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N.J. Appellate Court: Woman Bitten By Dog Can Sue Owners

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey Appellate Court said a woman bitten and injured by a dog she was paid to watch can sue the owners of the animal.

Hillary Aiges of Bergen County woman agreed to care for her neighbor’s golden retriever while they were on vacation, the Star-Ledger first reported. In exchange, she would get about $300.

While at Aiges’ home, the dog bit and injured her when she tried to pick up a napkin. But a Bergen County Superior Court judge ruled she was not entitled to damages unless she showed the dog’s owners – Jane and William Fuccillo — knew it was vicious or prone to attacks.

But the appellate court disagreed in a decision issued Friday.

The panel found the judge erred by classifying the woman as an independent contractor, because she earned extra income by working for a pet-sitting agency.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)