Guide to Laws for Pet Owners in California

Pet owner1. Dog bites

Can I get sued if my dog bites someone?

If you are a dog owner in California, you are responsible for any harm the dog causes by biting another person. This applies regardless of whether the dog has ever been aggressive or has bitten anyone ever before.1Cal Civil Code Sec 3342

However, you are generally NOT responsible for the dog bite if the person bitten is a trespasser or provoked the dog.2Burden v. Globerson (1967) 252 Cal.App.2d 468, 471

2. Bringing pets to various locations

Can I bring my pet to a restaurant?

In California, restaurant owners are authorized to allow patrons to bring pets to outdoor areas unless the city or county has specifically prohibited it.3CA Health & Safety Code Sec. 114259.6

3. Animals in cars

Is it illegal to leave my dog in a car?

It is illegal to leave a dog (or any animal) in a car where it could endanger the health or well being of the animal, due to extreme heat, extreme cold, lack of food or water, or other circumstances.4Penal Code Sec 597.7

Is it legal to break into a car to rescue a dog?

Yes, under certain circumstances. You must reasonably believe that it is necessary to break into the car in order to save a dog (or other animal) from imminent harm, and you must contact law enforcement, animal control, or the fire department. You must remain with the animal until the authorities arrive.5Penal Code 597.7

If I break a car window to save an animal, can I be sued?

If you follow the above rules, you can not be held liable for the damage you cause to the car.6Civil Code 43.100


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