Many people presume their state has a dog leash law. Although it is fairly rare for a leash law to be state mandated. Only two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have statewide leash laws. Federal laws and local laws generally decide how and when dog owners are responsible for their pets.
Leash laws are a matter of public safety. A common practice across the U.S. is to allow one dog bite incident before allowing someone to take legal action against a dog owner. The presumption is their experience of non-incidents with the animal limits their knowledge of a potential incident. California is an exception to these general, nationwide rules, and state leash laws are on the books.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured from a dog bite in the Bay Area, our San Jose dog bite attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Unlike in most states, California allows a dog owner have liability even if there has been no prior incident. It is reasonable that off-leash dogs may become upset or hostile in a variety of instances. Therefore, it is the dog owners’ responsibility to ensure an incident does not happen. However, local ordinances are the primary authority on leash laws.
You can find common language from locality to locality. An example of common language found in leash laws across the state is in Los Angeles County, California, Section 10.32.010. It states:
“No person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of any dog shall cause, permit or allow the same to be or to run at large upon any highway, street, lane, alley, court or other public place, or upon any private property or premises other than those of the person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of such dog, in the unincorporated area of the county of Los Angeles, unless such dog be restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding six feet in length and is in the charge, care, custody or control of a competent person.”
L.A. County and many other California localities have a variety of laws regarding responsibilities and liabilities of dog owners. Many other laws also exist for pet owners of any kind. This is only one example of California holding dog owners responsible in nearly all situations except instances of unlawful trespassing by the person who is bit.
Leash laws apply to more than cases of dog bite incidents. For example, it is illegal to leash a dog to any object without adequate food or shelter in California. To stay up to date on leash laws, check local laws and ordinances anywhere you plan to travel with an animal. These kinds of laws are pervasive, but not universal. Some rural jurisdictions in California do not have leash laws.
In fact, even if leash laws exist in a rural area, owners often choose to ignore the law and face legal repercussions at their own risk.
For any dog owner, it is always best practice to learn and comply with the law rather than breaking the law in reference to leash or other pet ownership laws. Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure public safety regardless of past incidents or a lack thereof.
Owners of identified vicious dogs – dogs with tendencies to bite or attack when unprovoked – must act with extreme caution and follow very specific rules. Laws stating how to care for and restrain identified vicious dogs include how close the dogs can be to children at any given time, a shortened length of leash compared to other dogs with no prior incidents, requirements for transportation, etc.
If you or a loved one has suffered a bite or other injury from a dog, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills as well as pain and suffering. Because dog bite laws are complicated you should consult with a qualified San Jose personal injury attorney regarding your case. Contact Henshaw & Henry, PC today to schedule a free consult and learn more about your legal options.