Dog bites happen for a variety of reasons. Dogs that are sick, injured or frightened are more likely to bite, as are dogs that are defending their homes from intruders. Whatever the reason, when a dog bite occurs in the state of California, the California dog bite quarantine law and related animal laws spell out the responsibilities and rights of the dog owner and the victim.
After a Dog Bite
When a dog bite occurs and the owner of the dog is present, the owner is legally obligated to restrain the dog if possible. If the owner is not present, Animal Control should be called to pick up the animal. It is important for dog bite victims to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, particularly when it is not known whether the dog in question has been vaccinated against rabies.
California Dog Bite Quarantine Law
Once a dog has bitten someone and a report has been filed, the California dog bite quarantine law requires that the dog be quarantined at a local animal shelter for approximately 10 days to determine whether it is vicious, rabid or diseased. This law is designed to protect the safety of the bite victim, the owner of the dog and the general public.
If a dog owner can provide sufficient cause for a home quarantine of his dog, he may be allowed to have the animal quarantined at his veterinarian's office or in his own home, as long as certain quarantine conditions are met. If the owner of the dog can prove that his pet's rabies vaccinations are up to date and that the dog does not have a violent history, there is a better chance that home quarantine will be allowed.
Dog owners in California are required by law to make sure that their dogs are licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Failure to do so can result in fines and can make circumstances much more difficult for dog owners and their dogs in the event that a dog bite attack occurs.
What to Do
If your dog bites someone, the best thing to do is to restrain your dog, remain calm and offer to drive the victim to the hospital and pay for his medical expenses related to the attack. If the victim files a report and if you are contacted by Animal Control, cooperate with them and be sure to show them proof of your dog's current license and vaccination record. This is the best way to ensure that you and your dog receive fair treatment under the law.