California Dangerous Dog Law

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Dogs have incredibly powerful jaws that can inflict severe injuries on unsuspecting victims. It is not uncommon for a dog bite injury victim to suffer from immense pain, deal with tremendous medical bills, and be left with significant scarring and disfigurement.

California law does not have any requirements pertaining to specific dog breeds, but the law in this state does establish restrictions for “potentially dangerous” or “vicious” dogs, and the law defines what these terms mean. Here, we want to discuss California’s dangerous dog laws in an effort to clear up any confusion about potential liability in the event a dog bites and injures somebody. 

What Does California Law Say About Dangerous Dogs?

While the vast majority of dogs in the state of California pose little to no threat to the general public, but that is not always the case. The state of California has established specific laws concerning how to deal with designating dogs as “potentially dangerous” or “vicious.” The state does not handle placing these designations on dogs lightly and only does so after following the letter of the law. 

Under California law, a dog will be considered potentially dangerous if it has, without provocation, done the following:

  • Engaged in behavior off of the owner’s property in the last 36 months that required a person to take defensive action to protect themselves. 
  • Bitten somebody causing an injury. 
  • Injured or killed by domestic animal off of the owner’s property twice in the last 36 months. 

Under California law, a dog will be considered vicious if:

  • It has been previously determined to be vicious and is currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog and continues aggressive behavior.
  • It has severely injured or killed a person without provocation or in an aggressive manner.
  • It has been seized as a result of the owner’s violation of law and conviction of California’s dogfighting statutes.

Dogs may be deemed potentially dangerous or vicious after an investigation by law enforcement officials or animal control and a subsequent court or administrative hearing. If a law enforcement officer or animal control officer determines that a dog poses an immediate threat to public safety, they are allowed to impound the dog pending the outcome of the hearing. 

Dogs that are found potentially dangerous usually retain the designation for at least three years, though the owner may ask that this designation be removed before that time frame by demonstrating changed circumstances (such as training that may have mitigated the risk to public safety). 

Seek Assistance From an Experienced Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has sustained a dog bite injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of a dog owner, seek legal assistance as soon as possible from an experienced dog bite injury lawyer in Long Beach, CA. Injuries caused by dog bites can be severe, and often include severe lacerations or puncture wounds, significant blood loss, infections, crushed or broken bones, scarring and disfigurement, and more.

These cases can become complicated, particularly when dealing with whether or not the dog in question has been labeled as a dangerous or vicious animal. An experienced injury attorney will be able to help investigate these cases in order to determine liability and secure full compensation for their client.