The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

3 Dangerous Dog Laws Owners Should Know

California has its fair share of vicious dog attacks, with some incidents claiming the lives of innocent victims.

How have state and local lawmakers attempted to take a bite out of the problem? Here are three dangerous dog laws that all Los Angeles-area dog owners should be aware of:

1. Dangerous Dogs Can Be Put Down.

Dogs that run wild on their owner's property are likely to get out and bite someone. Unfortunately for the dog, the Los Angeles Municipal Code allows for the extermination of any animal that has bitten a human being or other animal.

Any owner caught trying to harbor an animal that has been declared to be dangerous is in violation of the Municipal Code, so trying to hide Ole Yeller from animal control in LA is illegal.

2. Dog Bites Man; Owner Gets Jail.

California law also doesn't look kindly on piss-poor dog owners who let their "mischievous animals" run amok to kill and injure their neighbors. Under the California Penal Code, an owner who knows his dog is dangerous can be charged with a felony if the pooch is unrestrained and manages to kill someone.

Even a dog bite that causes a disfiguring scar can result in the reckless dog owner facing prison time.

3. Dog Fighting Is Illegal in All Respects.

Many Californians view dog fighting as a cruel and disgusting practice. Those who own dogs trained to fight, attack or kill may face up to four years in prison if their dog's bite causes substantial physical injury.

Felony charges may be filed for any of these actions related to dog fighting:

  • Owning a dog with intent to have it fight for sport,
  • Holding dog fights on your property, or
  • Causing dogs to fight each other for amusement.

Any of these actions, including beatings and starvings which tend to accompany the training of fighting dogs, constitute illegal animal cruelty -- another possible felony.

Hopefully these harsh California punishments for the owners of dangerous and mistreated dogs will improve the condition for canines in the state.

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