Dogs are classically known as “man’s best friend”, but in nearby Aberdeen, New Jersey, that saying was turned upside-down earlier this year. Like in Stephen King’s novel Kujo, a neighborhood in this community dealt with a rabid animal on the loose. Now, after Monmouth County officials picked up the pieces from this dog bite nightmare, the threat of more incidents still looms.
What Started the New Jersey Dog Bite Nightmare?
It had been eight years since New Jersey public health officials confirmed a rabies case in a dog, but that changed in February 2016. That’s when a dog that died in its owner’s backyard tested positive for the disease.
According to the pet’s owners, the dog was due to go get its vaccinations only a few days after it died of the disease, but missed shots weren’t what worried officials. The home owners were also unable to account for the dog’s whereabouts at all times.
Three people were bitten by this dog, including the mother of the pet’s owner, and one other person may have been exposed without being bitten. The treatment for exposure to rabies usually lasts around six weeks, and involves a very painful series of injections. The infected dog had also been in contact with three other dogs in that backyard, but those animals were quarantined to ensure they too were not infected.
Health officials were forced to comb the neighborhood for anyone else who could have been exposed. Luckily, that was the end of this incident, but New Jersey is not free and clear from the dangers of rabies.
Does New Jersey Still Need to Worry About Rabies?
A rabid raccoon was recently euthanized in Washington Township, and another was found in Middletown. A rabid fox attacked a dog in Galloway Township in August, and in June, a suspected rabid bobcat attacked a dog in Long Valley. Our area is in a rabies crisis, so it has become even more important to make sure pets are vaccinated, and that yards are secure.
When dogs attack people, many assume that no one is at fault, but they are wrong. The law states that the owner of that animal is responsible for the injuries their pet inflicts on people. If the animal is also sick, then the resulting medical expenses and suffering could also be that pet owner’s liability. This is why it is important to make sure you properly handle your pet, take care of their health, and keep them safe. To do otherwise could lead to legal consequences.
A reminder from the dog bite lawyers at Keefe Law Firm—keep your pets trained, healthy and vaccinated.