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JamesM

Dog mauled on neighbor's property

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I am in NY. My neighbor has two aggressive dogs (one a pit bull the other a large mix). The dogs are known to him to have dangerous propensity. His dogs have had two unprovoked attacks on other dogs that he has witnessed (not sure if they were officially reported) and in discussions in putting up a fence between our yards he has admitted to me that he does not trust his dogs and knows they are a danger and unpredictable. We split the cost of a stockade fence which was put up abutting an existing chain-link fence that his dogs were getting over and under. 

My dog (a medium golden doodle) with no vicious propensity, was able to get under the stockade fence without our knowledge (if it matters the hole was dug by his dogs from his side of the fence). On his side of the fence she was attacked by his dogs and sustained $5k in life threatening injuries. They were not outside at the time of her crossing the fence, according to him they were whipped up in a frenzy in his house, and without checking he let them out and they bee-lined for my dog and attacked her. He ran out, dove on top of my dog and yelled for help, whereas myself and another neighbor jumped the fence to assist. He was bitten (he claims by my dog) while he was protecting my dog. His dogs have zero injury. 

He apologized and offered to "pay for everything." Upon learning the cost he backed down a bit and said "well you know they were on my property, lets see if we can work it out." At that point i said, "let's talk later, but let me ask you a question, if a child ventured on to your property are you confident your dogs would not kill her?" and his response after a long pause was, "no, i am not confident." 

If it matters, his dog was loose the day before (by breaching his fence) and he was aware. We have never been on notice of trespass. 

 

Did he violate a duty of care in this incident which would expose him to liability, and specifically do I have a case to proceed with a dangerous dog action under NY state law? I am trying to figure out what is reasonable. 

 

The priority of my concern is as follows:

1) having a known dangerous animals living next to me

2) the safety of my children, dog and guests

3) full or partial reimbursement for my loss  (though ultimately I would easily trade this for his dogs not being there any more).  

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What would make you think we need or want to see nasty pictures of your dog's injuries?

 

 

11 minutes ago, JamesM said:

Did he violate a duty of care in this incident which would expose him to liability, and specifically do I have a case to proceed with a dangerous dog action under NY state law?

 

I'm not familiar with any "dangerous dog" laws in NY, but your dog trespassed on the neighbor's property, so it's unlikely that you could successfully sue for the damage to your dog.  You can contact the local animal control officer.

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NY imposes strict liability on dog owners who are aware of vicious propensity. My question is specifically pertaining to the scope of that law, and what duty of care exists under those circumstances. In NY you cannot have a death trap on your property. I am trying to figure out to the extent of the law, where does his responsibility lie? He has no signs warning of danger and his property is not enclosed by a dig proof barrier, and he knows there is a reasonable chance an animal or person entering his property will be maimed or killed. 

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22 minutes ago, JamesM said:

here are the relevant materials I found which lead me to believe he was negligent by both act and ommission:

 

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/AGM/123

https://www.leagle.com/decision/citedcases/20065986ny3d5921550

 

 

The first link is to a statute that allows for a complaint "to a dog control officer or police officer of the appropriate municipality.  Such officer shall immediately inform the complainant of his or her right to commence a proceeding as provided in subdivision two of this section and, if there is reason to believe the dog is a dangerous dog, the officer shall forthwith commence such proceeding himself or herself."  Subdivision 2 discusses the procedure for making a complaint in a municipal or justice court.

 

The second link is to a published opinion that is longer than I'm willing to read.  Also, FYI, I'm not in NY and, as far as I know, neither is any other regular at this site.

 

Here's a link to the web site of a NY lawyer who purports to be "the dog bite king of the legal universe."  It seems to have a pretty good discussion of the relevant law.

 

As far as the duty, again, since the attack happened when your dog trespassed on the neighbor's property, I'm skeptical that you could sue successfully, but by all means consult with a local attorney.

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