Is Euthanasia Required After A Dog Bite In California?

No. California law does not require the euthanization of a dog after it bites someone.  However, a dog with a previous biting history may be euthanized if:

  1. the dog has bitten a person on at least two separate occasions; or,
  2. the dog that was trained to fight, attack, or kill someone and causes substantial physical injury

California's dog-bite statute is Section 3342 of the California Civil Code. This strict liability statute provides damages to a dog bite victim if he or she is bitten:

  1. in a public place or, 
  2. lawfully on any property, including the property of the dog owner. (not a trespasser) [1]

Any person, including a neighbor or a friend, can petition the court to euthanize the animal.  Prior to euthanization, a legal hearing must occur. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if the dog is a threat to public safety. The dog owner will have an opportunity to present evidence against his or her dog's death.  However, a dog with a history of violent or aggressive behavior can be killed if a Court of law determines disposal of the animal is necessary for public safety.  [2]  

Below our California personal injury attorneys discuss euthanasia in California.  

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1. Is euthanasia required after a dog bites someone in California? 

No.  Euthanasia is not required after a dog bites someone in California.  However, a dog with a previous biting history may be euthanized if:

  1. the dog has bitten a person on at least two separate occasions; or,
  2. the dog that was trained to fight, attack, or kill someone and causes substantial physical injury

California law imposes an extra duty of care on the dog's owner whose animal has a previous biting history.  The dog owner must take all reasonable steps to prevent other people from being bitten. If the dog owner fails to take reasonable steps to protect others, any person or government entity, including a neighbor or a friend, can petition the court to euthanize the dog. [3]

2. Is a legal hearing required before a dog is euthanized in California? 

Yes.  A legal hearing is required prior to the euthanization of a dog.  The owner of the dog must have notice of the hearing. [4]  

The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the animal is a threat to public safety. The government entity (local or state), or person calling the hearing must provide evidence to the Court that the dog cannot be controlled.  The owner of the dog may provide rebuttal evidence against euthanization.  The Court then determines whether the dog is a threat to public safety and should be seized and euthanized.  

Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog? 

Contact our experienced California dog-bite attorneys for a free consultation. 

Call us at (855) LAWFIRM to discuss your case in confidence with an experienced California injury lawyer.

We have offices throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside Counties, as well as Central and Northern California.

Related Topics:

  1. Does California's Dog Bite Statute Protect Dogs who are Attacked?
  2. What is the “Statute of Limitations” for California's Dog Bite Law?
  3. Does California Require a Dog To Be Quarantined After It Bites Someone?
  4. Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
  5. Does California have a “One Bite Rule”?

Legal References:

  1. California Civil Code § 3342
  2. California Civil Code § 3342.5
  3. California Civil Code § 3342.5
  4. Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept. etc. Regulation (1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 372, 376

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