New York Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

The New York City Department of Health estimates the city’s canine population to be approximately 500,000 dogs, according to an article published by CBS New York. Many of these pets are beloved members of their families and friendly to people they encounter on the street. However, some dogs are vicious and unpredictable, attacking unfortunate strangers in their vicinity without provocation.

About 4,000 dog bites are reported in New York City each year, according to the New York City Department of Health. Young children are at greatest risk of being bitten. Across the state, 6,600 children are treated at NY hospitals for dog bites and 200 are hospitalized for severe bite injuries, according to the New York State Department of Health.

What Should You Do if You Have Been Attacked By a Dog?

If you or your child has been attacked by a dog, there are several steps that you should take:


The first priority is to seek medical attention. There is risk of infection, even with less serious injuries, because of the variety of bacteria present in the mouths of dogs. Wash out the wound with soap and water, then go see a doctor immediately. Dog bites also are the primary transmitters of rabies to humans worldwide.


After any animal bite, a report must be filed with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within 24 hours, pursuant to Section 11.03 of the New York City Health Code. Here’s a link to an online form to file a report.


If someone else’s dog has attacked you, causing serious injury, it is important to get the name and address of the dog’s owner so that health officials can follow up with the owner. Dogs in public must be on a leash six feet or shorter in length. Under Section 123 of the New York Code, the owner or custodian of a dangerous dog can be held liable for injuries the dog inflicts on others if the plaintiff can show that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s vicious propensities.


It’s prudent to consult with an experienced New York City dog bite attorney as soon as possible to determine if you have a claim for compensation. A dog who attacks and injures without justification qualifies as a dangerous dog. Most of the time, a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance will cover dog bites that occur inside or outside of the home. New York had the highest average insurance payout per dog bite claim, according to a 2014 study by the Insurance Information Institute.

In addition to the liability of dog owners, landlords and property owners also have a duty to remove dogs that are known to be vicious. At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing victims of dog bite injuries. We can evaluate your potential claim and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to receive.

Nationwide, almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly one in every five of those incidents results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention.

dog bit statisticsAs reported by

  • During 2013, there were 32 fatalities from dog bites in the U.S.
  • Pit Bulls (25 deaths), Rottweilers (1 death), and Bullmastiffs (2 deaths) accounted for 88% of those fatalities
  • More than half of the victims (18) were children 7 years of age or younger
  • More than 1/3 of the victims were visiting or temporarily residing with the dog owner at the time of the attack
  • Of the victims 7 years of age or younger, 58% were fatally injured while in the care of a babysitter


Protecting Children from Dog Attacks

Children have the highest risk of being bitten, and any breed of dog is capable of biting under certain circumstances, according to the CDC. In fact, as stated by the CDC, children and adults who have a dog in the home are more likely to be bitten, and adults with 2 or more dogs at home are 5 times more likely to suffer a dog bite than adults with no dogs in their households.

The agency recommends that you spay or neuter your dog, never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, and teach your children the following safety tips:

  • Never disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies.
  • Before petting a dog, always let it see you and sniff you first.
  • Do not approach a strange dog.
  • If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, remain still.
  • Do not scream or run from a dog.
  • If a dog knocks you down, roll up into a ball and remain still.
  • If a dog bites you, report it to an adult immediately.

Decreasing Incidence of Dog Bites

Despite the large canine population in New York City and the nation, the incidence of reported dog bites has actually decreased in recent decades. The National Canine Research Council (NCRC) states that New York City had 37,488 reported dog bites in 1971, and only 3,557 in 2011. This trend has been consistent in U.S. cities throughout the nation. Los Angeles County, for example, had 40,000 reported cases in 1972 and only 8,356 in 2011.

New York dog bite statistics

Still, serious and fatal dog bites occur each year. A 2013 article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association identified a combination of preventable factors in 256 dog bite related fatalities. The factors included the absence of an able-bodied person to intervene, no familiar relationship between the victim and dog, dogs kept isolated from positive human contact, owner’s mismanagement of dog, and owner’s history of abuse or neglect of dogs. Four or more of the factors occurred in 80 percent of the fatal attacks.

A vicious dog is a menace and an owner who fails to maintain control of a vicious dog puts others at risk. If you or a loved one has been seriously bitten by a dog that is not your family pet, talk to a New York dog bite injury lawyer at Hecht, Kleeger and Damashek, P.C. about your legal rights to obtain full compensation to cover medical bills and recover from a dog bite.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Home and Recreational Safety – Dog Bites

CBS New York article – Health Dept.: 80% of NYC Dogs Not Licensed –

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Report an Animal Bite

Laws of New York: Section 123 New York Code[email protected]%20&LIST=LAW%20&

National Canine Research Council (NCRC): Reported bites decreasing