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What Happens When Animal Control Is Called for a Dog Bite?

Jeff Varcadipane

February 8, 2024

What happens when animal control is called for a dog bite in New Jersey and the specific actions taken depend on the circumstances and severity of the incident. Basically, they will assess the situation and determine if the dog is a risk to public safety.

According to the New Jersey dog bite law, the dog’s owner is strictly liable for damages. The victims of the dog bite will use the animal control report to establish the facts of the case. At Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC, we will use the report to get essential details such as who owned the dog and the severity of the injuries. This information is important for determining liability and assessing potential damages.

If a dog bite occurs in Paramus, New Jersey, here is what might happen when animal control is called.

Quarantine

The dog involved in the bite may be placed under a mandatory quarantine period of 10 days. This quarantine period is meant to observe the dog for any signs of illness or rabies. At the end of the quarantine period, an officer from animal control will assess the animal’s health status to ascertain its status.

Investigation

When a report reaches animal control, their officers will conduct an investigation into the incident. They may gather information from the victim, witnesses, and the dog owner. The investigation aims to unwrap the bite incident, including whether the dog has a history of aggression or previous incidents.

Assessment of the Dog

Animal control officers may assess the behavior and health of the dog involved in the bite. This evaluation helps determine if the dog poses a continued risk to public safety. Depending on the severity of the bite and any previous incidents, the dog may be deemed potentially dangerous or vicious under New Jersey dog bite laws.

A dog can be declared potentially dangerous dog in New Jersey under the following circumstances:

  • It has caused bodily injury to a person without provocation.
  • It has been trained or encouraged to engage in attacks without provocation.
  • It has killed another domestic animal without provocation.

Additionally, a dog is declared vicious when the municipal court determines, based on § 121-35, that an unprovoked dog has killed a person or caused severe personal injury to a person.

Enforcement of Regulations

If the dog is deemed vicious or potentially dangerous, animal control may enforce regulations regarding the handling, containment, or potential euthanasia of the dog. This may involve imposing restrictions on the owner, such as requiring the dog to be muzzled in public or securely confined, or it may be euthanized in severe cases.

Legal Consequences

Owning a dog comes with the great responsibility of ensuring the safety of others. In New Jersey, when animal control is notified of a dog bite incident, several possible legal outcomes may result. This is majorly based on the investigation and the findings of animal control.

Possible legal actions include:

Fines and Penalties

If the investigation reveals that the dog owner was negligent or failed to properly control their dog, fines and penalties may be imposed. In New Jersey, anyone found to have violated dog liability laws shall be subjected to a fine not exceeding $2,000 per day of the violation.

The Municipal Court has a duty to enforce regulations and charge fines and penalties. The charges are usually based on the dog’s history, the extent of the injuries caused by the bite, and the dog owner’s compliance with local animal control regulations.

Civil Liability

A dog owner can also face civil liability for damages caused by a dog bite. In this jurisdiction, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite injuries. Also, the injured party has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek recovery for damages.

These damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of quality of life

You need to engage a dog bite attorney to help you file your lawsuit. This is because the dog owner will likely oppose the claims to avoid liability.

Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Paramus, New Jersey

Every dog bite incident is unique, and the way to handle it varies depending on the specifics of your case. If you find yourself involved in a dog bite incident in New Jersey, it is recommended to consult with a legal advocate to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Notably, animal control reports are just one piece of the puzzle, and your legal advocate will also consider other types of evidence to build your case. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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