The Michael Vick situation has finally brought national attention to a large problem – owners who breed their dogs to attack. In Syracuse, a small town by national standards, I have come across numerous instances where people own pit bulls and other such dogs and purposely breed them to be aggressive. These individuals may or may not fight these dogs for money, as Vick allegedly did, however they train them nevertheless. As a result, more often than not innocent children get attacked and seriously injured. In addition, these individuals likely have no insurance and thus leave these families with both the permanent scarring as well as the medical expenses.
In New York we also have a “one bite rule” that improperly gives dog owners the protection of not being liable unless a Plaintiff can show prior dangerous propensities. As these owners never admit that the dog is dangerous it leaves the injured party in a position to show these propensities which is very difficult.