For as much as animal lovers have profoundly influenced a growing acceptance of dogs in society, it equally increases the number of irresponsible and careless pet-owners out in the world. 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 have frequently disregarded the rights and safety of others. They have to display control of the animal at all times, and if it is out in a public area, it is the law it MUST be on a leash. 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.
But, unfortunately, there are lots of pet owners who either just do not care to follow the laws regarding these issues, or simply feel they are entitled not to follow them. New Jersey sets numerous rules on how dogs should be handled, and when the animals do go and hurt someone, the situation usually could have been avoided. That is why, as the state defines it, it is the owner who is solely at fault when their pet causes harm to another individual.