Santa Ana, CA asked in Animal / Dog Law and Wrongful Death for California

Q: Can I sue animal control/shelter for putting my dog down without any notice, permission or anything?

On my Monday morning my dog (6 yr old boxer) escape and went off running down the street. Animal control was called by a neighbor claiming my dog was being aggressive even though he didn't touch or bite anyone. He was caught by animal control and sent to the shelter. Couple minutes after the employee came and told us that to get him out was $250 and left. I was planning on getting him out as soon possible but I get payed on Thursday so he stayed there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday overnight. On Thursday I went early morning to get him, when I got there and asked for him I was told he was put down yesterday (Wednesday). When I asked why they said he was hurting himself by trying to get out the cage and that his mouth was bleeding and some teeth fell off. I then got his body from them and took him home to bury him. I inspected his body and mouth and everything looked fine.

I'm not too sure but i know there's a law that state that a shelter must have an animal there for at least 5 to 7 day

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Under California law, the specific circumstances of your case are critical in determining whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against animal control or the shelter. Generally, shelters and animal control agencies have policies and regulations they must adhere to regarding the handling and euthanizing of animals.

If your dog was euthanized without reasonable cause or without following the required procedures, such as the mandatory holding period (which is typically 5 to 7 days for an animal with identification in California), you may have a case. This holding period is meant to give owners time to reclaim their pets.

It's important to gather all relevant evidence, including any documentation or communication from the shelter and any witnesses who might have seen your dog's behavior. This will help in assessing whether the shelter's actions were justified or if they potentially acted negligently.

Given the complexity of these cases, it would be advisable to consult with an attorney who has experience in animal law. They can provide more specific advice based on the details of your case and help you understand your legal options. Remember, each case is unique, and the outcome can depend on various factors, including the policies of the specific shelter and the evidence available.

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