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Animal bites must be reported in New Jersey

In the warmer summer months, New Jersey residents and their pets are out and about more frequently. Whether it is walks around the neighborhood, a trip to the beach or a hike at a state park, people are coming in contact with unfamiliar dogs and other pets. With this increased exposure, comes an increased risk of animal bites.

Under New Jersey state law, people who have been bitten, scratched or otherwise hurt by an animal are required to report the incident to their local health department within 12 hours. This law applies to both domesticated and wild animals. Furthermore, it also applies when someone is bitten by their own animal.

When the animal is domesticated, the health department will instruct the pet's owner to quarantine and observe the dog, cat or other animal for at least 10 days. During this time, the owner will be looking for any symptoms of rabies. If signs of rabies are present this will allow an animal bite victim to seek treatment.

Besides the threat of rabies, an animal bite injury can be a scary event. Not only can they be physically traumatic, but animal bites can also leave deep emotional scars. Those who are bitten by an animal this summer should know that they have legal rights to help deal with the emotional and physical pain following an animal bite injury. If the owner of the animal was negligent, that owner may be responsible for compensating the victim. This compensation can help pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other expenses arising from the bite.

Following an animal bite, New Jersey residents should remember to contact their local health department to ensure that they have not been exposed to rabies. But, then they should explore their legal options so that they can get help moving forward from this traumatic event.

Source: The Paramus Post, "Reporting Of Animal Bites Is Required By Law," Mel Fabrikant, June 6, 2013

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