Jun 9, 2020

When is Dog Euthanasia Mandated by Law?


Are Dogs Always Put Down After a Serious Dog Bite Attack?

Dogs are not put down after each and every attack. There are circumstances where the responsibility does not belong to the dog or its owners. In other cases, there is unclear risk or evidence. In yet other cases, owners may voluntarily have their dog put down. Not every case is clear cut. However, California law attempts to make the decision a bit easier, even if the situation is very difficult. This often has to do with several factors, including the risk that the dog could attack again. The higher the risk of the dog, the higher the chance that it will be put down.

Euthanasia as a Major Tool.

Unfortunately for the victims of a major dog attack, there are only so many options available. When it comes to the dog itself, there are often two choices-- reform or death. The animal might be a severe risk to people following such an attack. This is especially the case if the dog has a recorded history of attacking other people.

Often, there are the two strikes and you are out rules. California law is very clear about this. Take it straight from the law here.

There are two cases where dogs are usually put down:

  1. It is the second time that the dog attacked a person.
  2. The owner trained the dog to attack.

And if the owner knew the dog's danger or trained it to do violence, the penalties are severe:

Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog trained to fight, attack, or kill is guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, if, as a result of that person's failure to exercise ordinary care, the dog bites a human being, on two separate occasions or on one occasion causing substantial physical injury. (Learn more)

Furthermore, there are severe civil implications, too. The victim often sues the dog owner following an attack. Knowing the dog's risk increases the chance of a successful suit. In addition, it increases the chance the police euthanize the dog.