Written by: Portrait Photo Of Tyrone J. Maho Tyrone J. Maho

California laws hold dog owners strictly liable for any injuries caused to humans and other animals that occur while on public property. Even when a pet does not have a known history of aggressive behavior, its owner has the responsibility of covering a victim’s medical expenses. Compensation may require payment for a victim’s hospital or veterinarian bills, loss of wages from missed work, and pain and suffering.

Requirement for reporting an incident

After a dog bite, California law requires reporting the incident to law enforcement officials and providing evidence of any injuries or damages. An official from the county’s animal control department may place the aggressive canine in a 10-day quarantine to investigate for rabies and other contagious diseases. If a licensed veterinarian determines that a dog has rabies, it generally undergoes euthanasia.

Canine facing euthanasia

As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent, local officials ordered the euthanization of a Labrador retriever after it severely bit a woman. The unleashed Labrador and its owner were at a park playing ball when the woman approached with her two golden retriever puppies. The Labrador suddenly ran off and began to growl at the woman and her pets. The canine then grabbed one of the puppies by its throat. When the woman wrestled it away from the Labrador, the dog attacked her face and neck while she fought him off. An inflicted wound on the woman’s arm required several stitches.

Owners and criminal penalties

Fewer than six months before attacking the woman and her two golden retrievers, the Labrador shook a neighbor’s puppy violently. After grabbing the young pet by its back with its teeth and shaking it to the point of causing internal injuries, the puppy required euthanasia.

Because of the Labrador’s prior bite incident, the canine’s owner knew of the dog’s propensity to attack and owed a duty of care to prevent further harm. Owners of dangerous dogs must keep their pets on a leash at all times when out in public or else they may face possible criminal penalties in addition to incurring civil liabilities.

By Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law on January 8, 2020