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What do I do if a dog bites?

Photo of Harlan Thompson
  1. Call 911 immediately
  2. Collect the owner's contact information
  3. If the dog appears not to have an owner, seek out anyone that may recognize the dog
  4. Tend to the bite properly, via medical assistance or otherwise
  5. Contact your medical provider to determine coverage for treatment
  6. Report the bite to the DOH (Department of Health)

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Dog bites must be reported within 24 hours of the incident. You must report the incident to the DOH by completing this form: VPHS 55 - EGP. The future of the animal and it's owner depends on the investigation of the DOHMH (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene).

If you live in a neighborhood with dog owners, you should be aware of the definition of a 'dangerous dog', in the eyes of the DOH. A dog that is threatening or one that attacks or bites a person is considered dangerous. Read this document to get more details: Article 161: Animals.

Dog Bite Laws

The Dog Bite laws in New York may be a bit confusing because New York is a "mixed state". Dog owners in New York are held liable for medical and veterinary costs. They must pay for any medical costs that the victim requires. However, the victim must prove that the dog owner was negligent in causing the dog bite. Does the dog have a tendency to bite people or other animals? Was the victim trespassing or not? Was the dog leashed or not? There are many questions to ask to determine who was or was not at fault.

The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit is three years from the date of the attack. Dog bite cases in New York can get complicated. If you have been bitten by a dog, we advise that you seek the counsel of a New York Dog Bite Lawyer.

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