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When a dangerous dog attacks, who is responsible?


Imagine for a moment you are playing with your children at a public park or green space, when out of nowhere a vicious dog begins attacking yourself or your children. Such shocking and violent attacks have happened far too often in California, leaving adults and children with serious physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime. The California Legislature has specifically recognized the serious problem these dangerous animal attacks pose to the public, and as such, they have gone to great lengths to establish a system of laws and regulations which attempt to curb the danger, but also adequately penalize those whose pet animals cause injury or death to others.

California defines vicious dogs as any dog which has been labeled as dangerous under statute or regulation, or has previously seriously injured or killed a person. A serious injury is defined as those injuries that need cosmetic surgery or multiple sutures, or that result in disfigurement or muscle tearing. When a vicious dog bites a person, unfortunately such injuries are quite common, and generally require painful and costly medical treatments.

If a dog is known to be dangerous, the owner has the duty to ensure that the dog is entirely unable to inflict harm upon anyone on public property or anyone who is on the owner’s property legally. This means that the dog must be properly enclosed and kept out of situations where it could potentially attack another animal or human. Pet owners who fail to do this, and allow their dog to escape or attack a person on their property can be subject to criminal penalties and civil liability. In addition, there are a host of other city ordinances that regulate dangerous dogs and impose penalties to violators. Those who are injured by an unprovoked animal attack should consider talking to an experienced California personal injury attorney, as they may have the option to obtain compensation for their injuries.

Source: Michigan State University California Dangerous Dog Laws, accessed Dec. 20, 2014