In a New York City personal injury case, a New Jersey woman is claiming that a NYPD horse bit her leaving "permanent injuries." Mr. Biggs, one of the horses in the New York Mounted Unit, is accused of biting the woman on her forearm.
Since there are not many cases of horses biting and attacking people in New York City, there don't seem to be clear laws on how to handle it. For the following, I will relate the case using the laws designed for dogs, not because the animals are similar in mannerism, but because these laws are more specific.
This will be a bit of a stretch because even though a horse is an animal, it is hard to picture them chomping down on a person out of fear or anger. It seems more likely to me that Mr. Biggs was having a curious nibble, which may have spooked the plaintiff.
As Wendy Hilton explains, on InfoHorse.com, biting is a habit. If there were other cases of Mr. Biggs biting people, then it would seem more plausible. But for her to be the first victim takes the bite out of the "vicious" claim. The attorney representing the NYPD will most likely note how long the horse has been serving the public without incident.
In a dog biting case, the knowledge of whether the animal is dangerous goes a long way in the sentencing process. For example, if the dog was known to be dangerous, the owner's penalty can be a misdemeanor. Now, since this is an equine case and not a dog case, it is unknown whether the officer will be charged with criminal fines. This will depend on the horse's record and if the woman was wearing a sugar-cube jacket.
If you are the victim of an animal attack, you can contact a New York personal injury attorney. With the help of a professional, you can understand your rights and protect others.
- Horse Mounted Unit (NPS.gov)
- What to do if a dog / animal bites you (FindLaw)
- The NYPD Mounted Unit Recommendation (MBPO.org)
- Dog Bite Laws in New York (DogBiteLaw.com)
- Horses that Bite ( InfoHorse.com)