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San Diego County Dog Bite Laws

If you've suffered serious trauma from a dog attack please contact our San Diego dog bite lawyers to find out what your rights are. You may be entitled to recovery for mental and physical anguish. Call 1-800-561-4887.

There are a number of laws in San Diego County that offers the public protection from dangerous and vicious dogs. Dog owners in San Diego County have a legal obligation under existing laws to exercise care to prevent their pets from biting or attacking other animals or human beings. Here are some of the laws that apply to dog attacks and dog bite injuries in San Diego County.

SEC. 62.669.1. Public Protection From Dogs.

(a) A dog's owner or custodian or other person having control of a dog shall exercise ordinary care to prevent the dog, while the dog is under the owner, custodian or other person's care, custody or control from:
(1) Attacking, biting or otherwise causing injury to any person engaged in a lawful act.
(2) Interfering with a person or animal legally using public or private property.
(3) Damaging personal property that is lawfully on public property or that is on private property with the permission of the property owner or other person who has the right to possess or use the private property.
(b) The owner of any unaltered dog that bites a person engaged in a lawful act shall pay the Department an altering deposit in addition to any other applicable fees the Board of Supervisors (Board) establishes.  The altering deposit shall be refunded or forfeited as provided in section 62.679(c).
(c) This section shall not apply to a dog assisting or training to assist a law enforcement officer while that officer is executing law enforcement duties or responsibilities.
(Amended by Ord. No. 7906 (N.S.), effective 6-20-91; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8211 (N.S.), effective 4-1-93; amended by Ord. No. 8353 (N.S.), effective 3-3-94; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8422 (N.S.), effective 8-11-94; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9098 (N.S.), effective 12-16-99; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9274 (N.S.), effective 12-15-00; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9420 (N.S.), effective 2-2-02; amended by Ord. No. 10036 (N.S.), effective 2-26-10)

SEC. 62.669.5. Protection Dog, Guard Dog.

(a) Any person owning or having custody or control of a "Protection Dog," "Guard Dog," "Dangerous Dog," or any "Potentially Dangerous Animal" is guilty of a misdemeanor if, as a result of that person's failure to exercise ordinary care, the animal attacks, bites, or otherwise causes injury to a person engaged in lawful activity and the owner or custodian knew or should have known of the animal's vicious or dangerous nature, or the animal's "Protection Dog," "Guard Dog," "Dangerous Dog," or "Potentially Dangerous Animal" status.
(b) This section does not apply to animals used in military or police work while they are actually performing in that capacity.
(Amended by Ord. No. 7906 (N.S.), effective 6-20-91; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8211 (N.S.), effective 4-1-93; amended by Ord. No. 8353 (N.S.), effective 3-3-94; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8422 (N.S.), effective 8-11-94; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9098 (N.S.), effective 12-16-99; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9274 (N.S.), effective 12-15-00; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9420 (N.S.), effective 2-2-02)
State law reference(s)--Protection dog defined, Business and Professions Code, § 7521.

