THERE SHOULD be some witty intro here, about old dogs and new tricks, but we used that line the last time a Haddonfield surgeon's African hunting dog bit a little girl.

One of Robert Taffet's prize-winning Rhodesian Ridgebacks, allegedly the same one that tore off a 3-year-old girl's ear in 2009, injured another girl recently at the Taffets' home in the upscale Camden County town, officials said.

Details were sketchy yesterday, but police confirmed they were investigating the bite, and borough officials couldn't hide their frustration.

"It's sad. It's a shame this keeps happening to kids," said Borough Solicitor Mario Iavicoli. "No one can know when they will be next."

Iavicoli said the alleged culprit, Duke, bit the shoulder of an attorney's daughter at Taffet's home shortly "before or after Easter." The girl, a friend of Taffet's daughter, was treated by a doctor for puncture wounds, he said. Police and the borough's commissioner of public safety confirmed the investigation but declined further comment.

Last July, a municipal judge in Salem County spared Duke's life, finding the dog to be "potentially dangerous" rather than "vicious" after it bit off a girl's ear at Taffet's goat farm in rural Alloway Township.

The judge found that Duke had only "nipped" Claire McVeigh's ear, with most of the damage coming when she fell. The girl has required several surgeries since.

The contentious hearings and the judge's ruling infuriated McVeigh's parents, particularly her father, who gave a prophetic, teary-eyed statement outside the courtroom that sweltering afternoon.

"History is an indicator of what will happen in the future," Dennis McVeigh said at the time.

Taffet's troubled timeline with his ridgebacks goes back about a decade and is filled with bloody wounds, courtrooms and an ever-increasing amount of media attention. Duke's father, Rocky, was accused of biting or scratching at least three children, and tore up another doctor's arm in a Haddonfield park in 2002. One former victim, Jackie Castorino, still has scars on her shoulder, the result of a 2004 bite from Rocky.

"It drives me crazy to hear these stories," she said. "I cried when I heard that little girl's ear was bitten off."

Rocky, who had been given St. John's Wort for anxiety, was labeled "potentially dangerous" by a Haddonfield judge, a ruling that was overturned by a Camden County Superior Court judge and then later upheld by a state appeals court in Trenton.

The potentially dangerous label requires dogs to be muzzled in public and tattooed, and their owners to build specific fencing and signs to warn pedestrians.

Last year, when Duke was labeled "potentially dangerous" in Salem County, the judge there ordered the Taffets build an enclosure for the dog and notify authorities if he attacked again. Iavicoli said everyone assumed that Duke, who was not licensed in Haddonfield, would stay out on the farm, away from people.

"We were unaware the dog was in Haddonfield," Iavicoli said. "We thought he was being kept in an enclosure in Alloway.

Robert Taffet, approached in the driveway of his home yesterday by this reporter, declined comment. The attorney who represented the Taffets last summer said he was unaware of the most recent attack.

Iavicoli said the Taffets had not called police to report the incident.

John Brinkmann, a lawyer representing the McVeighs, said "this is exactly why they wanted put Duke put down."

"If a dog bites someone, the public has to be made aware of it," he said.

"It's almost unreal this happened again."