California Woman Threatens Suicide If Her Puppy is Put Down for Biting

san luis obispo dog bite laws

A 46-year-old California woman has been placed on suicide watch after she threatened to take her own life if her German Shepherd puppy were to be euthanized for biting a stranger and an animal control officer who seized him.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Faryal Kabir said she would kill herself if her 16-month-old dog named Zeus were to be put down. The dog was seized by animal control on July 15 after a dog bite incident. He was scheduled to be euthanized last week.

Lawsuit Against City

The dog reportedly bit an unidentified man in May leaving him with multiple scratches on his arms. In July, Zeus bit an Elk Grove animal control officer who showed up to seize him. Kabir filed a lawsuit that delayed the dog being put down. She filed it after being slapped with a court order forcing her to spend five days at the Sacramento Behavioral Hospital from Oct. 6 over fears that she would harm herself.

Kabir told DailyMail.com that she is now suing the city after an ordeal she says has given her nightmares. Her attorney is seeking $500,000 in damages for injuries and losses as well as $5 million if the dog is put down. Kabir told the Daily Mail the dog is like her child. Bodycam video seen by the Daily Mail showed Kabir trying to restrain the dog as he lunged at animal control officers.

Dog Bite Causes Injuries

The initial dog bite victim was treated in the emergency room for his injuries and reported pain in his legs, difficulty sitting, working, sleeping, and engaging in other normal activities that continued days after the dog attack, the Daily Mail reports. A week later Elk Grove city officials sent Kabir a letter classifying her dog as “a dangerous animal.” She was given a list of requirements, including that the animal is confined within a substantial enclosure, securely leashed or otherwise controlled, and given 35 days to comply.

She was also required to set up an enclosure in her yard and post a “dangerous dog” sign, install new locks for her gate and secure $100,000 in liability insurance for the dog. Kabir said officers showed up in her home two days before the 35-day deadline and seized her dog. She has now been separated from her dog for three months and has called the treatment of her dog “inhumane.”

What Dogs Are Classified as “Dangerous” in California?

Under California law, a “potentially dangerous dog” is one that has without provocation:

  • Engaged in behavior away from its owner’s property twice in the last 36 months that required a person to take defensive action to prevent bodily harm.
  • Bitten someone causing an injury.
  • Injured or killed a domestic animal outside the dog owner’s property twice in the last 36 months.

A “vicious” dog under California is one that:

  • Was previously determined to be and is currently listed as potentially dangerous and continues its aggressive behavior or whose owner fails to comply with the law.
  • Has severely injured or killed a person without provocation and in an aggressive manner.
  • Has been seized as a result of its owner’s violation and subsequent conviction for a Penal Code violation regarding dog fighting.

A dog may be deemed potentially dangerous or vicious after an investigation by an animal control officer or police officer, and a court or administrative hearing. If the officer determines that the dog poses an immediate threat to public safety, the animal may be impounded pending the outcome of a hearing.

The law also establishes some circumstances under which the dog may not be declared potentially dangerous or vicious. One example is if the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s property or committing some other criminal act, such as burglary.

A dog that is found to be potentially dangerous generally retains that designation for at least three years, except the owner may seek an earlier removal of that designation by demonstrating some change in the circumstances such as training, which might reduce the risk to the community.

If You Have Been Injured in a Dog Attack

Under California’s “strict liability statute” dog owners can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by their pets. California’s Civil Code Section 3342 states: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Dog owners have a responsibility to make sure their animals are properly confined in their home or yard so they don’t injure others. Most cities and jurisdictions also have leash laws, which prohibit dogs from running loose.

If you have been injured in a dog attack, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, therapy, cosmetic surgery, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Victims or their families would be well advised to contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. Victims may also be able to seek compensation through the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy, which usually covers dog bite incidents.

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