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Dog bites not the only way animals cause personal injury

Do you think area dog owners should have increased liability when it comes to dog bite injuries? Some personal injury victims' advocates say that those who have suffered from dog bites deserve better protection in New Jersey's neighboring state of New York. So, what happens when man's best friend turns out to be a big nightmare? Let's find out.

First, it is important to establish the fact that dog bites are not the only ways in which a dog can injure someone. A famous case from 2014 illustrates this particularly well. A dog owner tied his animal to a bike rack outside of a store while shopping. The dog got spooked and ran off with the bike rack attached to his leash. A pedestrian was injured when the dog struck him in the legs with the bike rack - who was at fault? Most would say the owner of the dog, but a New York court actually cleared the dog owner of all wrongdoing because the animal did not have "vicious propensities."

Fortunately, this would probably not have been the case in a New Jersey courtroom. Our state laws are designed to protect those who have suffered dog bites. They are also structured to help victims who have been knocked over or otherwise injured by a dog or other pet.

Dog owners have a responsibility to keep the public safe from a dog that could menace or injure an unassuming victim. Whether this means that a vicious dog is kept at home - or a dog is not tied to a movable structure like a bike rack - should not be up for debate. Dog bites are preventable, but victims deserve compensation when they have suffered personal loss because of a negligent pet owner, no matter the mechanism of injury.

Source: Times Square Chronicles, "Should New York Dog Owners Face More Liability?," April 12, 2017

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