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Child Bitten by Dog Chained in Back Yard, New York Appellate Court Overturns Prior Decision


In New York, the laws that cover an attack by a dog on a person or other animal are handled in civil court as a motion to recover damages. A New York Injury Lawyer said in a situation where a dog has bitten a person, the dog is usually tied up or on a leash and a stranger approaches it. It is important to note that the dog is almost always considered at fault in this type of encounter even though the person had to approach the dog and not the other way around.

However, it is never a good idea to leave a dog chained or tied without a fence around them. People are often attracted to dogs and are known to approach them. No one should approach a strange dog, especially when the dog is tied and cannot retreat. Most cornered animals will turn and fight. A tied or chained dog is no exception. In some cases, an owner of a vicious dog uses poor judgment. One particular case demonstrates several issues.

In this case, a dog owner often left his dog chained in the back yard. The chain was attached to a stake in the ground, and there was no fence around the back yard. The dog was known to grown, bark and lunge to the end of his chain if anyone came in to the backyard. A Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyer said on one occasion, the dog’s owner told one of his neighbors to stay away from the dog because it was known to bite. On June 26, 1986, a child approached the dog and was bitten. It is critical to note that at the time of the attack, the dog was on a chain and was in his own back yard. Thus, the child who was bitten had ventured on to the property that was owned by the dog’s owner and gone into the reach of the dog who was secured by a chain.

The trial court that the case was presented to dismissed the case because they stated that the child’s lawyer had failed to make a prima facie case to establish a complaint. On appeal, the verdict was overturned and the Supreme Court advised that they felt that the complainant had provided sufficient evidence that the dog was vicious. This was proven by the dog’s proclivity to growl, bark and lunge to the end of his chain at people. They also felt that the case was proven that the owner of the dog knew that the dog was vicious. The neighbor who was warned to stay away from the dog because it bites proved this. The Supreme Court maintains that the evidence established that the dog was vicious and the owner knew that it was, so the dog should have been maintained in a manner that would protect the public from the dog.

The question remains, that if the dog was chained in the owner’s back yard, was it a danger to the public? If the child was trespassing on the property of the owner and was bitten by the owner’s dog, is it the owner’s fault? Unfortunately, the days of being able to protect your own property are being threatened. This case is only one of several. Some have even been brought when a homeowner’s dog bit a man possessing burglary tools. The man had climbed a fence into the backyard of the home in order to break in to it. The owner’s dog was on a chain inside the fenced yard in the middle of the night when he bit the burglar. A Queens Personal Injury Lawyer said the burglar filed suit against the homeowner and won. If you are a dog owner facing charges because someone trespassed on your property and approached your dog, you need an attorney to represent you.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we are here to help you. Our New York Dog Bite Lawyers will protect you and your dog. If you are the victim of a vicious dog or other animal, medical malpractice or have been injured due to the negligence of another, contact us right away!

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