First and foremost, you must determine who can be liable for the attack. The dog's owner will be the first choice in seeking a defendant to locate. Typically, this will not be very difficult, as most people love their pets and would not deny owning them, even if it meant facing legal consequences. This is probably because the dog represents an extension of themselves through pride of dog ownership.
Contact witnesses who were present at the scene. You can find this information in the Animal Control Report or the police report, if any.
California County ordinances also require dogs to be licensed and registered. Some counties require dogs to be microchipped, which can help you identify the owner, so look for the dog collar and name tag.
San Diego Animal Control Ordinance, Article 3, Sec. 62.620 states that a DOG LICENSE is REQUIRED, as follows:
- A dog owner or custodian, except a tourist or visitor who stays less than 30 days in the county's unincorporated area, shall apply for and obtain from the Department, a dog license for the dog after the dog is four months old. The owner or custodian shall have a license for a dog by the time the dog is five months old or within 30 days after obtaining a dog four months or older or bringing a dog over four months old into the county's unincorporated area. However, an attack dog, guard dog, or sentry dog shall not work in the county's unincorporated area unless the dog has a current County license.
But, if no one claims dog ownership or it appears to be a stray, you will need to hire an investigator to speak with neighbors and local animal shelters or pet clinics to try and locate the owner. More often, the challenge in a dog bite case is not finding the dog owner but instead collecting damages from the dog owner for your dog bite injuries.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a California dog bite attack, first download my free injury guidebook. The book will tell you what you can expect, your legal rights, and if you even need a lawyer for your dog bite.
If you have further questions or concerns and want to speak to me for free, call me at (619) 813-7955. I will gladly point you in the right direction for your injury case.