Will a Dog Be Put To Sleep for Biting Someone?

If you’ve been attacked by a dog in New Jersey, you will of course want to make sure that the animal in question is dealt with appropriately so that no one else will have to suffer in the way you did. But does this always mean that the animal in question will be put to sleep after you file a lawsuit?

New Jersey has very specific dog attack injury laws in place to protect the public when an animal attacks someone. This article will help you better understand what outcome your dog bite lawsuit may have, and what the fate of the animal in question may be. If you or your loved one were the victim of a vicious dog attack, you can also pursue compensation with the help of an experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer.

New Jersey Dog Bite Laws

New Jersey has a specific dog bite statute on the books, statute N.J.S.A. 4:19-16.

New Jersey’s dog bite statute states that if a dog bites someone, the dog’s owner is liable, as long as the victim was on public property, or legally on private property. This means that if the victim was trespassing when the attack occurred, the owner is not legally liable under New Jersey law. Additionally, the victim cannot have provoked the dog into attacking them.

Is a Dog Owner Still Liable if They Were Not Aware Their Dog Was Aggressive?

In New Jersey, yes. Dog owners are still held liable for the attack, even if they did not know their animals were vicious or aggressive. Even if the dog has never previously attacked someone, the owner will still be liable if their dog attacks someone on their property, or on public property.

What Happens to a Dog After It Attacks Someone?

So what does New Jersey Law have to say about the fate of the animal after it attacks someone? The short answer is that the dog in question will usually not be put down. Of course, there are always extreme circumstances in which this may be the ultimate outcome of a dog attack.

After an animal attack, there are several steps that will happen. Typically after an accident:

  • An animal control officer will investigate your claims.
  • The investigation will confirm that the animal has an up to date rabies vaccination.
  • If the animal has an up to date rabies vaccination, and this was the first time this dog has attacked someone, no other action may occur.

What if the Dog That Bit Me Has a History of Attacking People?

In the rare instance where a dog has repeatedly attacked people when unprovoked, further action may need to be taken. When an animal causes repeated severe injuries, it poses a significant threat to others and the owner may need to take preventative measures.

These can include:

  • Displaying warning signs on their property
  • Keeping the dog locked in an enclosure
  • Keeping the dog on a strong leash
  • Using a muzzle on the dog

If these measures are insufficient, then the dog may need to be euthanized. However, usually a court will attempt to prevent the dog from attacking others before suggesting euthanization.

What Is the Dog Owner Liable for After an Attack?

Owners are responsible for damages to the victim if their dog attacks someone. The owner will be liable for injuries directly caused by the attack, as well as any injuries the victim may have sustained while trying to escape the dog. An example of this is if you fell while trying to escape the dog, and sustained a broken bone or other type of injury,

How Common Are Dog Attacks?

Dog attacks are much more common than you might expect, with more than 4.5 million reported dog bite incidents in the United States every year, according to the CDC. Around 800,000 of those attacks are serious enough to result in the victim seeking medical care.


Stephen Boutros has dedicated over 27 years to advocating for the rights of victims. He focuses on aggressively seeking justice and ensuring that victims of personal injury receive the fullest possible compensation for their injuries and suffering.

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