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How to Prove a Dog Bite Case Against a Landlord Under New York Law


Contrary to popular belief, the mere fact that you're bitten by a dog, even a nasty dog, isn't enough to render the dog's owner liable to you in negligence for your personal injuries resulting from the dog bite under New York law; rather, you will need to demonstrate that the dog had "vicious propensities" that were known, or should have been known, by the dog's owner, yet the owner failed to rein in the dog to assure that it didn't injure anyone.

Interestingly, though, it is not only the dog's owner that can be held liable for a dog bite in New York. If the dog's owner is a tenant in a building, the landlord of the building can also potentially be held liable as well . Here's how:

The plaintiff will have to prove that the landlord: "(1) had notice that a dog was being harbored on the premises, (2) knew or should have known that the dog had vicious propensities, and (3) had sufficient control of the premises to allow the landlord to remove or confine the dog (see Bard v Jahnke, 6 NY3d 592 [2006]; Baisi v Gonzalez , 97 NY2d 694 [2002]; Young v Tirrell , 1 AD3d 509 [2003]; Mehl v Fleisher, 234 AD2d 274 [1996])."