Owning dogs trained to attack, kill, or fight is against the law in the state of California. The court system uses Penal Code 399.5 to prosecute crimes under this act. Individuals can face either misdemeanor or felony charges under PC 399.5.
Owning a dog taught to attack or harm others is not always illegal. The dog must have hurt or killed someone for its owner to face charges under PC 399.5.
Owning Dogs Trained to Attack, Kill, or Fight in California
Individuals face charges under PC 399.5 if they own a dog trained to attack, kill, or fight and that dog bites a person two or more times and/or bites someone so severely that they suffer a serious injury.
An ownership of a dog charge in California can be difficult to fight. For example, individuals can face PC 399.5 charges even if the dog is not legally “theirs” and they simply have control of the dog at the time of the incident.
A PC 399.5 charge only applies if the owner does not show “ordinary care” at the time of the attack. This means that the individual did not act as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances.
Additionally, individuals should not face a conviction if they did not know their dog was dangerous. For example, say you adopt a dog from the animal shelter and you do not know the dog’s previous owner had trained it to attack. The dog then bites your neighbor and severely injures her. You may be able to avoid charges because you did not know the dog’s past when you adopted it.
Penalties Under PC 399.5
A PC 399.5 charge can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is left up to the prosecution. While making a decision on how to proceed, the prosecution will look at the specific facts of the PC 399.5 charge and the accused’s past criminal record.
Misdemeanor charges are treated less seriously in California. However, individuals could still face harsh penalties for a misdemeanor conviction, such as fines of up to $10,000 or incarceration of up to one year.
Felonies are prosecuted more harshly. A felony conviction for owning a dog trained to attack, kill, or fight may lead to fines of up to $10,000 or incarceration of up to four years.
A PC 399.5 conviction can also have serious repercussions for the dog involved in the attack. The court may decide to take the dog away from the owner and/or order it to be put to sleep.
Contact the Simmrin Law Group today at (310) 997-4688 to fight PC 399.5 charges against you.
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you build your case if you were accused of a PC 399.5 violation. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer can argue that:
You Did Not Know the Dog was Dangerous
You should only face a PC 399.5 conviction if you knew your dog had the training necessary to kill, fight, or attack. If someone gave you the dog without disclosing its history to you, you may be able to fight the PC 399.5 charges against you.
The Victim Did Not Behave Reasonably
You have a responsibility to monitor your dog’s actions in California. However, a person may provoke your dog into attacking them. For example, if someone came up to your dog and slapped them, this may be what caused the dog to attack. In this situation, the attack may not be your dog’s fault, and you can fight the charges against you and possibly save your dog.
Get Help Handling PC 399.5 Charges in California
It’s against the law to own dogs trained to attack, kill, or fight in the state of California. The state uses Penal Code 399.5 to prosecute these crimes. Get help handling PC 399.5 charges by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group today for a free consultation at (310) 997-4688. You can also complete our online contact form.