Full Statute Name:  West's Annotated California Codes. Penal Code. Part 1. Of Crimes and Punishments. Title 14. Malicious Mischief. § 597.5. Fighting dogs; felony; punishment; spectators; exceptions

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Primary Citation:  West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.5 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  September, 2023 Alternate Citation:  CA PENAL § 597.5 Date Adopted:  1975 Historical: 
Summary: This California statute provides that it is a felony to own, possess, keep, or train any dog, with the intent that the dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog, or to cause dogs to fight for the purpose of amusement or gain. Knowingly being a spectator at such an event constitutes a misdemeanor.

(a) Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by a fine not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment:

(1) Owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any dog, with the intent that the dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog.

(2) For amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight with another dog, or causes any dogs to injure each other.

(3) Permits any act in violation of paragraph (1) or (2) to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, or aids or abets that act.

(b) Any person who is knowingly present, as a spectator, at any place, building, or tenement where preparations are being made for an exhibition of the fighting of dogs, with the intent to be present at those preparations, or is knowingly present at that exhibition or at any other fighting or injuring as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), with the intent to be present at that exhibition, fighting, or injuring, is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any of the following:

(1) The use of dogs in the management of livestock, as defined by Section 14205 of the Food and Agricultural Code, by the owner of the livestock or his or her employees or agents or other persons in lawful custody thereof.

(2) The use of dogs in hunting as permitted by the Fish and Game Code, including, but not limited to, Sections 4002 and 4756, and by the rules and regulations of the Fish and Game Commission.

(3) The training of dogs or the use of equipment in the training of dogs for any purpose not prohibited by law.


(Added by Stats.1975, c. 1075, p. 2634, § 1. Amended by Stats.1977, c. 165, p. 642, § 9, eff. June 29, 1977, operative July 1, 1977; Stats.1984, c. 1290, § 1; Stats.1984, c. 1432, § 4; Stats.1987, c. 792, § 1; Stats.2009, c. 225 (A.B.242), § 1; Stats.2010, c. 328 (S.B.1330), § 156; Stats.2011, c. 15 (A.B.109), § 411, eff. April 4, 2011, operative Oct. 1, 2011.)


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