First and foremost, you will need to determine who can be liable for the attack. The owner of the dog 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 consequence. This is probably due to the fact that the dog represents an extension of themselves through pride of dog ownership.

Order the Animal Control Report which will list the dog owner with other details. Sometimes, there may be a police report filed with the dog bite incident. Order that as well.

Contact witnesses that were present at the scene. You can find this information out in the either the Animal Control Report, or 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:

  1. A dog owner or custodian, except a tourist or visitor who stays less than 30 days in the unincorporated area of the County, 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 unincorporated area of the County.  An attack dog, guard dog or sentry dog, however, shall not work in the unincorporated area of the County 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 rather, 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 BY CLICKING THIS LINK. The book will let you know about 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 you would like to speak to me for free, you can call me direct at (619) 813-7955. I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction for your injury case.


Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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