Landlord Responsible for Tenants Aggressive/Menacing Dogs LAWS

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012 the San Luis Obispo, CA County Board of Supervisors approved a new “aggressive and menacing” dog-behavior law which includes the requirement for preventive measures to control animals considered potentially a danger, before they attack other animals or humans. 

LANDMARK LAW: Landlords are also held responsible for tenants' failure to curb menacing or aggressive behavior of pets or to properly confine them, under the new law.

Many may jump to conclusions about this new ordinance. It does not have to mean that Landlords will not rent to people with dogs. What it does mean is that should a landlord allow dogs they must at the very least provide a "A proper confined" area. Simply put FENCE THE YARD as all responsible pet owners should do. 

If a Landlord is unwilling to provide proper fencing, then the Tenant Dog Owner should be responsible and bear the expense of fencing, Offer to split the cost of fencing with their Landlord OR move. Putting other people's lives at risk is not a fair exchange to say the least whether you are a Renter or a Home Owner.

This is about the RIGHTS OF VICTIMS. Responsible Dog owners take measures to protect their dogs and treat them like family. On the other hand IRRESPONSIBLE Dog owners neglect their animals, many are untrained, unmanageable and half the time do not even know where their dog is, as it runs a muck in the neighborhood.
Here are the Laws for Restitution. The Renter in my case has been found Guilty as Charged. Tiffaney Rose Adkins will be ordered to began making Restitution payments in November 2012 for the death of my Two Yorkies (replacement costs of Two very expensive dog breed) and Property Damages to my yard and fencing. No amount of money will replace my pets, but it is what the court has deemed equitable Justice.

Most lump sum payments are hard to get considering most Renters do not have their animals insured in the event there is an attack. However regardless of income - A Court Ordered Restitution Payment takes priority over any other expenses, A convicted individual has. The intent of the court is that the amount awarded to the Victim is paid swiftly and on a regular basis. In my case it could range in upwards of Payments $450.00 per month.

States impose a variety of other consequences for defaulting on a Restitution Order:
  • Suspension of a driver's license or motor vehicle registration, or prohibiting the reinstatement of a license or registration previously revoked, where restitution is outstanding. 
  • Ineligibility for expungement of criminal records (removal of permanent criminal records) if restitution is outstanding. In a Plea bargain Jail Time is excused if the terms of the probation are met. During the time the Criminal is paying Restitution it is Probation. If Restitution is not paid the Criminal losses the terms of the Plea Bargain and will serve the original Jail Sentence in Tiffaney's case it could be up to 5 years.
  • Ineligibility for restoration of voting rights where restitution is not paid.
  • Ineligibility for public benefits. One who defaults in the payment of restitution may not receive public assistance. Housing, food stamps, Medicaid etc.
  • Arrest. A warrant may be issued for the arrest of a misdemeanor defendant who has defaulted in payment and failed to respond to other efforts to address the delinquency. The bond on the warrant is cash, and is set for the total amount due.
  •  A visit to the defendant's home might help the defendant to identify assets that can be sold, or major new purchases that indicate an offender has undisclosed income.
  • Wage attachment.
  • One low cost collection method is a wage attachment or garnishment order. Some states issue an order at the time restitution is ordered; others permit courts to issue an order when a defendant defaults. In some jurisdictions, a wage attachment is entered at the time of sentencing, although it may not be enforced until the defendant defaults. Installment Payment Agreement form includes the defendant's agreement to an assignment of wages in the event of default. 
  • Income tax refunds and other sources of collection.Eighteen states now allow outstanding victim restitution orders to be collected from a defendant's income tax refund. In addition to those states, 
  • Income tax refunds have proved to be an important source method of collection.

In all of the defaults outlined above, if collection procedures are initiated due to default additional. fines, penalties and interest in then incorporated to cover expenses the State incurs.
I continue to gathered information and present this same Law in my community. Under the circumstances this is perfect timing in my case and I will be trying to get this law incorporated into my County, you should too.

