Provides strict liability for medical costs resulting from a dog bite or bites; allows exemptions for police work dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs; allows additional recovery where it can be proved that the dog had dangerous or vicious propensities and the owner had knowledge of such propensities.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general obligations law, in relation to liability of owners for dog bites
PURPOSE: To hold dog owners strictly liable for the medical bills incurred by a victim of their dog's bite or attack.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section 11-108 which would hold dog owners strictly liable for medical costs resulting from an individual being bitten by a dog.
Section 2 creates an exemption for police dogs, hearing dogs or service dogs who are performing their duties.
Section 3 states that this bill would be in addition to other statutory remedies and is not intended to impair or limit other available causes of action.
JUSTIFICATION: Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten annually by dogs and about 750,000 of those victims seek medical attention. Victims often have serious injuries to their face and limbs, yet many of them cannot recover under New York State law. Currently, the victim of an attack can only recover if he proves the dog is vicious and that the owner knew of the dog's vicious propensities. Over the last few years the number of dog bite injuries has increased and, more recently in the Capital District, there has been a series of dog-related injuries. Victims of these attacks often need stitches, vaccinations and re-constructive surgeries; therefore, it is only fair that the owner of the animal compensate the victim for these expenses. Punishing a particular breed of dog will not end the unprovoked attacks, but encouraging dog owners to take adequate measures to ensure their dogs are well-trained and socialized can improve public safety. The goal of this bill is to encourage responsible dog ownership while ensuring that victims receive compensation for their injuries.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009/2010 - S.422 Remained in the Senate Committee on Judiciary 2007/2008 - S.723 Remained in the Senate Committee on Judiciary 2005/2006 - S.228 Remained in the Senate Committee on Judiciary
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: On the sixtieth day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1191 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. BRESLIN, ADAMS, DILAN, PARKER, SAMPSON, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the general obligations law, in relation to liability of owners for dog bites THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general obligations law is amended by adding a new section 11-108 to read as follows: S 11-108. LIABILITY OF OWNER OF DOG; INJURY TO OTHERS; EXCEPTIONS. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, THE OWNER OF A DOG SHALL BE STRICTLY LIABLE FOR MEDICAL COSTS RESULTING FROM AN INDIVIDUAL BEING BITTEN BY SUCH OWNER'S DOG. IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ANY COMPENSATION ABOVE AND BEYOND MEDICAL COSTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE VICTIM MUST PROVE THE DOG HAD DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS PROPENSITIES AND THE OWNER HAD KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH PROPENSITIES. 2. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL AUTHORIZE THE BRINGING OF AN ACTION PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION AGAINST ANY PERSON, GOVERN- MENTAL ENTITY OR INSTRUMENTALITY USING A POLICE WORK DOG, HEARING DOG OR SERVICE DOG FOR ITS INTENDED PURPOSE IF THE BITE OR BITES OCCURRED WHILE THE DOG WAS DEFENDING ITSELF FROM AN ANNOYING, HARASSING OR PROVOKING ACT, OR ASSISTING AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ENTITY OR LOCALITY IN THE PERFORM- ANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. 3. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE DEEMED TO LIMIT OR IMPAIR ANY CAUSE OF ACTION AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW AVAILABLE TO A PERSON INJURED AS A RESULT OF A DOG BITE OR BITES. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER STATUTORY REMEDIES. S 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05180-01-1