For three years, Sandi York, aged 69, has made her daily 30-mile round trip to the Sacramento County animal shelter to visit her 8-year old female boxer. York's dog Bandit is on death row for the April 10, 2010 attack on a mail carrier and a 2009 biting of an eight-year-old boy riding a bike in the neighborhood. Transcripts of the dog hearing reveal that an animal control officer recommended Bandit be put to death because of her aggressive behavior and prior history.
California’s strict liability dog bite statute
California's dog bite law is a strict liability statute. This means that the owner of the dog must pay damages to any person bitten by the dog. The victim does not have to show that the owner was negligent or had knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite. The injured party only needs to show that he or she was in a public place or lawfully in a private place when bitten.
In addition, when a dog has bitten a person on at least two separate occasions, any citizen, district attorney or city attorney may bring an action against the owner to determine if confinement or destruction of the dog is necessary.
Landlord liability for dog bites
A landlord has a duty to exercise reasonable care to remove any dangerous condition, including a dog, from his or her premises. One California court concluded that it is reasonably foreseeable that guard dogs in commercial centers open to the public will injure someone. In this case, a customer was bitten in a liquor store by a dog owned by the storeowner who was the tenant of a commercial establishment. The court held the landlord liable for the dog bite.
Owning a dog is a serious obligation. If you or a loved one is mauled or bitten by a dog, the personal injury lawyers of Mitchell | Gilleon can help you receive the compensation you deserve.