What Everyone Should Know About Dog Bites and Dog Attacks

By John
I have been working in Sacramento as an injury attorney for many years. During those years our lawyers have handled many dog bite and dog attack cases in California, namely Sacramento, Roseville and Fairfield. One case we handled was a dog attack in Rocklin where a lady was walking her dog and a pit bull was let out of its back yard and ran after the little dog the lady was walking. The pit bull did not bite the lady but instead was more of an attack, knocking over the lady and breaking her leg. This is what Lawyers call an attack, not a dog bite. However there are many cases that treat an attack and bite as the same thing.

There is not much you can do if attacked, but if you are attacked by a big dog like a Pit Bull or Rottweiler, try to protect your throat as that is where you are very vulnerable during an attack. There are many county and city ordinances like those in Fairfield, Roseville and Sacramento that say a dog must be on a leash when in the public or must be properly contained so as to prevent dog bites and dog attacks. In fact if a dog bites you there is no one free bite rule in California. Whether the dog bite or attack occurs in Roseville, Sacramento or Fairfield, or any other city in California, it is the same, if a dog bites one time the owner is strictly liable, it is not about complying with the leash laws it is about complying with the state law.

California Civil Code section 3342 discusses dog bite and dog attacks. This applies to all cities in California including Roseville, Sacramento or Fairfield. In sum the law states that the owner of any dog is liable for injuries sustained to a person who is bitten by a dog in a public place or even when the dog is lawfully in a private place, including the property owners own home, regardless of the prior viciousness of the dog. Thus, a dog bite or dog attack holds the owner strictly liable. There are exceptions such as a military or police dog that is defending itself or in the line of duty. Note, what the line of duty entails is another discussion. There are also exceptions when the dog attacks a trespasser. If a thief breaks into a house and dog attacks and bites the thief, then you have a different type of claim, which is no likely to result in any compensation.

Now, if the owner of a dog knows that his or her dog has bitten or attacked before then the owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to make sure their animal does not bite or attack anyone again. Again, the owner has to prevent dog bites or attacks especially in California regardless of whether is a city in Northern California such as Roseville, Sacramento or Fairfield or Los Angeles in Southern California. Some states may have a one free bite rule, but not California and the city leash laws are not controlling. It is the state law. A dog bite from a leash dog is not different than a bite from a loose dog.

If an owner's dog has attacked or bitten a person on at least two occasions that dog can be deemed dangerous as it is known as a an animal that bites or attacks. The district attorney may determine what to do with the dangerous dog. It does not matter what breed the animal happens to be, it can be a German Sheppard, Rottweiler, pit bull, or it can be a toy poodle.

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