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Illegal Dog Breeds in California

Dog bites and animal attacks can result in devastating and life-threatening injuries, especially when children are involved in these incidents. Indeed, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that approximately 20,000 people are bitten by dogs in Los Angeles County alone each year, and about 585,000 of those people require medical treatment in an emergency department. California is routinely cited as a state with the highest rates of dog bite injuries in the country. How many of these serious dog bite injuries result from illegal dog breeds in California? A large percentage of dog bites involve pit bulls, but California does not ban pit bulls or have statewide breed ordinances. However, it is important to know that dog owners in California can be strictly liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite, and our Los Angeles dog bite lawyers can help you to file a claim.

Dangerous Dogs and Requirements in California

Some states have ordinances against specific dog breeds, prohibiting residents to keep certain types of dogs as pets. California law does not have any of these ordinances, and it does not prohibit residents from keeping pit bulls or other breeds commonly identified as dangerous as pets in homes. Yet it is important to know that California law does require dog owners to comply with a wide variety of rules designed with safety in mind. Specifically, California dog law includes the following key points:

  • Dogs kept as pets must be vaccinated and must be licensed;
  • Dogs kept as pets must be secured inside the owner’s residence or within a fenced yard when they are on the owner’s premises (dogs cannot run freely in unfenced yards);
  • Dog owners can face criminal charges under California Penal Code 399 if they do not control a dangerous pet and a dog bite occurs; and
  • Dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite injuries caused by their pet, even if they had no prior knowledge of the dog’s propensity for violence.

Which Dog Breeds in California Are Dangerous?

What types of dog breeds are dangerous? While California does not have a statewide law that outlaws specific dog breeds, a number of California counties do have breed-specific ordinances that require mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bulls and, in some cases, rottweilers. According to, the following types of dog breeds are often involved in serious dog bite cases:

  • Pit bulls;
  • Rottweilers;
  • German shepherds; and
  • Dobermans.

While these breeds may be involved in dog attack cases more often than other breeds, it is important to know that any dog can bite, regardless of the breed. If you or your child sustained injuries in a dog bite incident, it is important to seek compensation and to hold the dog owner accountable.

Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in Los Angeles

Were you injured in a dog bite incident, or do you have a child who was bitten by a dangerous dog? You may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. California law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries. One of our experienced Los Angeles dog bite injury attorneys can speak with you today about unlawful dog breeds and how you can seek compensation for your losses. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers online or call us at 213-985-1120 to learn more.