Ferrieri v. Sigler

NASSAU COUNTY
Torts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Thomas Feinman

Defendants moved to dismissing plaintiffs' complaint alleging defendants' dog, Max, bit their daughter while plaintiffs were visiting defendants at their Shelter Island home. The court stated an owner of a domestic animal who knew or should have known of the animal's vicious propensities may be held liable for harm the animal caused. It found defendants made a prima facie showing of entitlement to summary judgment establishing they had no knowledge Max ever growled, snapped or bit anyone previously. The court noted plaintiffs had been to defendants' Woodmere home on numerous occasions and plaintiffs never expressed any fear of Max. Defendants presented the affidavit of Max's veterinarian who averred Max was well behaved at all visits, did not growl, bare his teeth or act in any manner to put others at risk of harm. The court ruled plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue to warrant denial of defendants' summary judgment motion, noting plaintiffs' opinion about the Doberman breed was irrelevant as there was no authority for the proposition that a particular type of domestic animal was ferocious or had vicious propensities in New York. Hence, dismissal was granted.

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