Protection from a Rottweiler?

by Elizabeth
(New Jersey)

I've had 2 incidents regarding the same Rottweiler...

1) The dog was off the leash, running at my beagle and I. I yelled to the owner to put the dog on the leash, and he responded that he did not need to leash the Rottweiler because she wasn't full grown. As the dog continued to approach me I warned the owner that I would mace the dog if he didn't comply. He responded that he would "kick my mother-f@&*en a@@" if I mace the dog. I reported this to the police.

2) Two years later I was walking in the same area as the first incident. I saw a women with the Rottweiler, which by this time had grown into an approximately 130 pound animal. I walked out of the path to allow her to pass. The dog lunged and growled at me.

At this point the woman was losing the tug of war with her dog. I feared for my life and my dogs. I pulled my mace out and than she yelled "f$@& you, my dog is friendly and won't hurt anyone!"

I have been in dog rescue and I am very familiar with dangerous signs, and this dog had all my red flags up, so what concerns me is that she was ignoring the danger signals her dog so clearly exhibited. I also reported this incident to the police.

What recourse do I have to protect myself and the neighborhood from this dangerous dog? I feel it isn't a matter of if this dog bites, it's a matter of when. Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Protection from a Rottweiler?":

Elizabeth (New Jersey):

There are several ordinances governing dogs in New Jersey, listed under Section 4:19 of the Consolidated Dog Laws of New Jersey. The most relevant to your situation are summarized as follows:

Section 4:19-19 - Seizure and Impoundment of Dog by Animal Control Officer

A New Jersey animal control officer shall seize and impound a dog when the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the dog:

(d) has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encouraged to engage in unprovoked attacks upon persons or domestic animals.

4:19-7. Dog Owner Liability

A civil action may be brought by a person for the full amount of the damages sustained by him and in such action it shall not be necessary to prove that the dog was accustomed to commit the injury complained of or a similar injury.

4:19-16. Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog

The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

4:19-28. (b) Duties of owner of potentially dangerous dog

The owner of a potentially dangerous dog shall:

b. notify the licensing authority, local police department or force, and the animal control officer if a potentially dangerous dog is at large, or has attacked a human being or killed a domestic animal;

Contact your local animal control center and report the dogs you are concerned with. Leave it to them to follow the appropriate ordinances.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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