1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001



While engaging in a game of “fetch” with her custodian, Lola entered a Central Park road and collided with D.C., a cyclist. After the latter filed a personal-injury case against the animal’s human companion alleging negligence and strict liability, motion practice seeking the pre-trial dismissal of the litigation ensued.

In New York State, the "owner" of a domestic animal, such as a dog, is liable for injuries caused by that creature, if that caregiver “knew or should have known of [the animal’s] vicious propensities.”

Apparently, since such knowledge or history didn’t exist in this instance, the New York County Supreme Court granted the defendant's dismissal request and, on appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed, noting, in pertinent part, that: "Here, the record is devoid of any evidence that defendant knew or should have known that Lola had a propensity to enter roadways, chase cyclists, or otherwise interfere with traffic.”

Given DC’s failure to show that any of the governing exceptions applied, the AD1 didn’t think liability was triggered -- particularly since nothing unusual was happening here. As it noted, a “dog chasing a ball during a game of fetch is consistent with normal canine behavior.”

That had to bite.

# # #


DC v Schimmel