Last month, a man’s pit bull attacked his wife, prompting the man to seek a friend’s assistance in handling the dog. The friend took the pit bull to his home, where his 10-year-old son asked to see it. But the dog was not in a friendly mood, and attacked the young boy. The boy suffered bite wounds on his arm and had to be hospitalized.
That wasn’t the end of the dog’s bloody rampage. When the 10-year-old’s father and aunt tried to pry the dog’s jaws from the boy, the dog turned on them, too. The dog then left the three wounded and fled the apartment, spotting an unwitting woman nearby. The woman had just arrived to drop her infant off at her nephew’s apartment. She became the dog’s final victim. Her nephew heard her screams as the dog attacked and he was able to finally restrain the dog. All four victims received hospital treatment, while the nephew refused treatment.
Dog Bite Laws in New Jersey
In New Jersey, dog bite victims are allowed to hold a dog’s owner liable if:
- The dog was on public property when an attack occurred, OR
- The victim was legally present on private property when an attack occurred
While some states require a dog to show vicious propensities before the owner can be held liable for personal injury, New Jersey is not one of those states. Dog owners have strict liability in New Jersey. That means that even if the owner doesn’t know the dog might bite, and even if the owner takes reasonable steps to restrain the dog, the statute still applies.
It’s not just civil claims that can arise from a dog bite case. In New Jersey, owners of “dangerous dogs” who fail to adhere to the laws regarding keeping a dangerous dog can also face criminal liability. Rules for that include things like notifying local authorities about the dog’s dangerous past and making sure that the dog is kept restrained.