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.
The San Diego County Department of Animal Services is investigating at least three attacks by the same dog. Information about the first attack was not reported in the media, but it allegedly happened in early 2011, according to reporters. The second was in August, when the animal, a pit bull in Serra Mesa, broke free of its restraint and attacked another dog, a neighbor told reporters. The other dog's owner was hurt while trying to defend the dog. In the most recent incident, another dog and its owner were injured when the pit bull attacked them. The pit bull was on a leash, but its owner was unable to restrain the animal. The person injured in that attack was reportedly considering filing a personal injury lawsuit over the incident.
People in San Diego may have heard about a rash of dog attacks around the area lately. In late June two pit bulls attacked an older woman and her pet Chihuahua as they were walking around their neighborhood in the Harbor City neighborhood of Los Angeles. The dogs rushed at the woman and her pup before they had a chance to protect themselves. As the woman tried to scoop up the tiny dog, the two pit bulls mauled and killed it
While people in California suffer dog bites on a daily basis, in the vast majority of cases, the dogs involved are owned by private citizens. A unique lawsuit recently filed, however, seeks damages from the owner of a police dog: the city of Hayward, California.