If your dog bites, you better hope you have insurance; renters, or homeowners. There is no price for peace of mind. Contact your auto insurance provider to see if you can add your dog to your policy via renters or homeowners insurance. Keep in mind that breeds like Akitas, Rottweilers, Pitbulls, Dobermans, and German Shepherds are excluded from many renters and homeowners insurance policies. If your pup is excluded, find a new company. You will find coverage, albeit a bit more pricey.
California is a Strict Liability state when it comes to dog bites. That means that you as an owner are automatically liable if your dog bites, even if your dog has never bitten before, or if your dog was accidentally provoked by someone. This does not apply to someone willfully trespassing, purposely assaulting your dog, or committing any other kind of criminal act like battery or assault on your property.
If your dog has bitten before, or the attack was vicious, California Law allows animal control to conduct an investigation to determine whether or not your dog is a threat to public safety and a “vicious animal”. If your dog is deemed “dangerous” or “vicious”, the State of California has the right to put it down. Division 14, Chapter 9, of the California Food and Agricultural Code.
What if your dog is rambunctious and likes to jump, and accidentally causes injury? If you knew that your dog had this character trait, “dangerous propensity”, and failed to protect or warn others against your dog’s dangerous propensities, you may be found to be negligent and responsible for the damage caused by your dog to others.
What if you don’t own the dog, but you are a family member dog-sitting or you own a dog-walking/kennel or sitting company? Again, if you knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities, you also could be found negligent and held responsible for the damages caused by the dog. Be sure you as a non-owner are also covered by renters, homeowners or commercial business insurance.
United States Postal Service workers, UPS drivers, FedEx Driers, and Amazon drivers, are especially susceptible to dog attacks given the scope of their work delivering to many residences. While some may carry pepper spray or a taser, sometimes it is not enough to fend off vicious dogs. Be kind to your local postal worker or delivery carrier and keep your pet indoors or on a leash. The last thing you need is a lawsuit on your hands.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your pup is to ensure proper socialization and training. Here at Castro & Company, we are firm believers that it is the nurture and not the nature of the breed that makes them bite/dangerous. Please be sure you are ready for a pup before making that commitment. We love all puppos, and hate to see dog bites happen. Do check your local city municipal codes as well for off-leash, licensing, and dog maintenance laws.