New Jersey’s statutes regarding dog bites allow municipal courts to classify canine pets. Dogs may fall into a legal category based on their potential to attack or for their history of biting. A pet that is not yet known to have a disposition prone to biting is generally classified as a domestic animal.
The Garden State’s rules define conditions under which a judge may declare a dog “potentially dangerous.” The New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officer Association’s website notes that the court needs convincing proof before it classifies a dog as having the potential to cause harm.
Conditions required to declare a dog “potentially dangerous”
If an unprovoked canine physically harms a human being, it meets the legal requirement to classify as a potentially dangerous dog. When a dog does not injure a human but displays behavior posing a serious threat of injury or death, however, a court may also consider it potentially dangerous.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes that a dog with aggressive behavior may begin “punching” a human with its nose. Growling, showing teeth and lunging also show traits of potentially dangerous behavior. If an unprovoked canine kills a domestic animal, the court could categorize it as potentially dangerous.
Grounds required for a judge to classify a dog as “vicious”
The Garden State’s statutes define conditions for when a judge may declare a dog “vicious.” With convincing proof that an unprovoked canine caused severe bodily damage or killed a human, the dog classifies as vicious.
Dog owners in New Jersey have strict liability for injuries caused to humans and animals. Whether a canine classifies as a domestic animal, potentially dangerous dog or vicious, a harmed individual may file a legal action to obtain relief.