Will The Dog That Injured You Be Put Down? California Law On Euthanization Of Dogs

January 2, 2019
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Dog Bite

Although California law does not require putting down every dog that has bitten a person, euthanization of a dog may be possible in certain situations.

On many occasions, our Los Angeles dog bites attorney from Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg has dealt with clients who feared that the dog that attacked them would be euthanized even though they suffered bodily injury because of that dog.

For all those dog lovers, we dedicated our blog post to help them get a better understand of when California law requires authorities to put down a dog after a dog bite and when it doesn’t.

When is euthanization of a dog required in California?

Our experienced dog bites attorney in Los Angeles explains that the euthanization of a dog is required by California law when:

  1. The dog has bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions; or
  2. The dog that was trained to fight people or other animals causes severe injury or death to a person.

However, incidents in which a dog has bitten a person who was trespassing or otherwise illegally on the dog’s property do not count as those “two separate occasions.” Therefore, under California law, a dog may be euthanized only if the dog caused injury to someone:

  • In a public place; or
  • Lawfully on any property.

Who can petition the court to put down a dog?

If a dog is eligible for euthanization, pretty much anyone can petition the court to put down that dog. However, prior to putting down the dog, the court will hold a hearing in order to determine whether or not the dog threatens public safety. “At the hearing, the dog owner will have a chance to present evidence that the dog is not a threat to public safety,” says our dog bites attorney Los Angeles.

However, regardless of how convincing the dog owner sounds at the hearing, the court has the authority to put down the animal with a prior history of vicious or aggressive behavior if it has compelling evidence that the dog is a threat to public safety.

Will authorities put down the dog that attacked you?

A dog is more likely to be put down after a dog bite if it has a prior history of violent or aggressive behavior. That’s because California law requires dog owners to exercise an extra duty of care and take more precautions when their dog has previously bitten or attacked anyone.

In order to prevent euthanization of his or her dog after a subsequent dog bite, the dog owner must prove that he/she has taken all reasonable steps and safety precautions to prevent harm. The dog owner’s failure to take these precautions to prevent bodily injury or death to other people means that the court may determine the dog to be a threat to public safety and petition to euthanize the dog (or wait for any person, including the victim, neighbor or friend, to petition the court to put down the dog).

During the hearing that determines whether or not a dog should be euthanized after a dog bite, the government entity or any person requesting the hearing will have an obligation to present evidence that the dog cannot be reasonably controlled and poses danger to other people around.

If you want to recover damages after a dog bite but do not want this dog to be put down, speak to our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to discuss your options. Call 310-997-0904 to get a free consultation.


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