If my 4 year old son was bitten by my boyfriend’s dog but fortunately it was not serious. Can my son’s father press charges against my boyfriend?

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If my 4 year old son was bitten by my boyfriend’s dog but fortunately it was not serious. Can my son’s father press charges against my boyfriend?

I brought my son to the hospital but he did not need any stiches. He has a few scratches on his face and inside his top lip. I have custody of him and the father wants to press charges against my boyfriend for the incident. Would he get anywhere considering my son did not have any serious injury and that I have custody?

Asked on January 22, 2015 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

Arkady Bukh / Bukh Law Firm, P.C.

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There are many factors that come into a dog bite scenario.  Had the dog previously bitten someone, was the dog considered a dangerous breed, did the child scare the dog (I know this sounds weird, but can happen), did your boyfriend intend to have the  dog bite the child.  There is no simple answer.  If a complaint is filed against your boyfriend as owner of the dog, he should get an attorney. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not your boyfriend had criminal intent. Only if he did, might be face charges. In a case like this, criminal intent would generally be based on one of the following:

1) Intentional act--your boyfriend "sicced" the dog on your son.

2) Reckless conduct--your boyfriend had reason to know the dog was vicious or a biter but knowing that, still allowed it near a small child.


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