Even dogs you would never expect to hurt someone sometimes do, which is why California has strict dog bite laws in place to protect the public. Unfortunately, these laws do not always prevent the occurrence of dog bite injuries. In fact, annual dog bites severe enough to necessitate a hospital visit have risen by 44%over the last decade, despite the tightening of legislation. Let’s dive in.
Dog Bite Law
If you are a dog owner, there are several important laws of which you need to be aware. These include:
- Six-foot leash law: Leashes longer than six feet are insufficient for maintaining adequate control of your pet, therefore, if your dog bites someone while on a longer leash, you will be penalized.
- You must exercise “due control” over your dog at all times.
- Dogs (other than certified-service dogs) are prohibited from ALL California school grounds, specified parks, beaches, and other outdoor recreation spots unless otherwise specified. Yes, really.
Furthermore, you are required by law to report any bite or scratch from a wild or domestic animal to Animal Control officials.
Dog Bite Penalties
You will be fined $100 if your dog bites someone and they report the incident. Additionally, they may take you to civil court over damages to cover medical expenses or lost wages. A second bite will cost you $300 and a third bite $500. Note that these fines apply to the owner regardless of what happens to the dog. It is unlikely a dog that has bitten someone more than twice would remain in their owner’s care long enough to perpetrate a third bite.
The Dangers of Dog Bites
Beyond being painful and perhaps even fatal, the danger of infection from a dog bite is just as serious as the physical damage caused by the bite itself. Dog saliva contains the chemical capnocytophaga canimorsus, which can result in amputation of digits or limbs if left untreated. The county will also test dogs who bite for rabies and advise appropriate treatment.
Getting Quality Legal Help
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog and you need help filing a personal injury claim, Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation is here to help. Contact our Murrieta office today at (951) 489-3320 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.