Does your roommate have a (vicious) dog? Better read this

From the New York Law Journal, by Andrew Denney, June 19, 2015

Housemates of a man whose dogs brutally attacked a 4-year-old boy can be held liable for the child’s injuries because they helped care for and feed the dogs and therefore were legally harboring them, an appellate court ruled.

Doesn’t this remind you of a “Law and Order” episode involving a vicious bulldog which makes a dramatic snarling appearance in Sam Waterston’s courtroom? (Guest star-defendant was Melissa Leo.)

So anyway, big warning: if your roommate/housemate has a bad-tempered dog that attacks people, you “can be held liable” for any injuries the dog causes. That is, if somebody sues your roommate and names you as a defendant, you aren’t going to get out of the case just because you don’t actually own the dog.

It strikes me that this is not a minor decision to be overlooked by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. (That’s how many bulldogs I’ve seen and avoided on the streets. Slight exaggeration–but I’m not exaggerating the ample arc I take so that I don’t get anywhere near dogs that have long been bred to attack. I do not like them.)

P.S. As an example of how un-litigious a character I am, I was once bitten by a crabby, ugly, old little doggie thing (don’t ask me the breed; I know not of breeds) owned by a friend of a friend, with whom I was visiting.

That’s not clear. I mean: a friend of mine and I were visiting a friend of hers. It was she who owned the crabby, etc little dog. Dog approached me, hobbling (it was old), I said “Hi, little dog,” in my I-really-like-dogs voice (I do like most dogs), started to bend down (slowly) to the dog’s level for maybe an introductory pat…and without a warning it nipped my ankle.

I had never been bitten by a dog previously, and haven’t been since.

I did not sue, I didn’t even think of suing. My only injury was to the segment of my amour propre that believes dogs like me. Hey, my feelings were hurt more than my ankle.

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