Dogs are not only a danger to pedestrians. As a recent New York case showed, aggressive dogs can also harm bicyclists.
In late July, two dogs that were off their leashes chased a bicyclist near Central Park. Both of the dogs bit the 54-year-old cyclist. The bicyclist was forced to use his bike as a weapon to fight off the dogs.
When the dogs’ owner came over, she told the injured cyclist that her dogs don’t bit. The cyclist told her to look at his legs, where the bites were evident.
The cyclist was treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The dogs were taken into custody by New York City Animal Care and Control. It was unclear immediately after the incident whether the owner could get them back.
New York Dog Bites
In urban settings, interaction with all kinds of dogs is common in shared public spaces such as parks, neighborhoods and walking paths. Pursuant to the New York Health Code, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies, be licensed and in a public place must be restrained by a leash.
Despite steps to minimize dog attacks, they still happen, as the Central Park bicyclist case shows. A dog attack can result in serious and permanent physical injuries and psychological scars.
New York law provides strict liability for a dog bite. This means that regardless of the temperament and past good history of the dog, the owner is liable for harm resulting from the dog bite. A dog owner may be held liable for medical expenses, treatment, pain and suffering and lost wages. In addition to the owner, landlords, property owners and animal custodians may also be liable for dog attacks and bites that occur on their premises.
Source: “Bicycler bit by 2 dogs,” New York Daily News, Joe Kemp, 7-31-12
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our dog bites page.