DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS DOG BITE CASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT).
The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s motion for summary judgment in this dog bite case should have been granted:
It is well established that “an animal that behaves in a manner that would not necessarily be considered dangerous or ferocious, but nevertheless reflects a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm, can be found to have vicious propensities—albeit only when such proclivity results in the injury giving rise to the lawsuit” … . “A known tendency to attack others, even in playfulness, as in the case of the overly friendly large dog with a propensity for enthusiastic jumping up on visitors, will be enough to make the defendant liable for damages resulting from such an act” … . “In contrast, normal canine behavior’ such as barking and running around’ does not amount to vicious propensities” … .
The evidence establishes that, on the day of the incident, plaintiff sent a text message to a group of people that included defendant, as she had on previous occasions, to inform them that she would be at the dog park with her dog, who often played with Kane [defendant’s dog]. Immediately prior to the incident, plaintiff threw a ball for her dog, plaintiff’s dog retrieved the ball and, as he had frequently done in the past, Kane ran alongside plaintiff’s dog back toward plaintiff. Both dogs were running fast in plaintiff’s direction and, when it appeared that Kane was not going to veer off to the side, plaintiff turned away, whereupon Kane allegedly struck her leg. Despite evidence that Kane may have clumsily run around the dog park and similarly made contact with another visitor on a prior occasion, we conclude that, unlike situations in which a dog purposefully jumps onto or charges at a person … , “[Kane’s alleged] act of running into plaintiff in the course of . . . playfully [running alongside another dog at a dog park] merely consisted of normal canine behavior that does not amount to a vicious propensity” … . Long v Hess, 2018 NY Slip Op 04475, Fourth Dept 6-15-18
ANIMAL LAW (DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS DOG BITE CASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/DOG BITE (DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS DOG BITE CASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))