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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 35

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessor (powers and duties) (dog damage) - Agriculture and Markets Law, § 118; Real Property Tax Law, § 1522:

It is the duty of the assessor to appraise damage done to domestic animals by dogs. The enactment of section 1522 of the Real Property Tax Law did not affect this statutory duty.

We have received an inquiry as to whether it is the duty of the town supervisor or the assessor to appraise the damage done to domestic animals by dogs.

Section 118 of the Agriculture and Markets Law provides for indemnification for damages done by dogs. Subdivision 2 of such section provides as follows:

2. The owner of domestic animals attacked, chased, worried, injured or killed by dogs shall immediately upon the discovery thereof notify the nearest assessor of the city or town where the damage was done of the fact, and that he claims indemnity therefor, and requires that the damages be determined. The assessor, immediately upon receiving such notification, shall inquire into the matter and shall examine the animals injured or killed, and if he deems it necessary, shall examine witnesses in relation thereto. If he is satisfied that the animals were injured or killed by dogs, and that the owner has taken reasonable precautions to prevent the damage done, he shall determine the amount of the damages actually apparent at the time and make a report in the form prescribed by the commissioner, and shall state therein the amount of damages, provided, however, that if the amount of damages is determined by the assessor to be more than two hundred dollars, the assessor shall immediately give notice of the claim to the other assessors and all the assessors, or a majority of them, shall, within three days, inquire into the matter in the manner provided above in respect to the assessor first notified and make a report thereof as hereinbefore provided. The report shall be filed by the assessor or assessors promptly in the office of the county treasurer, and a copy delivered by the assessors to the claimant.

Section 1522 of the Real Property Tax Law provides for a single appointed assessor. This section was added to the law as part of the Assessment Improvement Law (L.1970, c.957). Section 1522 in no way affects section 118(2) of the Agriculture and Markets Law set forth above. Therefore, it is our opinion that it remains the duty of the assessor to appraise dog damage.

August 27, 1974

NOTE:  Construes law prior to L.1978, c.220.