Under California law, dog owners are strictly liable for the damages their pets cause, especially if the dog attacks, bites or otherwise injures another person. This means that the pet owner is absolutely liable for compensating the injured party, but it may not always be the owner herself who opens up the checkbook. Depending on the situation, the dog's owner may be covered by insurance.
Dogs can be a wonderful companions, protectors, and lifelong friends, but unfortunately in the hands of an irresponsible owner, a dog can also be a deadly menace. That is why California has laws specifically geared toward imposing liability upon dog owners when those dogs bite another person under certain circumstances.