Dog ownership is a responsibility that should be taken seriously. Part of that means knowing what the law requires of dog owners and obey them. Whether your dog is large or small, timid or friendly, poses a risk to others or not, you must follow these regulations or face the civil—and potentially criminal—penalties should your dog attack an innocent bystander.
Within California, Los Angeles County has its own set of dog leash laws. The following is an overview of these, including the possible legal and civil ramifications of disregarding them.
Leash Your Dog in Public
Under Municipal Code 10.32.010, your dog must be restrained with a leash that does not exceed six feet in length while walking it on public property or within common areas of private property. Either you or another person holding your dog’s leash must also be capable of controlling your pet using the leash. Your dog may only be allowed to run free on private property (e.g., inside your home) or you may also let your dog off-leash within the confines of a dog park, such as the one at Eagle Rock Recreation Center.
If you ignore leashing regulations, you will be penalized. The fine schedule is currently set as follows:
- First Offense: $100
- Second Offense: $250
- Third Offense: $500
Los Angeles Animal Services encourages residents to report a dog that is off-leash to their local shelter, so do not take a chance and assume no one will say anything if you “bend” or break the rules, regardless of whether your dog attacks someone while unleashed.
In addition to these criminal fines, not properly leashing your dog could result in substantially worse outcomes. For example, if your unleashed dog mauls someone, California will hold you strictly liable for their injuries regardless of whether you had prior knowledge that your dog might bite or otherwise attack someone. The victim or their family does not even have to prove you were negligent in some way—by simply not leashing or properly controlling your dog, you will be considered the responsible party.
The only exception to this is if the person attacked was trespassing on your private property at the time (e.g., if your dog attacks a burglar in your home) or if you can provide the injured person provoked your dog. In the latter case, even if the victim did instigate the attack somehow, it is still likely you will be held partially responsible if you were not following the leash laws at the time. And trust us, the financial penalties for a civil personal injury lawsuit will far exceed the unleashed animal ticket fines listed above.
Speak to a Trusted Dog Bite Injury Attorney
No one should have to suffer the pain, potential disfigurement, or worse of a dog attack because an owner failed to properly leash their pet. If the worst should happen to you or a loved one, you have the right to pursue fair financial compensation from the owner. Contact Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, for assistance seeking justice after you are injured by an improperly restrained dog.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.