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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

Locating Compensation For Dog Bites And Animal Attacks

Each year, about 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S., and approximately 1,000 people visit the emergency room each day due to dog bite injuries.

For as much as animal lovers have profoundly influenced a growing acceptance of dogs in society, the number of irresponsible and careless pet owners has also grown. Anyone who owns a dog knows that it is up to the owner to maintain responsibility for their pet's actions. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Unfortunately, those owners frequently disregard the rights and safety of others. All dogs must be leashed in public areas and certain breeds, depending on the dog itself, may even need to be muzzled. This isn't done out of undue caution, but a legitimate need to protect the dog and those around it from any unnecessary incidents.

Many pet owners either just do not care to follow the laws or simply feel they are entitled not to follow them. New Jersey sets numerous rules on how dogs should be handled; when an animal does hurt someone, it usually could have been avoided. That is why, as the state defines it, the owner is solely at fault when their pet harms another individual.

Owners Liable For Dogs' Actions

A dog bite can cause serious damage. Some larger dogs can lacerate tendons and damage nerves during an attack. The most commonly bit areas are limbs, which are easier for the animal to grab, but many breeds instinctively thrust toward the neck. Wherever a dog does bite a person, though, it is the owner who is responsible and thus liable for any damages caused by the animal. Even if the victim was fully aware of the viciousness of the dog, the owner has the responsibility to control and contain it so it does not harm others.

Rabies And Other Diseases

Since 1983, New Jersey has required that dog owners register and license their dogs. This is done to ensure that pets are vaccinated against rabies and other diseases. If a dog is not licensed or vaccinated, it is much more likely to infect humans should it attack. Rabies is a virus that is transferred to human beings usually through the bite of an infected animal. The disease can be life-threatening. Rabies infections are entirely preventable if the animal is vaccinated and properly controlled by its owner.

Declaring A Dog Vicious Or Potentially Dangerous

If a dog injures someone, the municipal court where the dog's owner lives can legally move to have that dog declared vicious or potentially dangerous. If a dog is found to be vicious, it would then be put down so it cannot harm other individuals. If a dog is found potentially dangerous, the owner could be allowed to keep the animal so long as they meet certain requirements. These may include obtaining liability insurance for the animal or constructing an enclosure so that the dog no longer presents a threat to others.

If you are bitten by a dog or attacked by another animal, you should:

  • Seek medical attention.
  • Cleanse the wound with soap and warm water.
  • Notify your local animal control agency. Give as much information as you can, including the sequence of events and any information about the dog.
  • Photograph the injuries resulting from the dog attack.
  • Photograph the area in which the attack occurred.
  • Collect contact information from all witnesses.
  • Do not sign anything from the dog owner, insurance company or anyone else involved in the attack.

Seek Legal Guidance Today

It is important to retain legal representation of an attorney as soon as possible after an animal attack. At the Law Offices of John Morelli in Cherry Hill, we have decades of personal injury experience. We have access to resources to help you recover, and we are familiar with New Jersey animal attack law, premises liability laws, and how to successfully represent and advise our animal attack victim clients.

If you or a loved one has suffered a bite or attack from a dog or animal, contact us today by calling 856-528-3205 for a free consultation with a lawyer.

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