Many families in the Los Angeles area count a four-legged creature as a family member. And more than 1.5 million of those furry family members are dogs. Pet owners often spend significant time researching what kind of dog to adopt or buy and how to care for it. There is even a website that calls itself the “eHarmony® for pets and people.”
An area that pet owners may overlook in their research, however, is local ordinances governing pet ownership. The dog bite lawyers at Cerritos Legal have highlighted a few of these laws to help dog owners keep their pets and their neighbors safe. Unless otherwise stated, all of the following are from the Los Angeles County Code, Title 10 Animals, Division 1 Animal Control.
Animal license: All animals older than four months must be licensed. Fees apply to obtaining a license, which must state the animal’s age and the date of last rabies vaccination or the vaccination exemption that was granted (10.20.010 and 10.20.150).
Number of dogs: Households without an animal facility license cannot have more than three dogs (10.20.038).
Rabies vaccination: All dogs older than four months must be vaccinated against rabies, they must be revaccinated 12 months after the first vaccine and every three years after that (10.20.220 and 10.20.230).
License tags: All dogs should wear a license tag at all times except when indoors or in an enclosed yard or pen (10.20.180).
Microchips: All dogs “four months or older must be implanted with an identifying microchip” and the owner must provide the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control with the microchip number and notify the Department and the microchip registry about any changes in ownership, address or phone number (10.20.185).
Leash law: All dogs must be restrained in a yard, pen, or on a leash not longer than six feet long (10.20.010). Exceptions apply when the dog is in a place specifically designated for dogs off leashes.
Transporting a dog: Dogs cannot ride in the backs of pick-up trucks or other similar vehicle spaces intended to carry “loads” “unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor, the vehicle has installed means of preventing the animal from being discharged, or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle, or is protected by a secured container or cage, in a manner which will prevent the animal from being thrown, falling, or jumping from the vehicle.” (California Vehicle Code Division 11, Chapter 12, Section 23117).
Tying a dog to a stationary object: It is an infraction or misdemeanor for a person to “tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog, or cause a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained, tied, or restrained, to a dog house, tree, fence, or any other stationary object” (California Health & Safety Code, Section 122335). Many exceptions to this rule exist, including restraining the dog for a temporary or reasonable period of time to accomplish a specific purpose (generally, not more than three hours in a 24-hour period).
Leaving a dog unattended in a car: Pet owners cannot leave a dog alone in a motor vehicle “under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.” (California Penal Code, Section 597.7).
Responsibility for dog bites: Dog owners are liable for damages suffered by anyone their dog bites or injures if the person is in a public place or has permission to be on private property, even if the dog has never been vicious or aggressive (California Civil Code section 3342).
The responsibility that comes with owning a dog can feel daunting. Being aware of what the law requires, as well as what the pet’s health requires, will help owners feel competent to include four-legged creatures as family members.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call the dog bite lawyers at Cerritos Legal today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.