Pet Owners Must Know California Dog Bite Laws

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Pet Owners Must Know California Dog Bite Laws

Pet Owners Must Know California Dog Bite LawsWe love our dogs. They give us comfort, security, and we treat them as part of the family. Having a pet is a big responsibility though, and responsible pet owners must know California Dog Bite Laws. What happens when your dog gets aggressive and bites someone? As a dog owner, you will feel responsible for the dog bite no matter what the circumstances, but are you really liable?

There are some things you need to know to be sure that you don’t end up paying for something that really isn’t your fault. Knowing your rights as a dog owner can save you undue stress and concern about the situation and the future of your dog.

California is a strict liability state in regards to dog bites which means that as a dog owner, you can’t claim that you didn’t know your dog would act aggressively. Whether your dog has ever bitten anyone or not, as the owner, you are responsible if your dog proceeds to bite.

There are additional circumstances to consider as a dog owner that will protect you from liability:

  • Was the dog bite victim trespassing?  In the case of a trespasser, since the person would have to be either in a public place or on the property lawfully, meaning invited, a trespasser wouldn’t have the same standard of care that an invited guest would have. Of course there are other considerations as to trespassing but these are the general guidelines.
  • Did the person know there was a risk of injury?  Anyone who works with animals knows that there is always some risk, even if they did not expect it. Dog trainers, veterinarians, groomers and other animal caretakers understand the risks in working with animals and so the person in this case can’t hold the dog owner responsible.
  • Did the victim provoke the dog?  Provocation of a dog, whether intentional or not, can release the dog owner of the responsibility as well. Things like teasing and hitting are clear examples of provoking a dog, but stepping on a dog’s foot or tail is also considered provoking even if it is unintentional.

Victim behaviors such as carelessness and breaking the law can have a big impact on how your dog reacts to others so knowing that people can be as much to blame as your dog is important in knowing your rights.

Unfortunately, accidents can happen with our dogs which can be due to many things. As a dog owner, it’s smart to know the laws surrounding dog bite laws and understand that the circumstances may not be under your complete control.