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California Dog Attack Laws

Laws differ by state and county jurisdiction. California is a statutory strict liability state, which means that a dog owner is held liable for any dog bite by his dog. This responsibility beings from the first moment a person takes ownership of a dog. There are, however, some exceptions where a dog bite does not automatically make the owner liable. These exceptions are:

The victim of the dog bite is not required to prove negligence on part of the dog owner.

The text of the statute can be found here:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV§ionNum=3342

There are special provisions which protect children as they present special cases which are different from adults.

It is worth repeating that an owner becomes responsible for the behavior of a dog the moment he takes ownership. This precedence was established by Menches v. Inglewood Humane Society (1942) 51 Cal. App. 2d 415, 418. The court ruled that the victim could not sue the dog rescue organization after the newly adopted dog bit the new owner only minutes after ownership had been transferred, stating that transfer of ownership is absolute, and that the former owner could not be held responsible for the actions of the dog.