia – About the Invisible Forces that Control Human Behavior

Radiolab –  Science meets human interest meets great storytelling

Science Vs – Science takes on hot topics. So far they’ve covered attachment parenting, fracking, and gun control. What they find might surprise you!

The Longest Shortest Time – A parenting podcast for everyone

The Modern Dog Trainer Podcast – Tips for dog trainers

ABA Inside Track – A podcast about Applied Behavior Analysis and recent research in the field.

TED Radio Hour – Ted Talks in Podcast form


Dog Friendly NYC Restaurants – The East Pole

Welcome to my new summer series “Dog Friendly NYC Restaurants”. Thanks to a new bill that was passed in 2015, restaurateurs are now legally able to invite pups to dine at their establishments. Dogs must be on leash, but are allowed to relax tableside in outdoor areas. NY is still a long way from reaching the dog friendly status Parisians enjoy, but this is a step in the right direction! In the summer Evan and I refuse to go to dinner without Grayson. We’re thrilled there are now many more dining options for the WHOLE family and have been spending our Friday and Saturday evenings finding the best of the best.

Beautiful Golden Retriever sits leash free inside cafe while we eat breakfast. (Paris, 2013)

Beautiful Golden Retriever sits leash free inside cafe while we eat breakfast. Cafe creme, crepes, et un chien. (Paris, 2013)

In this series Grayson and I will let you know where to go. We’ll rate each restaurant’s food quality, service, and dog friendly nature. Grayson will let you know how quickly the servers brought him water, if he was offered a biscuit or special treat, and how thrilled the staff was to see him. The first restaurant we are reviewing is one of my new favorites where I’ve spent 2 of the past 4 Friday evenings.

The East Pole

5.0         |            5.0           |        6.0

food                 service                dog

Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Cuisine: New American, Farm to Table, Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Price: $$$

Water for Grayson: Immediately
Treat for Grayson: Bacon
Love for Grayson: From 100% of the staff

Must Try: Grilled Shishito Peppers with Citrus Salt, Daikon and Fried Barcat Oyster Salad, Striped Bass, Reginetti Pasta, Goat Cheese Cheesecake


Located in a Brownstone on E 65th St between Lexington and park, The East Pole is the perfect place to bring your dog before or after a romp in nearby Central Park. The outdoor seating area is depressed, so your pup won’t be eye to eye with dogs passing on the sidewalk. If you have just taught Fido to settle calmly on a mat but haven’t tested his skills at an outdoor restaurant yet, I recommend starting here because of the reduced visual distractions.

When you arrive you will be greeted by Dennis, a talented multidisciplinary artist known in the neighborhood for his bold fashion statements. Dennis is an anomaly, and at first you might question why he is the host at this upscale farm to table restaurant on the UES. Let him take you on a journey. His character reflects everything that is great about this hidden gem. Allow people (and vegetables!) to express themselves eloquently and you will find divine flavor seeping into your life.

The dogs come first here. Before we began our evening with cocktails and the chef’s amuse bouche – radishes dressed in olive tapenade and olive oil (you will ask for a second portion) – Dennis asked us if Grayson was allowed to eat bacon. Of course! The chef fried some up and brought him out his own plate. Yes, Grayson got his own plate of bacon. Six out of five stars automatically awarded to the dog friendly category.

There is a creative cocktail list and an extensive wine list, and it’s hard to make a bad choice. The food here is just as I love it – fresh and organic, enhanced by carefully selected oils, vinegars, and spices. I am a big believer that the best food starts with high quality ingredients prepared by a great chef who knows when to leave those ingredients alone. The East Pole makes me remember the garden tomatoes of my youth, salted and consumed straight off the vine in the afternoon sun. You can taste the local (and see the local on their map of purveyors).

While we have only been to The East Pole for dinner, their brunch also looks divine. Soon we’ll be sipping peach bellini’s after off leash time in Central Park. I have my eye on the Maine Lobster sandwich.