DOG TERROR: If a dog terrorizes a neighborhood, day end and day out, could the dog owner face Public Nuisance Violations (under California Criminal law)?
When a dangerous dog terrorizes a neighborhood, it may be possible to invoke the public nuisance laws. For example, if dogs in a particular neighborhood continually get loss and chas postmen, postwomen and children, then those dogs might well qualify as a public nuisance under laws such as California Penal Code sections 370 to 373a:
370. Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or by any considerable number of persons, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway, is a public nuisance.
371. An act which affects an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, as specified in the last section, is not less a nuisance because the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals is unequal.
372. Every person who maintains or commits any public nuisance, the punishment for which is not otherwise prescribed, or who willfully omits to perform any legal duty relating to the removal of a public nuisance, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
373a. Every person who maintains, permits, or allows a public nuisance to exist upon his or her property or premises, and every person occupying or leasing the property or premises of another who maintains, permits or allows a public nuisance to exist thereon, after reasonable notice in writing from a health officer or district attorney or city attorney or prosecuting attorney to remove, discontinue or abate the same has been served upon such person, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished accordingly; and the existence of such nuisance for each and every day after the service of such notice shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense, and it is hereby made the duty of the district attorney, or the city attorney of any city the charter of which imposes the duty upon the city attorney to prosecute state misdemeanors, to prosecute all persons guilty of violating this section by continuous prosecutions until the nuisance is abated and removed.