In New York City, many people share apartments with roommates. If your roommate has a dog, but you can become liable for it during a dog bite injury case, if there is a possibility that it is your fault. In New York, you may be found liable for your roommate’s dog, even if you do not personally own it.

Why Would You be Liable?

If you live in an apartment or house with a dog that you do not personally own, you are still partially responsible for it. You, as a member of the household probably would have known if the dog would have a vicious or dangerous propensity; which is the basis of most dog bite injury cases. The case that caused this change in law involved housemates that let the dog out into the backyard, where it escaped and attacked a 4 year old boy. The judge of the case ruled that liability can exist when the defendant had “owned, possessed, harbored, or exercised dominion and control over the dog.”

Harboring a Vicious Dog

The term harboring in this case does not follow the same context as with a criminal, but rather that the dog’s owner as well as other members of the home provide shelter and other basic necessities for the dog, and regularly take care of it. This follows in line with the idea that dog-sitters are often found liable for dog bites and attacks while a dog is in their care; especially when they are aware of it’s dangerous propensities.

Being Careful with Other’s Dogs

It is important when taking care of someone else’s dog to be careful; for both your safety, as well as others. You should try to curb it and keep it out of contact with other dogs. If possible try to avoid people; especially children. Children are often more trusting of unfamiliar animals, and are also more prone to grabbing or prodding an animal; which can agitate it. If you know that a dog has vicious propensities, consider putting a muzzle on it when you walk it.

For over 25 years, we have been assisting people in the New York/New Jersey area with injury cases of all shapes and sizes; from Auto Accidents to Dog Bites. D’Agostino & Associates, P.C., and its affiliates do not provide legal advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal advice. Call 1-888-24-LAW-24 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. Bite Back with D’Agostino & Associates, P.C.