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San Diego’s “Dangerous Dog” Laws

Understanding San Diego County’s Hodge Podge of Dog Bite Laws

Although each city in San Diego has local ordinances, San Diego County has created a County Wide dog nuisance and dangerous breed law scheme. So to better understand the legal ramifications of dog bites, dog bite lawyer, Michael Ehline will go over the salient points. These are from the San Diego County Department of Animal Services.

What is San Diego’s Definition of a Nuisance or Dangerous Dog?

A Public Nuisance Animal is one that has repeatedly violated state and local laws, obstructed, damaged or inconvenienced the community, or injured or killed another animal.

A Dangerous Dog is one that has:

  • Attacked or bitten two people within a 48-month period
  • Attacked or bitten any person causing substantial injury or death

What Duties and Obligations Exist In Case of a Dog Bite?

You must notify the County Department of Animal Services if your dog bites someone. (San Diego County Code 62.615) By law, the dog is required to be quarantined for 10 days from the date of the bite. The place and manner of the quarantine are at the discretion of County Animal Services. So if this is your dog’s first reported minor bite of a person the government may not impound your dog.

But quarantine shall be required even if your dog has a current rabies vaccination. However, you may be allowed to quarantine the dog at your home if you have a secure enclosure that will isolate the dog from other people and animals during the quarantine period. But if you fail to keep the dog isolated, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and the dog could be impounded for the remainder of the quarantine period. No matter what, the dog cannot be released until approved by County Animal Services. And their animal control staff will contact you after the quarantine to see if your dog is healthy and is not showing signs of rabies.

Restrictions on Nuisance or Dangerous Dogs

  • Obtaining and maintaining liability insurance.
  • Building or purchasing specified fencing and/or using certain types of restraint and muzzling.
  • Getting the dog microchipped and having photo identification.
  • Altering the dog.
  • Requiring a special registration and possibly other restrictions.

Furthermore, the County requires owners to keep dogs leashed at home. In addition, when away from home, owners must restrain their dogs with a leash no longer than six feet. The person must control the dog. While in a motor vehicle, the dog must be restrained as not to jump from the vehicle or fall out. Each rule exists for a specific purpose.

So if you remain unsure about the role of law, contact the County Dept of Animal Services. Furthermore, each dog is a unique case. And the dog must be registered with the County. Hopefully, you learned more than you knew before about San Diego’s dangerous dog breed laws. To learn more about nationwide dangerous breeds and statistics, go here.

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Los Angeles, CA 90071
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