Felony or Misdemeanor for Injury by Dog Trained to Fight, Attack or Kill

A number of states make it a specific crime to possess a dog that is trained to fight, attack or kill. For example, California Penal Code section 399.5 makes it a misdemeanor or felony (in the prosecutor’s discretion) to own or have custody or control of a dog if the following four conditions are met: 

  • The dog was trained to fight, attack or kill.
  • The owner or keeper knew of the dangerous nature of the dog.
  • The dog bit one or more people on two separate occasions (causing any kind of injury), or on one occasion which caused substantial injuries.
  • The attack(s) resulted from the owner’s or keeper’s failure to exercise ordinary care.