New York State Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera has proposed requiring all dog owners in the state to carry liability insurance for their pets.
He has nicknamed his bill “Elijah’s Law” for a 3-year-old boy, Elijah Torres, who was seriously injured in an attack by a Rottweiler in the Bronx In October 2003.
The proposal would permit legal action by victims of dog attacks while requiring all dog owners to meet insurance and licensing requirements.
Among the bill’s features:
• The Department of Insurance and Department of Agriculture and
Markets would be required to work with insurers on creating canine liability insurance. Premium would be based on the breed of the canine and data of known dangers of the canine.
• The state will develop a special” orange tag” that has to be
worn by every insured canine if it will be dwelling or roaming in a
public place; i.e. a public park. This orange tag must be worn by the
canine at all times.
• Those not properly licensed and insured would face fines and eventual imoundment of thir dogs.
• The only dogs that are exempt from this legislation are guide dogs
for the blind.
• Owners of an insured deemed dangerous would have to post a sign on the door of their domain stating to the public, “Beware of Dangerous Dog.”
According to research behind the bill, dog bites have increased 37 percent in the last 10 years. Nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. About 334,000 victims receive their medical care in an emergency room, at a cost of over $100 million per year, where 46.1 percent of these cases were categorized as “urgent” when triaged in the emergency room. Dog bite treatment payments are higher than average emergency room visit costs due to the ragged nature of many lacerations, infection risk and the large number of bites that require rabies treatment.
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