California holds the dog owner responsible for all injuries caused by their dog. The most common injury is when the dog bites another person causing wounds or even death. California imposes a duty on the owner to take reasonable steps to remove any danger the animal poses.

When May a Person Sue for a Dog Bite?

Any person in California may bring a dog bite lawsuit against the dog’s owner if they suffered physical injury.  

What Is a Potentially Dangerous Dog?

California defines a potentially dangerous dog as:

  • Any dog, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within a prior 3 year period, engages in behavior where someone has to intervene in order to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner of the dog.
  • Any dog, when unprovoked, that bites a person causing slight injury.
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 3 year period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or caused injury to a domestic animal off the property of the owner of the dog. 

What Kind of Enclosure is Recommended to Keep a Dog in California?

California defines an enclosure as a fence or structure that prevents the entry of young children, and which is suitable to confine a dog. The purpose of the enclosure should be designed to prevent the animal from escaping while also providing an adequate area for exercise.  

When Can the Police Seize or Impound a Dog?

California law states that an officer cannot seize or impound a dog on its owner’s property for violation of a leash ordinance or issue citations for the violation of such an ordinance when the dog has not strayed from the owner’s property. However, if the dog has strayed and later returned to the property, an officer may issue a citation if the owner is present or impound the dog if the owner is not present. 

Should I Seek a California Attorney about a Potentially Dangerous Dog?

Dogs that are potentially dangerous are a risk for everyone. If you feel that you or your family are potentially at risk of injury by a dog, an attorney will be able to assist you in resolving this dispute. If you were bitten by a dog in California, you should consult with a personal injury attorney immediately.