Dog lovers in California have many reasons to love these animals. Dogs can be loving, smart and playful creatures that bring joy to the lives of many. However, dogs are still animals and, therefore, even a seemingly friendly dog could still bite someone, causing serious injury or even death.
In California, dog owners are held responsible if their dog bites someone in a public place or someone who is lawfully in a private place, no matter whether the dog was known to be vicious. To be lawfully on private property, a person must be on the property to perform a duty of the state or postal regulation laws. A person could also be on the property because the owner either expressly or implicitly invited them.
A dog is considered vicious if it aggressively inflicts severe injury on a person or kills that person, or if it has been determined to be a "potentially dangerous dog." A dog is potentially dangerous if it did something unprovoked that forced someone to take defensive action to avoid an injury or if it had killed or seriously injured a domestic animal while running loose twice within the last three years.
As this shows, dog owners are responsible for their pet's actions in many circumstances, even if the owner doesn't know that their dog is vicious. Dog bites can be disfiguring, painful and can cause emotional trauma. For these reasons and more, some dog bite victims choose to pursue a legal claim against the dog's owner.