California's Dog Bite Laws: A Guide for Los Angeles Dog Owners

Jul 02, 2023

Understanding California's Dog Bite Laws

California is a state known for its robust laws on dog bites. As a dog owner in Los Angeles, it is crucial to understand these laws to protect yourself from liability and ensure the safety of others. This guide will help you navigate the legal landscape of dog ownership in the Golden State.

California Dog Law

Strict Liability State

First and foremost, it is important to note that California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means that the owner is responsible for their dog's actions, regardless of the dog's past behavior. Even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner will still be held liable if the dog bites someone.

Exceptions to the Rule

While California is a strict liability state, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, the owner may not be held liable if the person bitten was trespassing on their property, provoking the dog, or knowingly took the risk of being bitten.

Dog Bite Exceptions

Statute of Limitations

In California, the victim of a dog bite has two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. If a claim is not filed within this time, the victim may lose their right to sue.

California's Leash Laws

Los Angeles dog owners should also be aware of California's leash laws. In general, dogs must be on a leash at all times when they are off their owner's property. Letting a dog run loose can result in fines and penalties.

Dog Leash Law

The Role of Animal Control

Animal Control plays a significant role in enforcing California's dog bite laws. If a dog bites someone, the incident should be reported to Animal Control. The agency may quarantine the dog, issue a warning, or take further action if necessary.

Preventing Dog Bites

As a dog owner, preventing dog bites is your responsibility. This involves proper training, socialization, and supervision of your dog. Remember, a well-behaved dog not only creates a safer community but also reduces your liability risk.

Dog Training


Understanding California's dog bite laws is essential for any Los Angeles dog owner. By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for both your dog and your community.