This past Friday on February 28, 2014, two 13 year olds walking on the street were mauled and attacked by a bull mastiff. The dog broke loose from its home in Paterson, NJ and attacked the teens. Sadly, one teen died after the attack, and the other teen was hospitalized with injuries to his hand. *Source: www.nj.com (Dog that killed Paterson teen was a ticking time bomb, neighbors say)
After the attack, the two boys ran in different directions. The boy who was bitten in the hand ran home and was seen by witnesses who tried to dress the wound. The other teen was reported missing. His body was found by a nearby river’s edge just before midnight that day. The exact cause of the boy’s death is unknown at this time.
According to reports, a neighbor on the street said that the dog has hopped the fence of its yard before and attacked children. Last year, a teenager was attacked by the bull mastiff.
The dog owner tried to help the boys and was also bitten by the dog. He sustained injuries to his hand and stabbed the dog several times. The dog has since been humanely euthanized.
This is the second serious dog attack in New Jersey for the month of February. Earlier in the month, a 10 year old Newark boy was critically injured when he was left alone with two pit bulls in his father’s apartment. The child was attacked and had several bites and slashes before a neighbor broke in the apartment to rescue him.
Pursuant to New Jersey dog law, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by his dog during an attack. This means that a dog owner in NJ is liable regardless of whether the dog was previously aggressive or previously bit/attacked someone. If a dog bite victim is attacked and injured in New Jersey, the owner can be sued and may be liable for:
In this recent tragic dog bite case, there were reports of the dog hopping the fence and attacking other children before. The owner of the dog should have addressed the problem when the dog previously escaped. Perhaps, a higher fence should have been installed to prevent the dog from hopping the fence again. It can be argued that the dog owner was negligent because he failed put in a fence that would properly enclose his dog even after knowing that the dog escaped. Though, if a dog bite lawsuit was filed in New Jersey, it is not necessary to prove that the dog was previously aggressive or bit some before.
If you or a loved one was attacked and bitten by a dog, feel free to contact Daniel J. O’Brien, an experienced dog bite lawyer. Dan offers a FREE initial consultation. 877.944.8396