The California penal code mandates that the owner has to provide the victim with information about the animal and his or her contact info. You’ll also have to notify animal services, and at the authorities’ discretion, the offending animal can be quarantined for 10 days. Most quarantines can be done in-home, so long as the dog won’t be outside unattended or exposed to new dogs or people. Captain Cook likens it to “doggie house arrest.”
“Owners should know upfront there’s nothing to be afraid of. The intent isn’t to immediately come in and remove their animal because he bit someone, it’s just to observe the California health and safety code and make sure the quarantine process is followed—that’s it,” Cook says. “It’s a simple process. It happens; dogs are dogs.”
What if the dog’s a repeat offender? The dog can be declared a “public nuisance” if it has repeatedly injured or killed another animal, and a “dangerous dog” if it has attacked or bitten two people within a 48-month period, or has attacked or bitten a person and caused substantial injury or death. Also, an owner who already knows his or her animal has vicious tendencies but still allows it to run at large may be charged with a felony if the dog hurts or kills someone.