To raise more awareness about the potentially fatal scenario, the 

  • U.S. Postal Service, 
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association
  • State Farm Insurance  
have teamed up to spread the word during 

National Dog Bite Prevention Week Print or Order Brochure Here

Here is A Community approach to dog bite prevention Guide PDF From American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions:
REPORTED BY: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)

How big is the problem? Dog bite statistics WHY LAWS NEED TO BE INCREASED
  • An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year 
  • Nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical care
  • Approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered
  • Approximately 25% of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs
  • Approximately 71% of bites occur to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet)
  • Approximately two-thirds of bites occurred on or near the victim’s property, and most victims knew the dog
  • The insurance industry pays more than $1 Billion in dog-bite claims each year
  • At least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S.
  • Approximately 24% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off of their owners’ property
  • Approximately 58% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property
  • In response to these statistics, many communities have enacted breed-specific legislation (BSL) that prohibits ownership of certain breeds, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and others. DO NOT CONDEMN THE DOG PROSECUTE THE 
  • Any breed of dog can bite, and research suggests BSL does little to protect the community from dog-bite incidents.
  • In fact, BSL can often have unintended consequences -- such as black-market interest and in discriminant breeding practices -- resulting in subsequent breed overpopulation that leads to increases in the number of homeless, stray and euthanized dogs.
  • Enforcement of BSL has been shown to be very costly and extremely difficult to enforce. One county in Maryland spent more than $560,000 maintaining pit bulls (not including payroll, cross-agency costs and utilities), while fees generated only $35,000.5
  • Responsible breeding and ownership, public education and enforcement of existing laws are the most effective ways of reducing dog bites.
  • American Humane supports local legislation to protect communities from dangerous animals, but does not advocate laws that target specific breeds of dogs.
Dog bites and children 
  1. 50% of dog attacks involved children under 12 years old
  2. 82% of dog bites treated in the emergency room involved children under 15 years old 
  3. 70% of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children under 10 years old 
  4. Bite rates are dramatically higher among children who are 5 to 9 years old 
  5. Unsupervised newborns were 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog 
  6. 65% of bites among children occur to the head and neck
  7. Boys under the age of 15 years old are bitten more often than girls of the same age 
San Luis Obispo, CA- County Specifics on the New Ordinance: 6.20.070 Menacing and aggressive animals—Animal Owner and Property Owner responsibility.

A. It is unlawful for any person to keep, harbor, or maintain any aggressive or menacing animal which threatens, harasses, or intimidates a person who is peaceably and lawfully upon public or private property, unless it is contained in an enclosure of a construction adequate to keep it securely confined and prevent its escape.

B.  It is unlawful for any person to permit any animal owned, harbored, or controlled by him or her to attack and cause severe bodily injury or death to another domestic or captive animal while off the property of its owner or keeper.

C. Upon notification of a violation of subsection A of this section, the animal owner(s) must immediately confine the animal to an enclosure or location which mitigates the aggressive and menacing behavior.

D. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

1. “Aggressive animal” means any animal whose observable behavior causes a person observing that behavior reasonably to believe that the animal may attack a person or another animal without provocation.

2. “Menacing animal” means any animal which, through its behavior, causes a person observing or subject to that behavior to be in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of animals kept by him or her. Police or military service canines being utilized in an official capacity are excluded from this definition.

3. “Severe bodily injury” means any physical injury which results in deep lacerations with separation of subcutaneous tissues, muscle tears or lacerations, fractures or joint dislocations, or permanent impairment of locomotion or special senses.

E. Penalties for violation:

1. Three hundred fifty dollars for the first violation.

2. Seven hundred dollars for the second violation of subsection A or B of this section within one year.

3. One thousand dollars for each additional violation of subsection A or B of this section within one year.

4. For the purposes of this section, a first violation of subsection A of this section will be deemed to have occurred if the menacing or aggressive animal is not confined as required by subsection C of this section within twenty-four hours of notification; a separate violation of subsection A of this section shall be deemed to exist for each twenty-four-hour period following notification in which an animal’s menacing or aggressive behavior continues unmitigated.

5. Where criminal enforcement of this section is pursued, any violation of this section shall be deemed a misdemeanor, notwithstanding Section 1.12.060.

F. Liability of Property Owners. Owners of properties upon which a tenant keeps, harbors, or maintains any aggressive or menacing animal may, along with the animal owner(s), be jointly and severally liable for penalties related to violations of subsection A of this section, provided that they have received at least fourteen days’ prior written notice of the existence of such violation and the violation has not been abated. No penalty shall be imposed upon the property owner if the property owner can demonstrate, within fourteen days following notification that a violation has occurred, that the property owner has initiated action to abate the illegal activity on the property. (Ord. 1581 § 1, 2012)

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