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Do Dog Owners Have Legal Rights If Attacked By Their Own Dogs In New Jersey?

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Earlier this week, a pit bull terrier attacked its owners in Paterson, New Jersey.  An 11 year old boy called 911 to report that his parents were being attacked by the family dog.  A Paterson police officer arrived at the house and saw the parents trying to fend off the dog.  The officer shot the dog.  The parents both had multiple bite wounds from the dog.  It is unclear as to why the dog attacked its owners.

Most may think that when dog owners are attacked and injured by their own dogs, there aren’t any legal remedies for them.  In general, the victim in a NJ dog bite case is not the owner.  For instance, a dog owner is walking his unleashed dog in a neighborhood, and the dog attacks a pedestrian.  Another example is a dog which escapes from its backyard and attacks a child at a nearby playground.  In these cases, the dog owners may be liable for these victims’ attacks. 

When dog owners are attacked by their own dogs, who would be the responsible parties?  Unbeknownst to many, there may be instances where a dog owner who is attacked by his own dog has legal rights and another party may be liable for the attack.  Such potential liable parties may be a dog breeder, a seller or a dog trainer.

Consider the following example: A family with young children buys a dog and is having a difficult time training it.  The dog is very energetic, loves to be around people and always jumps on them.  Because the family has young kids, the dog often knocks them over due to its excitement.  The parents decide to take the dog to an obedience school to help the dog learn not to jump on people.  The dog stays at the school for 2 weeks.  After the dog comes home, its demeanor changes.  It is skittish and is not excited to see people anymore.  In fact, it often cowers away from people.  Then one day the dog attacks the owner when he attempts to pet it.  As it turns out, the dog was badly mistreated and abused when it was at the obedience school.  In such a case, the owner may be able to sue the obedience school for his injuries.  The theory of liability is that the obedience school used improper training methods that adversely impacted the dog’s temperament, which led to the attack.

Related: Liability Beyond The Dog Owner: Other Parties May Be Responsible For Your Injuries From A Dog Bite/Attack

FREE consultations from a NJ dog bite injury lawyer. 877.944.8396

Source: www.nj.com (Cop shoots pit bull that attacked owners, officials say)

Category: Dog Bite Cases


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