What to Know About California’s Dog Leash and Dog Bite Laws

by Staff Blogger | August 28th, 2023

California’s dog leash and dog bite laws are in place to safeguard the well-being of both dogs and the public. These laws dictate the appropriate handling and restraint of dogs in public spaces and establish liability for dog owners in the event of a bite or attack.

Understanding these laws is essential for dog owners, pedestrians, and anyone who encounters dogs in public areas. If a dog in the Golden State hurts you, our California dog bite lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you file a claim against the responsible dog owner for compensation. 

Understanding California Leash Laws

While there is no state-wide leash law, most California municipalities have established mandates requiring dogs to be leashed in public spaces like parks, sidewalks, and playgrounds. These rules protect dogs and the general public from potential harm and ensure responsible pet ownership.

For example, the city of Sacramento requires that dogs in public areas be on a leash that has a length of 6’ or less. In Alameda, dog owners must leash their pets and control them in public parks. Dogs are not allowed on the city’s beaches.

Strict Liability Explained

Unlike specific leash laws, California does follow a strict liability rule for dog bites across the entire state. Strict liability means dog owners are legally responsible for injuries their dogs inflict. This applies whether the dog has a history of aggression or if the owner was aware of the dog’s dangerous disposition. This rule applies in public spaces and private property where the injured person has lawful access.

Consequences of Violating Leash Laws

When dog owners violate leash laws, they may face various consequences and liabilities. Local authorities may fine owners for having their dog off its leash. For example, in Sacramento, owners could be fined between $50 and $500 and receive a written citation.

Dog owners who fail to leash their pets may also face legal liabilities. If an unleashed dog causes harm or injury to another person, their property, or another animal, the owner can be held legally responsible under the state’s strict liability rule. This means the dog owner may have to pay a victim’s medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages if they missed work due to injuries. If the dog attack victim suffers emotional damage, the dog owner may also be responsible for damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

How to Prove Dog Bite Injuries

You must provide sufficient evidence to support your claim when seeking compensation for dog bite injuries. Proving dog bite injuries involves gathering evidence to establish liability and demonstrate the extent of the damages suffered. Some ways to do this may include:

  • Seek medical attention: Even if your injuries seem minor, seek medical attention. Medical professionals can assess the injuries and provide treatment and documentation of the incident. Your attorney can use these documents to show the extent of your injuries.
  • Document the incident: As soon as possible, get the name and contact information of the dog owner or witnesses. Your attorney can speak with witnesses after the incident to get their statements. This evidence can help prove you were lawfully on the property where the attack occurred and that you did not provoke the dog before it bit you.

Also, take photos of the scene, and record the details, such as the date and time of the incident as well as the circumstances and information on the dog.

  • Report the incident: Report the dog bite incident to authorities, such as local law enforcement or animal control. This ensures that an official record of the incident is created and can support your claim. Request a copy of the incident report for your records.
  • Speak with an attorney: Seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in dog bite cases. Our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can assist you through the legal process, help gather evidence, assess the strength of your case, and represent your interests in negotiations or court proceedings.

Schedule a Free Case Review with a Dog Bite Attorney

California’s dog leash and bite laws are in place to ensure public safety and hold dog owners accountable for any harm caused by their pets. When dog owners violate these laws, it can lead to severe injuries if their dog decides to attack an innocent party.

If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite injury, seeking legal representation from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is crucial. Berg Injury Lawyers has a strong track record in handling dog bite cases and advocating for the rights of victims.

Contact our legal team today to schedule a free consultation for your dog bite case. Our experienced team can provide guidance, gather evidence, and fight for the compensation you deserve.