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NY Appellate Court Decides Dog Bite Case, Court Grants Summary Judgement to Defendants


Dog ownership is a serious commitment that is often misguided. Pet stores have made it easy for people to purchase puppies without having any knowledge of their breeding, background, or breed characteristics. Unlike reliable certified breeders, who inquire about the person’s knowledge of the breed and facilities to maintain large breeds, pet stores do little if anything to ensure that the purchaser is able to care for the dog. Many pet stores carry “bully breed” dogs. They sell them without providing the purchaser with any warnings about what the breed was originally bred for. All domesticated dogs were specifically bred to handle a need among people. Some breeds were bred specifically as guard dogs and as such were bred not to form as close a bond with people as other breeds.

People may purchase a large breed puppy because it is cute and has wrinkles, but in some cases, they might as well bring a loaded gun into their homes. A New York Injury Lawyer said more people are purchasing breeds like the Neapolitan Mastiff and others, which were bred to be guard dogs. These people think that they can make the dog a gentle pet. These dogs need exercise and they need a job. They were never intended as pets.

On February 8, 2008, a little girl went to her brother’s fiancée’s house to spend the night with her brother and his future bride and her daughter. That night, she played with the three dogs that belonged to the family. One was a 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff, the second dog was a Golden Retriever, and the third was a Maltese which weighed less than ten pounds. The following morning, she went into the living room to say good-bye to the dogs. She grabbed dogs by the face, put her face up to theirs and kissed their noses. When she got to the Mastiff, she was sleeping. The child grabbed the sleeping dog’s face and pressed her face to the dog’s face. The dog was startled and leapt up. The dog’s foot hit the child in the face, causing a deep cut that required stiches. The child fell over the ottoman and struck her face on the coffee table which caused her to break her nose. The dog never growled, barked, bared its teeth, or bit the child. In fact, the dog was so terrified by the attack that she retreated to the kitchen and hid.

One month later, the dog bit a friend and the owner’s put her down because they were afraid that she would hurt someone else. A Queens Personal Injury Lawyer said they advised that they had purchased the dog from a pet store. They were unaware of the reputation of the breed and had no knowledge that they were considered guard dogs and not family pets. They had not gotten the dog any formal training and had not consulted a professional about any breed specific issues that Neapolitan Mastiffs might have. They had never cautioned the child when she came to visit that you should not sneak up or startle a dog.

They never told the child to be cautious of the dog, because they did not have any idea that the dog might have any proclivity to cause harm. The plaintiff, the child’s mother, claims that the fiancée who owned the dog, should have known about the breed before she purchased it. Further, the dog was quite large, common sense would be to restrain it when a small child is around. At the very least, the child should have been cautioned about going face to face with any dog. A face to face greeting is a threat to a dog. A Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they are likely to react toward the human who exhibits this behavior in much the same fashion that they would if a dog threatened them in that manner.

The court finds that the dog acted in a normal dog like manner. The dog was large and struck the child with a foot. There was no indication that the dog had any vicious tendencies. The motion by the defendant owners of the dog was granted in that they were given a summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates New York Criminal Lawyers are available to help you. Our New York Dog Bite Lawyers are trained to provide you with the best defense possible. Whether you have been injured by the negligence of another, been a victim of medical malpractice or a construction accident, call us for help and guidance.

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