Todd Beamer.. Woodward.. Valley Animal Center.. No-leash dog parks are scattered throughout the Fresno area. Some are operated by the city or county, and others are privately operated. Neither the city nor the county have established dog park behavior ordinances, but there are posted rules that must be followed at their dog parks. Privately operated no-leash dog parks have established their own sets of rules that are also posted. The one rule that all dog parks in the area have in common is that owners of dogs use a park at their own risk. Signs are prominently placed in these parks that advise owners accordingly.
California’s Dog Bite Statute
The State of California has enacted a dog bite statute. It’s found at California Civil Code section 3342. It’s a strict liability statute with few exceptions that makes the owner of a dog strictly liable for biting a person. The statute focuses on human victims though and not canine victims. If your dog is attacked by another dog at a dog park and your dog is injured in the attack, section 3342 doesn’t apply. The law of negligence might be used though in the context of damage to personal property.
Lawsuits Against Dog Parks
The general rules governing assumption of risk make it unlikely that a dog owner will prevail in a lawsuit against the owner of a dog park for just about any type of personal injury. There are some situations when a dog park might not enforce its own rules though. When it has notice of consistent rule violations and does nothing about them, the assumption of risk defense might fall. Both section 3342 and the law of negligence might then apply.
Dog Owners Aren’t Protected from Liability in Dog Parks
Whether you’re in a leash-mandatory, optional or no-leash dog park, you have the same rights against a dog owner under section 3342 and the law of negligence as you would have outside of a park. The mere fact that another person is in a dog park with their dog doesn’t shield them with any special type of immunity.
Contact our Fresno Attorneys Today.
Owners shouldn’t take dogs to a park if their dog has a propensity for being dangerous, especially if it has injured somebody in the past. Large dogs shouldn’t be permitted into areas where there are smaller dogs either. If you’re injured in an attack at a Fresno dog park, make an immediate report to management and get to an emergency room or urgent care facility right away. Ask management to get appropriate information from the other dog’s owner before he or she leaves the park with their dog. Take pictures of your injuries and then, call us. Our Fresno personal injury attorneys will listen to you during a free consultation and let you know all legal options available to you.