LITTLE EGG HARBOR — The owner of three dogs that bit six people on Monday lied about them having their rabies shots, according to the police chief.

It took police an hour to corral three dogs that bit six people including a 69-year-old woman and 40-year-old man on Lake Winnipesaukee Drive, according to Little Egg Harbor police.

It wasn't the first time police had to deal with the dogs, which have been accused of biting at least 12 victims over the past four months, according to police.

Esau Morales, 26, of Little Egg Harbor, made his initial court appearance on Friday, though he did not enter a plea. He is charged with maintaining a nuisance along with three counts of allowing dogs to run loose and failure to obtain a dog license. The dogs are a cane corso breed.

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.

Police Chief Richard Buzby said that Morales told officers the dogs had received their rabies shots. Information revealed during the hearing prompted his department to investigate the accuracy of the statement.

"As a result, we have now determined that, although required by law, no such vaccinations for rabies ever happened regarding those animals," Buzby wrote.

The chief believes there may be other bite victims who are unknown to police and urged them to seek medical attention.

Under state code — Title 4, Section 19 — dogs that have bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days at a kennel or at the dog's home in order to check for rabies. The dog is usually then returned to its owner.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

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