SEC. 62.674. Declaration and Possession of a Dangerous Dog

(a) GENERAL PROVISIONS.
1. If the Department has cause to believe that a dog is a "Dangerous Dog," it may commence proceedings as provided herein.
2. The Department shall first serve, upon the owner and/or custodian, notice of intent to declare the dog a "Dangerous Dog."
3. The notice shall inform the dog owner and/or custodian of the incident(s) that provide a basis for the Department's action, and specify that he/she may request a hearing within five (5) "Business Days" from service of the notice to determine whether grounds exist for such declaration; the potential consequences if such a declaration is issued; and the Department's authority for such action. Such request shall be in writing and must be received by the Department within the specified time period.
4. Failure of the owner and/or custodian to request a hearing pursuant to subsection (3), or failure to attend or be represented at a scheduled hearing, shall satisfy the hearing requirements and shall result in the issuance of a "Dangerous Dog" declaration.
5. A finding at the hearing that the dog does fall within subsection (1) or (2) of Section 62.601(l) shall result in the issuance of a "Dangerous Dog" declaration.
6. The Department is hereby authorized and empowered to impound and/or abate any "Dangerous Dog" independently of any criminal prosecution or the results thereof by any means reasonably necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public including, but not limited to, the destruction of the dog or by the imposition upon the owner and/or custodian specific reasonable restrictions and conditions for the maintenance of the dog. The restrictions and conditions may include, but are not limited to:
a. Obtaining and maintaining liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and furnishing a certificate or proof of insurance by which the Department shall be notified at least ten (10) days prior to cancellation or non-renewal;
b. Requirements as to size, construction and design of enclosure;
c. Location of the dog's residence;
d. Requirements as to type and method of restraints and/or muzzling of the dog;
e. Photo identification or permanent marking of the dog for purposes of identification;
f. A requirement to obtain a "Dangerous Dog" registration in addition to the license required under Section 62.620 of this code;
g. A requirement to alter the dog;
h. Requirements to allow inspection of the dog and its enclosure by the Department or any other law enforcement agency, and to produce upon demand, proof of compliance with all requirements of this section; and,
i. Payment of a reasonable fee to recover the costs of the Department in verifying compliance and enforcing the provisions of this section.
The Department may also commence proceedings in accordance with the Uniform Public Nuisance Abatement Procedure contained in Chapter 2, Division 6, Title 1 of this Code.
(b) NOTIFICATION OF RIGHT TO HEARING. At least five (5) "Business Days" prior to the impoundment and/or abatement, the owner or custodian of record shall be served a notice of their right to a hearing to determine whether grounds exist for such impoundment and/or abatement. If a hearing is requested, the impoundment and/or abatement hearing may be held in conjunction with the hearing provided for in subsection (a) of this section. If the owner or custodian of record requests a hearing prior to impoundment and/or abatement, no impoundment and/or abatement shall take place until the conclusion of the hearing except as noted in subsection (c). Such request shall be in writing and must be received by the Department within the specified time period.
(c) IMMEDIATE IMPOUNDMENT. When, in the opinion of the Department, immediate impoundment is necessary for the preservation of animal or public health, safety or welfare, or if the dog has been impounded under other provisions of law, the pre-impoundment hearing shall be waived; however, the owner or custodian of record shall be given a notice allowing five (5) "Business Days" from service of the notice to request an abatement hearing. Such request shall be in writing and must be received by the Department within the specified time period. If a hearing is requested, the dog shall not be disposed of prior to satisfaction of the hearing requirements.
A finding at an abatement hearing under subsection (b) or (c) that grounds exist for the impoundment and/or abatement of the dog, or the failure of the owner and/or custodian to request a hearing or to attend or be represented at a scheduled hearing, shall satisfy the hearing requirements and the dog shall be impounded and/or abated.
(d) CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP, CUSTODY AND/OR RESIDENCE. The owner and/or custodian of a "Dangerous Dog" who moves or sells the dog(s) or otherwise transfers the ownership, custody or residence of the dog(s), shall at least ten (10) days prior to the sale or transfer, inform the Department in writing of the name, address and telephone number of the proposed new owner or custodian, and/or the proposed new residence, and the name and description of the dog(s). The Department may prohibit the proposed transfer for cause.
The owner and/or custodian shall, in addition, notify any new owner or custodian in writing regarding the details of the dog's record, and the terms and conditions for maintenance of the dog. The owner and/or custodian shall also provide the Department with a copy thereof containing an acknowledgment by the new owner or custodian of his/her receipt of the original and acceptance of the terms or conditions. The Department may impose different or additional restrictions or conditions upon the new owner or custodian.
In the event of the dog's death, the owner and/or custodian shall notify the Department no later than twenty four (24) hours thereafter and, upon request, produce the dog for verification. If the dog escapes, the owner and/or custodian shall notify the Department and make every reasonable effort to recapture it. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(e) POSSESSION UNLAWFUL. It is unlawful to have custody of, own or possess a "Dangerous Dog" unless it is restrained, confined, or muzzled so that it cannot bite, attack or cause injury to any person. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(f) DECLARED DANGEROUS DOG. It shall be unlawful for the owner and/or custodian of a dog declared to be a "Dangerous Dog" to fail to comply with any requirements or conditions imposed pursuant to subdivision (a)(6). Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(g) SURRENDER OF DOG UPON DEMAND. The owner and/or custodian of a "Dangerous Dog" shall surrender such dog to the Department upon demand.
Any person who violates any provision of subsections (d), (e), (f), or (g) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Amended by Ord. No. 7309 (N.S.), effective 7-2-87; amended by Ord. No. 7906 (N.S.), effective 6-20-91; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8211 (N.S.), effective 4-1-93; amended by Ord. No. 8353 (N.S.), effective 3-3-94; repealed and added by Ord. No. 8422 (N.S.), effective 8-11-94; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9098 (N.S.), effective 12-16-99; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9274 (N.S.), effective 12-15-00; repealed and readopted by Ord. No. 9420 (N.S.), effective 2-2-02)

If You Have Been Injured

If a dangerous dog has injured you or a loved one, it is critical that you seek immediate medical attention and file a report with the Animal Services Department. Under California's strict liability statutes and the county's ordinance, dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. The experienced San Diego County dog bite attorneys at Bisnar Chase can help you seek and obtain maximum compensation for your losses.

 


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