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what happens when animal control is called for a dog bite

A recent study from the Department of Health Care Access and Information found that in 2022, California saw an all-time high of 48,596 emergency visits for dog bites, a 12% increase from the year before. Dog bites can occur for many reasons. And just because a dog bites someone does not necessarily mean the owner is automatically liable. 

If you have been involved in a dog bite incident, it can be a stressful and confusing time. You may wonder what happens next and how it will affect both you and the dog. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what happens when animal control is called for a dog bite in Los Angeles, California, to either guide you through this difficult time or prepare you in case a dog bite ever occurs in your future.

Los Angeles Animal Control Dog Bite Procedure

When someone reports a dog bite to animal control in Los Angeles, CA, several steps are typically taken to ensure public safety and address the incident effectively. Though every situation is unique, these standard procedures will occur in most instances. 

Animal Control Dog Bite Report

The first step is to file an animal control dog bite report. The report can be filed by the owner or the victim. This report documents important details such as the bite’s date, time, location, and circumstances. It helps authorities understand what happened and how to proceed. The report is also crucial should you need to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit down the road.

Dog Bite Quarantine Protocol

Depending on the severity of the bite and the dog’s vaccination status, animal control may require the dog to quarantine. The quarantine period usually lasts ten days and can take place either at a designated facility or at the owner’s home. During this time, the dog must remain on the property and not interact with other animals or people outside the household.

Health Assessment

Throughout the quarantine period, animal control will monitor the dog’s health. This standard dog bite protocol ensures that it does not show any signs of rabies or other infectious disease. If the dog remains healthy during the quarantine, Animal Control typically releases it at the end of the ten-day period.

Legal Considerations

California follows a strict liability rule for dog bites. This means dog owners are generally held responsible for damages caused by their dog biting someone, even if the dog has never bitten before. In other words, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge, they may be liable for medical expenses and other damages incurred by the victim.

Compliance with State and Local Dog Bite Regulations

Los Angeles and other municipalities may have specific ordinances and regulations regarding dog bites and aggressive dog behavior. Dog owners should be aware of and comply with these local laws.

It’s important for dog owners to cooperate fully with animal control and follow any quarantine or reporting requirements. This helps protect public safety and safeguards the owner’s legal rights in case of any legal proceedings or claims arising from the dog bite incident. 

In Los Angeles, California, specific dog bite laws exist in both state statutes and local ordinances. Here are some key points regarding dog bite laws in Los Angeles.

Strict Liability

California follows a strict liability rule for dog bites. This means that dog owners are generally held strictly liable for damages caused by their dogs biting someone, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of such behavior. The victim does not need to prove negligence on the part of the owner to seek compensation for damages.

Leash Law

The Los Angeles Municipal Code requires owners to keep their dogs on a leash in public places, except in designated off-leash areas.

Dangerous Dogs

LAMC also addresses dangerous dogs and establishes requirements for owners of dogs that have been deemed dangerous due to aggressive behavior or previous biting incidents. This ordinance includes provisions for secure confinement, liability insurance, and warning signs on the owner’s property.

Reporting Dog Bites

LAMC Section 53.38 outlines the reporting requirements for dog bites. If you are wondering how to report a dog bite to animal control, the rule outlines how dog owners must reach out to the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services within 36 hours of an incident involving their dog biting someone. 

Quarantine Procedures

LAMC Section 53.07 details the quarantine procedures for dogs involved in biting incidents. It specifies the quarantine period, requirements for confinement during quarantine, and procedures for monitoring the dog’s health.

What Are the Consequences If My Dog Bit Someone?

The dog bite victim may choose to take legal action against you as the dog owner. They can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries and other damages. It’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations for filing such lawsuits in California, typically two years from the date of the incident.

In extreme cases where the dog bite results in serious injury or death, criminal charges may be filed against the dog owner. This could include charges of negligence, recklessness, or even manslaughter in cases of severe harm.

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If you have been involved in a biting incident, it is important to understand what happens when animal control is called for a dog bite. Ensure you cooperate fully with authorities and follow any quarantine or reporting requirements. This not only ensures the public’s safety but also protects your legal rights as either a dog owner or the bite victim.

At Weinberg Law Offices, we understand the complexities of dog bite cases and are here to provide guidance and support to make the best out of a tough situation. Our team of legal professionals has extensive experience and expertise in handling dog bite cases, uniquely positioning us in this area of law. If you have any questions or need legal assistance regarding a dog bite incident, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation.

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As a personal injury attorney, my mantra is that there is no such thing as a “small case”. I will give 100% matter how big or small a case may be. I am fluent in English, Hebrew, and Spanish, languages which I use regularly in my practice.

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