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When dangerous or vicious dogs attack

Reports concerning random assaults by angry canines breaking loose and running through the streets of California’s Orange County appear to be more frequent. Dog bites, however, may result in serious damages, whether the animals’ teeth broke through the skin of humans, other animals or valuable livestock.

Two pit bulls fatally attacked five alpacas and severely injured several other animals on a farm that also held a preschool. No children were injured during the early morning attack, and the two dogs did not require being put down, as reported by the Times-Herald. Because the dogs only attacked other animals, the animal control officials did not consider them a threat to the public’s safety.

Dangerous dogs versus vicious dogs

There is a difference between a dangerous dog and a vicious dog in California. According to state law, however, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for any harm, injuries or fatalities regardless of the animal’s known demeanor.

When a dog acts aggressively toward humans or other animals at least twice in a three-year period while also away from its owner’s property, California considers the animal a dangerous dog. To classify a dog as vicious requires it to have severely injured a human being while acting aggressively. In some cases, an animal once considered a dangerous dog may become a vicious dog, but it could be a result of its owner’s negligence. He or she may have ignored the need to take the necessary safety measures required for its proper care and handling.

A dog owners’ duty of care to the public

According to, 66% of fatal dog attacks which took place between 2005 to 2018 were a result of actions attributed to pit bulls. While a dog’s breed cannot reliably determine whether it is innately dangerous or vicious, the breed’s owners nonetheless owe a duty of care to prevent their pets from biting and attacking. California residents can rest assured that state law requires dog owners to restrain their aggressive animals. If an attack causes severe injuries, its owner may be found liable for the victim’s injuries and also face criminal charges.

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