Family seeks justice after Carteret toddler killed by pit bulls
CARTERET — The family of the toddler killed by a pair of pit bulls is upset that their owners have not been charged or identified.
The dogs crawled under a fence from an adjacent yard and attacked the boy named Aziz, his brothers and their mother in the backyard of their Laurel Street home late in the afternoon of March 16. After the dogs entered the yard, Shabana Mohammad got her older boys to run to the house and threw herself on top of Aziz while her 10-year-old son called police.
According to Mayor Dan Reiman the dogs were euthanized after the attack and had not been not registered with the borough.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has not identified the owners of the dogs and have not filed charges, which prompted the family to post an online petition titled Justice for Aziz. A prosecutor's spokeswoman said it would not provide further updates about Shabana Mohammad's condition.
"We need justice for the family and want to keep the town safe," the petition created by Dawoud Rafique reads. "Please call the prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and urge her to prosecute the true killers of Aziz Ahmed, the owners and investigate the town of Carteret for negligence."
The man identified as Aziz's father, Tanveer Ahmed, signed the petition and wrote, "I love my baby. I need justice for my little angel."
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick told New Jersey 101.5's Steve Trevelise it's unlikely the owners will be criminally charged.
"The only time the owners are responsible for the dog's action is when the dog is used as a weapon," Bramnick explained.
"You've got a civil case and you've got a criminal case. The civil case is a clear-cut case of liability against the owners of the dog and actually, in New Jersey, when a dog bites someone it's strict liability — there's normally no defense. So clearly in this case, the owners of the dog are liable for money damages," Bramnick said.
Borough spokesman Jon Salonis told told the Patch of Woodbridge that the dogs were picked up by police on Oct. 23 after a complaint about them running around. Their owners claimed them the next day. Salonis did not immediately return a message from New Jersey 101.5 on Thursday morning..
The mother's sister, Nadia Mohammed, told Patch the family does not blame the dogs but the owners who left them unattended.
Mohammed is also upset the family's name is public while the owners have been able to maintain their anonymity.
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