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Dog Bites in NYC: What You Need to Know About Licensing and Liability

Every year, countless New Yorkers experience the trauma of a dog bite. With over 600,000 pet dogs in New York City, incidents are bound to happen. If you or a loved one has been bitten, understanding the city’s dog licensing laws and their implications on liability can be crucial for your case.

Navigating Dog Bites in NYC: Understanding Licensing and Liability Essentials
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Liability in a Dog Bite Injury Case

In New York, dog owners can be held liable for damages beyond just medical expenses under specific circumstances. Specifically, New York uses a combination of the “one-bite” rule and “strict liability”. This means that when a dog bites someone, the owner is automatically held liable for any losses related to medical expenditures.

However, if the dog had a tendency to bite or act aggressively or it had already bitten someone in the past, it can be held liable for damages beyond medical expenditures even for the first bite. These damages can be lost wages, property damages, and other noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.

It is worth noting that there are some exceptions to these rules. For example, a person who is trespassing on private property may not be able to hold the dog owner liable for injuries caused by the dog.

Additionally, if the person who was bitten was taunting or otherwise provoking the dog, the dog owner may be able to argue that the person was partially or fully responsible for their own injuries.

How a NYC Dog License Can Impact Liability

An unlicensed dog can paint the owner as irresponsible, potentially increasing their liability in a dog bite case. Conversely, a dog’s license holds a record of any prior incidents. If a licensed dog bites someone for the first time, the owner can use this record as evidence that the dog had no prior aggressive behavior, potentially reducing their liability.

Why Licensing Your Dog in NYC is Important

Getting a license for your dog not only has several benefits but it is required by the law.

According to New York state laws and regulations, all dogs that are 4 months or older need to be licensed. Dog owners must ensure that their dogs have their licenses attached to their collars when they are in public areas like parks.

If you are caught with an unlicensed dog in a public area you may face a fine of $200. 

The likelihood that you will locate your dog if it gets lost is one of the main advantages of acquiring a license for your dog. Dog owner information is linked to dog licenses. As a result, if your dog escapes and is caught, someone will be able to get in touch with you so you may retrieve it.

The fact that dog licenses are also connected to the dog’s vaccination record is a very significant benefit. This makes it simpler to determine whether a dog has gotten all essential vaccinations. Checking to see if the dog has had a rabies vaccination is one of the most crucial things to do after a dog bites someone. It is quite simple and quick to examine that information thanks to licensing.

What Dogs Must Be Licensed?

In the state of New York, all dogs are required to be licensed when they reach four months of age, except for service dogs.

Even guard dogs must be licensed, although the fee may be different.

Licensing is done on a yearly basis and requires proof of current rabies vaccination. Some cities or municipalities may have additional licensing requirements, so it is always a good idea to check with your local government to see if there are any additional rules or regulations that apply to your specific area.

The cost of getting a new license or renewing the license in New York City will depend on whether the dog has been neutered or spayed. For neutered or spayed dogs there is an $8.00 fee and for non-neutered/spayed the fee is $34.50.

You can license a dog by attending a dog licensing event organized by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. You can find more information about these events on their website

Insights into Dog Bites in NYC: Licensing and Liability Demystified
WHAT ARE NEW YORK CITY DOG BITE LAWS? Greenberg & Stein P.C. | Contact Us To Get Help

How a NYC Dog License Can Impact Liability in a Dog Bite Injury Case

Not having a license for your dog could lead to a perception that you are an irresponsible owner. This may increase the liability you face if your dog bites someone, as it suggests that you have not taken the necessary precautions to ensure your dog is well-trained, socialized, and vaccinated. 

On the other hand, a valuable piece of information that is attached to a dog’s license is a record of any incident. This means that if a dog has bitten someone in the past, that event will be documented.

If a licensed dog bites someone for the first time, the dog owner can prove that it has never happened before. It can be greatly beneficial for the dog owner to be able to demonstrate that the dog has never been aggressive because this would release them from liability for any damages beyond medical costs.

The Importance of Working With an Experienced Dog Bite Injury Attorney

An experienced dog bite attorney will have handled many similar cases and will be familiar with the legal issues that are specific to dog bite cases. They will be able to assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action.

Additionally, a dog bite injury attorney will have strong negotiation skills and will be able to negotiate effectively with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case 

Greenberg & Stein P.C. is a prestigious law firm located in New York. Here you can find attorneys with vast experience and extremely knowledgeable of New York laws.

Our legal team has helped numerous people that have been involved in dog bite incidents. Do not hesitate to contact us at 888-716-3843 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.