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What if you or your child is bitten by a dog?

Dogs will forever be known as "man's best friend," but the truth of the matter is that some dogs are friendlier than others. While the canine friend may be affectionate and patient with its owners and even the kids in its family, it may not be that way around other adults and kids.

Adults often have figured out their own comfort level with canines - you may be a dog person, but maybe you prefer cats - while kids are often still going through this learning process. Perhaps they first notice that their own mutt is more affectionate than the neighbor's terrier.

Parents can help with this learning process by teaching their children how to introduce themselves to strange dogs - ask the pet's caretaker if it's okay before reaching out to pet the dog, don't make aggressive or unpredictable gestures as they approach the dog.

But sometimes no amount of coaching of the child can avoid the fact that the dog will bite.

There are more than 4.7 million dog bites each year in the U.S. More often than not these are nips that don't break the skin, but more than 750,000 dog bites are listed as severe enough to require medical attention.

What do to do if you or your child are bit?

New York State Agriculture & Markets Law Section 123 states that the owner of the "dangerous" animal is liable. Dangerous is defined by attacking a person or animal without provocation, or the dog acts in a way that would indicate a willingness to commit harm. It should be noted that police dogs or animals trained to protect property against trespassers are not held to these same exact rules.

A person who experiences a dog attack or threatened attack upon them or a minor in their custody may register a complaint with the local authorities or animal control officer. The animal in question will be taken into custody if the officer thinks there is probable cause for seizure. There will then be a judicial review to deem whether the animal is dangerous.

New York is a "one bite state."

This means that the dog's owner is liable for damages if they knew or should have known that their dog is dangerous. This can be determined in a court of law. An attorney skilled in the area of dog bites and personal injury in New York can assist in figuring out the rights of the victim under the law. Depending on the circumstances and level of trauma, damages can be recouped by the victim or the victim's family in case of death.

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