California and LA County Dog Related Laws


California Law is specific regarding dog bites and attacks. Hurt in a dangerous dog mauling? If so, this comprehensive list of canine related laws and ordinances can help in answering your questions. Also, it should help you get the compensation you deserve.

California Animal Ordinances and Laws


Leash Law: With or without a license County Code Title 10, Section 10.32.010 states it is not permissible to permit a dog to run at large day or night.

Unattended Canines. Dogs must not run loose. When outside its yard, the dog must remain leashed. Violations of County Code Title 10 Section 10.32.010 can result in a citation, court appearance, and fine of up to $250.

Annual Licensing Requirements: The state law of California and county ordinances require owners to purchase dog licenses every year. Also, they must be securely fastened to the canine’s collar. Also, dogs four months or older need a license. In fact, they must do so whether they leave your house or yard.

Also, cat licenses in all county unincorporated areas and several contract cities are required. But the failure to permit a canine can end up in citations, fines, and court appearances. Most of all, these cases are brought under the California Health and Safety Code, Section 1920, and the California Food and Agriculture Code Section 30502. But many cases are filed under County Code Section 10.20.190.

Canine Vaccinations: All dogs four months of age or older must have rabies shots. The shots must stay maintained for the entire licensing period. Also, failure to comply with the law may result in a citation and court appearance under California Health and Safety Code Section 1920 and County Code Title 10, Section 10.20.220.

Barking Dogs. Dog owners or custodians must not permit a dog to annoy and bark continuously or an extended amount of time. If so, they may be guilty of a public nuisance. After all, it disturbs the peace. Also, this can be a misdemeanor. So then it would carry a penalty of up to $1,000. But it could also be punishable by six months in jail under the California Penal Code 373(a), and L.A. County Code Section 10.40.065. Neighbors with complaints can contact their local Department of Animal Care and Control agency. Victims usually submit an Animal Complaint Form.

Dangerous Canines: The owner of a public menace dog may have the animal removed and impounded. The agency may file a petition with the Municipal Court when they believe a canine is dangerous to determine its disposition. The dog owner may need to give up or dispose of the animal. County Code Sections 10.37.020, 10.37.150, and 10.37.040 are also a basis for a claim.

Animal Abandonment: Abandoning an animal under California Penal Code Section 597(s) subjects the owner to a fine of $500. Also, a violation could mean six months jail-time.

Adequate Food and Water: Every pet owner must supply their animal with adequate food and water. Owners failing to provide proper food and water to a dog violates the human-pet care measure of California Penal Code Section 579(e) and County Code Title 10 Section 10.40.010.

Proper Shelter. Owners of canines must provide adequate shelter from weather conditions of extreme hot, cold, and rain at all times under California Penal Code Section 597(a) and County Code Title 10 Section 10.40.010.

Inhumane Treatment of a Canine. People may not mistreat, abuse or torture or subject animals to needless suffering. California Penal Code Section 597 and County Code 10.12.160 make this crystal clear. Also, animals may not become deprived of water, proper food, or shelter. A violation may end up as a felony charge. Also, anyone wishing to report a case of inhumane animal treatment or neglect should contact their local animal control agency.

Dogs in Open Vehicles. In the state of California, it is illegal to transport any canine in an open vehicle, including in or on the back of an open truck, while traveling on any highway, county road, street, alley or lane. Violation result is citations, court appearances, and a fine of $250 per incident.

Exception: Vehicle Code Section 23117 allows open truck transport in particular cases. But the cross tethering to the sides of the open vehicle must be secure. But the vehicle must be 3 feet 10 inches (46 inches).

Hobby Breeder. Also, under the law, a person who breeds dogs to sell is a hobby breeder. But unless the person has a valid Animal Facility license, he or she cannot produce for pay or other compensation. Anyone who breeds a female dog must obtain a Hobby Breeding permit as outlined in Section 10.90.010. The purpose is to prevent the over-breeding of animals.

The permit authorizes whelping of no more than one litter per female canine in 12 months. Also, no more than one litter per private household is allowed per one year period under L.A. County Code Title 10, Section 10.20.045, and 10.90.010.

Civil Code Sec. 3342. Continued.

(a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.

(b) Nothing in this section shall authorize the bringing of an action pursuant to subdivision (a) against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite or bites occurred while the dog was defending itself from an annoying, harassing, or provoking act, or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:

1. In the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in criminal activity. 2. In the investigation of a crime or possible crime. 3. In the execution of a warrant. 4. In defense of a peace officer or another person.

(c) Subdivision (b) shall not apply in any case where the victim of the bite or bites was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act or acts that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work. (d) Subdivision (b) shall apply only where a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subdivision (b). [1953 ch. 37, 1988 ch. 298.] California Civil Code Sec. 3342.5.

Owner’s Duty to Remove Danger Present to Others by Dog (a) The owner of any dog that has bitten a human being shall have the duty to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to remove any danger presented to other persons from bites by the animal.

(b) Whenever a dog has bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions, any person, the district attorney, or city attorney may bring an action against the owner of the animal to determine whether conditions of the treatment or confinement of the dog or other circumstances existing at the time of the bites have been changed so as to remove the danger to other persons presented by the animal. This action shall be brought in the county where a bite occurred. The court, after hearing, may make any order it deems appropriate to prevent the recurrence of such an incident, including, but not limited to, the removal of the animal from the area or its destruction if necessary.

(c) Whenever a dog trained to fight, attack, or kill has bitten a human being, causing substantial physical injury, any person, including the district attorney, or city attorney may bring an action against the owner of the animal to determine whether conditions of the treatment or confinement of the dog or other circumstances existing at the time of the bites have been changed so as to remove the danger to other persons presented by the animal. This action shall be brought in the county where a bite occurred. The court, after hearing, may make any order it deems appropriate to prevent the recurrence of such an incident, including, but not limited to, the removal of the animal from the area or its destruction if necessary.

(d) Nothing in this section shall authorize the bringing of an action pursuant to subdivision (b) based on a bite or bites inflicted upon a trespasser, or by a dog used in military or police work if the bite or bites occurred while the dog was actually performing in that capacity. (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent legislation in the field of dog control by any city, county, or city and county. (f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the liability of the owner of a dog under Section 3342 or any other provision of the law. (g) A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case. [Amended 1998 ch. 931.]

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