California Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers

Q: Is it illegal to kill the other persons dog if both dogs are engaged in fighting and neither owner can break them apart?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Wrongful Death for California on
Answered on Feb 18, 2019
William John Light's answer
If you had a case, it would be for the value of the dog. I don't know whether what he did was illegal. However, if he had called the police instead, what do you think they would have done?

Q: Can city force me to spay elderly dog with a mammary tumor?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 18, 2019
William John Light's answer
If the vets won't say that the surgery is unhealthy for the dog, then you can either pay for the surgery or rehome the dog elsewhere. Lying about rehoming is a crime.

Q: My dog broke our fence and bit a dog that was provoking it, am I legally responsible for the veterinary bill?

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 11, 2019
Thomas A. Grossman's answer
That's a tough question to answer. It seems both parties caused the incident, probably both parties being unaware of the consequences. The neighbors were negligent for not being aware of your dog's personality, and you probably should have built a stronger fence under the circumstances. If I were you, I would try to resolve this matter with each side admitting some form of negligence for their conduct, and you offering to pay at least a portion of the vet bills for the injured dog. Good...

Q: I agreed to watch a dog for a month on Rover.It was paid before but they keep extending it without pay.What should i do?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 11, 2019
William John Light's answer
First of all, contact Rover. It is the entity that set up the agreement by which you have possession of the dog. That agreement may alter ordinary rights you might have under California law.

https://support.rover.com/hc/en-us/articles/206197553-What-do-I-do-if-I-have-concerns-about-the-well-being-of-a-dog-in-my-care-

https://support.rover.com/hc/en-us/articles/214702183-What-is-the-Rover-Resolution-Center-

However, if you agreed to accept payment for the extended stay...

Q: My neighbor threatening to kill my dog, if he keep going to his front yard (just sniffing around) while we’re

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 8, 2019
William John Light's answer
There are several statutes that authorize the killing of dogs, mostly pertaining to dogs that kill or harass livestock or poultry. However, your neighbor would certainly be able to claim that the dog was a danger to himself or his family and he killed it for that reason. You wouldn't be able to dispute this since you weren't there while your dog was wandering around his property. In other words, keep your dog on your own property and you won't have this problem.

Q: What are my options?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 2, 2019
William John Light's answer
Tell her you are going to surrender them to animal control unless picked up by a date certain, with reimbursement for your out of pocket expenses. If you want to keep them, adopt them from animal control.

You cannot just claim that the animals are yours now because she didn't pick them up two weeks ago.

Q: I re-homed a puppy I rescued. It's been 3 months since the re-homing was finalized. New owners not responding, dog MIA

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Feb 2, 2019
William John Light's answer
You gave the dog away. You have no right to come back and judge whether the new owners meet some undefined standard of care by which you are going to evaluate them. The dog is theirs now and you should move on.

Q: wife died while I was in jail roommate said he would care for my dog. homeless now his sister won't give my dog back.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 31, 2019
William John Light's answer
If the dog is still yours, and someone is keeping it, that is a form of theft. Contact the police, even though they might not do anything.

You might also consider suing in Small Claims for the value of the dog and/or an order for its return to you. If you sue, bring all evidence that the dog is yours, along with some kind of proof of value (receipts, offers for sale of similar dogs, etc.).

Plaintiff’s Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court; Form SC-100 (Lawsuit for...

Q: I was told my dog died in the boarding family, and they refused to make compensation. Can I ask them pay for the loss?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Employment Discrimination for California on
Answered on Jan 29, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
If you bought the dog, then until you sold the dog to new owners, it can be argued that it was your responsibility to properly vaccinate the dog with the parvo virus and other relevant vaccines. It sounds like the owner and the in-laws were merely boarding the dog for you while you found a new owner. I hear no acceptance of liability by them in your stated facts, nor any contractual relationship that points to any liability by them. Did the sellers tell you that they had vaccinated the dog...

Q: My dad and uncle are taking care of my dog since I cant have it where I live. My uncle is threatening me to give heraway

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 28, 2019
William John Light's answer
Sound like you need to find another home for your dog. You can't force your uncle to take care of him. He doesn't want the dog at his home anymore and has informed you of that. If you don't pick up the dog, he might be able to argue that you abandoned it. He would then be free to find another home for it.

Q: I recently went to a dog pound ro adopt a dog and they ask if we had a fenced in yard and and we said no wotch was fine

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 26, 2019
William John Light's answer
The "dog pound" is within its rights to restrict adoption of its dogs to persons with a fenced yard.

Q: Neighbor called animal control on my dog to take her away from us because she got out. She knows it's our dog and didnt

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 26, 2019
William John Light's answer
She is entitled to call Animal Control if your dog is loose, even if she knows to whom the dog belongs.

Q: my large dog pinned a small old dog I paid vet bill incase old dog was internally hurt (xray) can I still be sued?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 25, 2019
William John Light's answer
You can be sued if your negligence caused harm to another person, or to their property. Here, the issue is damage to property (I assume that the dog owner was uninjured). If the other dog was uninjured and you have already paid for the initial vet visit to confirm that, I do not understand why you would be sued. If you are sued, tender the lawsuit to your insurer. Many homeowner policies provide coverage for this type of claim.

Q: My friends mom put her dog down without her consent. Is this legal?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
William John Light's answer
If your friend was a minor, then the dog probably belonged to her parents.

Next, it is possible that euthanizing a healthy animal may constitute the crime of animal cruelty. However, it is likely that we don't have all the facts that led to the decision to euthanize the animal. It seems improbable that a veterinarian would euthanize a dog for "no true reason".

Q: Abandoned dog, owner did not want him, but now wants him back..

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
William John Light's answer
If you contend that the prior owner abandoned him or gave him to you, you are now the new owner and are under no obligation to return the dog. If she contends that there was an "open adoption" in which she was entitled to return of the dog upon her notice, then you have to give the dog back. There is no resolution of these positions. She can report the dog stolen. She can file suit in Small Claims against you and request an Order for return of the dog. If she wins, then you have to return...

Q: is it legal to leave your dog in the backyard alone for months while you're away if someone comes by and feeds him?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 17, 2019
William John Light's answer
You cannot take somebody else's animal because you don't approve of the manner in which they care for it. If you suspect Animal Cruelty, notify your local Animal Control office.

Q: Ownership dispute with previous roommate

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
If you adopted the dog in your sole name and paid for all upfront fees, then arguably the dog is your personal property which your roommate arguably stole, barring a contract to the contrary. Under this argument, money she paid towards dog bills would qualify as a gift - again barring a contract to the contrary. But your attempt to form an agreement to split time with the dog might qualify as a contract in and of itself, which she either never agreed to or has breached. More details are...

Q: I bought a dog,was financially responsible, and primary caregiver. After I left, abusive ex got TRO with custody of dog

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 11, 2019
William John Light's answer
You lost your DV TRO. That was your opportunity to prove ownership of the dog and to protect it. You have an obligation to comply with the court's orders, including handing the dog over.

The "T" in "TRO" stands for "Temporary". It is not final. Get an attorney.

Q: Adopted a dog from someone moving out of country. Have had it for about half of it’s life.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jan 9, 2019
William John Light's answer
If the ex gave the dog away, then the person to whom he gave it was the owner, until you adopted it from him. You would then be a lawful owner. The ex can still call the police. He can still sue you in Small Claims. He would have to establish that he did not give the dog away.

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