If a dog with a vicious propensity injures you by biting you or knocking you down, then you may initiate a lawsuit for the damages you sustained from the attack. In New York, such a lawsuit must be commenced within 3 years from the date of the attack. A dog is not necessarily entitled to one bite before the owner may be held liable for the injuries that the dog causes. A dog’s vicious propensity may be determined by whether the dog has a history of biting, growling, or snapping at others.
Once a dog is shown to have a vicious propensity, the owner may be held responsible for the injuries caused by that dog, regardless of negligent/reckless conduct (e.x. teasing, tormenting), the actions of another animal, or forces of nature (ex. tornado, lightning). The courts will not rule that certain breeds of dogs have a vicious propensity by nature. One who is injured by a dog may initiate a law suit against the landlord of the property where the dog was living if that landlord was aware of the dog’s vicious propensity when the premises was leased to the tenant. If one is seeking to have a vicious dog confined or destroyed, then he or she only has 4 months to initiate a special proceeding.