The Fourth Department determined Town Court properly ordered the euthanasia of respondent’s dog, Wally, after the dog broke free, ran into petitioner’s yard, and repeatedly bit a three-year-old girl. The dissenter argued the proof did not demonstrate the child suffered serious injury within the meaning of the Agriculture and Markets Law:
Respondent does not dispute that petitioners established by clear and convincing evidence that her dog is a “dangerous dog” (Agriculture and Markets Law §§ 108  [a] [i]; 123 ). A justice may direct humane euthanasia of a dangerous dog if, inter alia, the dog, without justification, attacks a person, “causing serious physical injury” (§ 123  [a] …). The Agriculture and Markets Law defines “serious physical injury” as “physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ” (§ 108 ). The only issue here is whether the child sustained a “serious or protracted disfigurement” … . Inasmuch as those terms are used in the Penal Law definition of serious physical injury (see Penal Law § 10.00 ), reliance upon criminal cases involving what constitutes a serious or protracted disfigurement is appropriate. As petitioners correctly note, however, the Penal Law definition of a serious injury as, inter alia, a serious and protracted disfigurement … does not apply here.
Contrary to respondent’s contention, the evidence establishes that the child sustained a serious injury inasmuch as the dog attack caused serious or protracted disfigurement … . A “disfigurement” is “that which impairs or injures the beauty, symmetry or appearance of a person or thing; that which renders unsightly, misshapen or imperfect or deforms in some manner” … . “A person is seriously’ disfigured when a reasonable observer would find her altered appearance distressing or objectionable” … . The standard is an objective one and depends on various factors, including the nature and the location of the injury … . We conclude that the injuries sustained by the child here, particularly the bite wound to the buttocks that required surgery and approximately 30 stitches, constitute serious disfigurement … . Although the analysis could end there, we conclude that those injuries also constitute a protracted disfigurement … . Matter of Workman v Dumouchel, 2019 NY Slip Op 06248, Fourth Dept 8-22-19