Dogs are man’s best friend, but for some people, certain breeds are anything but. If you own a larger dog like a pit bull, rottweiler, Akita, German shepherd, or Doberman, you likely know of these breeds’ dangerous or aggressive reputations. However, you may not know that owning these breeds can put you in legal or financial trouble if your insurance company or county has a ban on your pet’s breed.
While California does not have any specific laws in place banning certain dog breeds, there are cases that allow regulations of certain breeds.
San Bernardino county mandates the spaying and neutering of pit bulls, partially to limit overbreeding and partially because 70 to 76% of reported dog bite incidents are committed by unneutered males.
Orange country regulations state that all dogs, no matter the breed, must be “restrained by a substantial chain, or leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length” while outside of the owner’s personal property. They also ban all dogs, except for service dogs and guide dogs, from public beaches, schools, and certain parks.
If you live in either of these counties, you should stick to the rules because it can put you and your pet in a very precarious situation if your dog ends up biting someone. If you didn’t follow your county’s laws regarding pet ownership, then you may end up being charged with negligence on top of the other damages caused by your dog’s bite. Newport Beach dog bite attorneys will tell you it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dog bite lawsuits.
In addition to state regulations, you should also be aware that some homeowner’s insurance companies can help cover the cost of a dog bite lawsuit, which often ends up being over $40,000, but they also have restrictions on which breeds are covered.
Forbes analyzed 42 homeowners insurance companies for banned dog breeds. They found that the following breeds ended up on 100% of the banned lists of all 42 companies:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Pit Bull
Generally, insurance policies state that coverage won’t be provided to households where these dogs live and that they won’t renew policies for customers who are found to own these breeds. If your dog’s breed is not stated on your insurance company’s list of banned breeds, then you should be allowed to keep your pet while also keeping your insurance company. You may even be able to sue for discrimination.
A situation where you wouldn’t be able to sue for discrimination is when a landlord says you cannot keep a certain breed on their property. Federal law states that landlords have full jurisdiction to ban certain breeds. Many leases have vague language surrounding pet rules, such as a “50lbs-and-under” rule. Many also require a pet deposit. However, a pet deposit will not be enough to protect you from liability costs should your dog bite someone and cause an injury.
That’s why you should have a talented accident injury attorney in Newport Beach on hand if you own an “aggressive” dog breed. Accident Lawyers Firm understands that each dog is different, but you may find yourself in legal trouble if your dog is on a certain banned breeds list. Contact our attorneys if someone is suing you over a dog bite.