Dog Bite Defense


Under Civil Code Section 3342 also known as California’s Dog Bite Statute, there is strict liability for the owner of a dog who bites someone while in a public place or lawfully in a private place including the property of the owner of the dog regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. Despite strict liability, the defenses of contributory/comparative negligence and assumption of risk are still available. In some cases, if the plaintiff is employed and compensated for work that carries with it certain dangers, there may be no liability. An experienced handler of animals is generally precluded from recovery against the owner of an animal for injuries sustained while performing service for which he or she was hired. In the absence of intentional or reckless conduct by the animal’s owner, the doctrine of assumption of risk applies and may bar the suit against the owner.

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