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What is the purpose of quarantining a dog that bites?

Because of the massive popularity of dogs with Americans, catastrophic dog attacks are alarmingly common in New Jersey and across the country. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that roughly 800,000 Americans become bite victims every single year. Of these, nearly 20% require immediate medical care.

If a dog attacks you or someone in your family, New Jersey law requires the animal to remain in quarantine for 10 days. After the quarantine ends, an animal control officer must evaluate the dog to determine if it is healthy.

Observing for rabies

Rabies is a catastrophic virus that kills most people who exhibit symptoms of it. If doctors administer treatment before you show signs of the virus, though, you are likely to recover completely. Consequently, during the quarantine period, animal control officers verify vaccination records and monitor the dog for evidence of rabies.

Checking for other health concerns

While rabies is the paramount concern for animal control officers, they must also closely watch for other health concerns. After all, dogs can transfer a number of viruses, bacteria and parasites to humans. If animal control officers observe anything of concern during the quarantine, you may have to seek additional medical care.

Watching for behavioral issues

While some dog attacks are isolated events, others are part of a pattern of aggressive behavior. During the quarantine, animal control officers may research whether the dog has been aggressive in the past. They may also see how the animal reacts to both people and other dogs. If the dog is too vicious, euthanization may be necessary.

After the quarantine lapses, you may have some peace of mind about your ongoing health risk. Ultimately, though, you may need to pursue financial compensation from the dog’s owner to pay for medical bills, mental health counseling and other attack-related expenses.