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Settlement reached on police dog bite

Many New Jersey families and individuals keep pets in their homes. These extra members of the family can range from cats to dogs to guinea pigs and beyond. Some have more exotic pets, such as snakes, that require extra attention and proper care. Regardless of the animal, most pets have the capacity to inflect harm on property or people if they aren't appropriately cared for.

Sometimes, police forces use highly-trained animals to help them with routine searches and drug busts. These animals are taught to take down suspects. A dog bite from one of these animals can do serious damage. Police have an extra responsibility to take proper precautions with these animals because they are out in the public with them.

Sadly, police animals or family pets can cause harm anywhere. In the Midwest, a woman was bitten by a police dog in 2012 and recently reached a settlement with the city of Lincoln, Nebraska. The dog was unrestrained in a local park when it attacked the woman and bit her several times. She was taken to a local hospital where doctors stitched up her leg. The settlement was for over $43,000.

When people with animals or pets are out in public, they have are obligated to make sure that the animal does not harm others. Any medical expenses and additional damages for pain and suffering are generally the responsibility of the owner if such harm takes place. The first thing one should do when attacked by an animal is attend to any wounds, of course. Shortly thereafter, though, it is helpful to acquaint oneself with state laws and local regulations on the subject. Rules on liability differ from state to state, so it's important to have knowledge on the latest legal updates.

A bite from an animal may require long-term medical care. Pet owners could be liable for damages if they don't practice good judgment with their animals. Animal bite victims, on the other hand, can be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of a pet owner or animal handler.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Woman settles lawsuit against city over police dog's bite," Lori Pilger, Dec. 19, 2013

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