Proving A Dog Has Vicious Propensities.

May 20, 2013

When someone is attacked by a dog, it makes sense that the dog’s owner should provide compensation for that injury.  Unfortunately, obtaining fair compensation in Buffalo dog bite cases can be very difficult.  When someone suffers personal injury from a dog bite, New York State law requires the injured person to prove that the dog’s owner knew that the dog had “vicious propensities” before the bite occurred.

What must actually be proven to establish the owner’s awareness of the dog’s vicious propensities is a complicated area of law.  Factors frequently considered by a judge or jury when deciding whether a dog has vicious propensities – and whether the owner knew of should have known about them – include the following:

  1. Prior similar acts of which the owner was aware.  For example, if the dog caused a personal injury by biting someone, a prior biting incident would help prove that dog’s vicious propensities.
  2. Evidence that it had been known to growl, snap or bare its teeth.
  3. Whether the owner chose to restrain the dog, and how the dog was restrained.
  4. Whether the dog was kept as a guard dog.

Other factors that may be considered as proof of vicious propensities include why the dog attacked and the severity of the attack.  In rare cases, New York courts have ruled that an unprovoked, violent attack may be evidence that the dog has vicious propensities even if there are no prior biting incidents.

This list does not include everything that may be considered to prove vicious propensities.  Every dog bite case is very different and should be carefully examined to see if there is evidence of vicious propensities on the part of the dog involved.

If you have been injured by a dangerous dog, please call us at 716-400-0000 with any questions regarding your legal rights.