LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. - A man whose three dogs have allegedly terrorized a New Jersey neighborhood and bitten at least 12 people made his initial court appearance Friday, though he did not enter a plea.
Esau Morales, 26, of Little Egg Harbor, is charged with maintaining a nuisance, along with three counts each of dogs at large with the owner responsible for control and failure to obtain a dog license. If convicted, he could faces fines and a potential 90-day county jail sentence.
Morales said little during the brief court hearing and was not represented by an attorney, though he told the judge he did plan to hire a lawyer. He quickly left the courthouse afterward and did not comment to reporters.
The latest dog attack occurred Monday in the area of Lake Winnipesaukee Drive when police said a 69-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man sustained multiple dog bites. Six residents were bitten overall as officers and residents frantically attempted to contain the dogs, police said.
There have seven incidents overall with at least 12 residents being bitten by the same dogs, police have said. The judge ruled Friday that the three dogs will be kept at an animal shelter for the time being, and Morales must turn over any vaccination records to police.
The dogs previously were removed by animal control in December, authorities have said, but later were returned to the owner.
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