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California Dog Leash Law

California Dog Leash Law, Explained by the Best Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

Dog bites happen unexpectedly, but it is important to understand your rights in case of a dog bite accident. Was the dog leashed? Was it in a private or public area? Did the owner have previous knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior? West Coast Trial Lawyers handles personal injury cases in Los Angeles and can earn you a maximum settlement in your dog bite case. We are always here to answer any questions you may have about dog bite claims and available damages.

Can I Leash My Dog Outside?

California has very strict leash laws. In California, it is illegal to leash a dog to any stationary object, including fences, poles, and trees without proper food and shelter. Owners are only allowed to do this if they are completing a task that requires the dog to be restrained. However, they must complete this in a short period of time. Breaking this law is considered a misdemeanor.

According to regulations in Los Angeles, California, dog owners automatically have a “duty of care” to the public. This is especially important for owners who have “vicious” or “violent” dogs. Vicious dogs are described as canines who bite or attempt to attack a human or other animal without provocation. 

These dogs are considered a danger to society and their owners must take proper care to protect others. Under California law, vicious dogs must be kept in an enclosed structure that stands at least 6 feet tall and prohibits the entry of children. Vicious dogs are only allowed to leave the enclosure if they are going to the vet or are court-ordered. When they do leave the premises, the dog must be muzzled and restrained with a chain that does not exceed 3 feet and can hold up to 300 pounds.

Leash Law

Specific leash laws differ in California, depending on the region. For example, Long Beach instructs that a leash can be no longer than 8 feet, while other jurisdictions only require 6 feet, if any. 

While the dog is on your property or yard, there is no need for a leash. In fact, there are several California neighborhoods that allow unleashed dogs in certain areas. Unleashed dogs are generally free to explore and socialize in dog parks and other designated areas. However, they must be leashed immediately once they leave these areas. If this law is violated, the owner of the dog is subject to penalties, including harsh fines and damages for any losses caused.

It is important to know your local laws, as they change depending on the district. Sacramento County, for example, prohibits the use of any leash longer than 6 feet, even if it is retractable. 

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain And Suffering
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations For Damages In California
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable. However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Explain California Dog Leash Law

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a dog bite, an attorney at our personal injury firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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