California Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
CA - Dangerous - California Dangerous Dog Statutes West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31601 - 31683; West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 3342 - 3342.5; West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121685; West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 398 - 399.5

This is the California statute for the rules and regulations regarding dangerous and/or vicious dogs. It defines what constitutes a dangerous and/or vicious dog, what is to be done with said dog(s), and provides a model provision for municipalities to follow.  The other set of provisions contains the relevant dog bite law.  California has strict liability for dog bites such that liability is imposed regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

CA - Cats - Consolidated Cat Laws West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31750 - 31766; West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4150 - 4151

These statutes comprise California consolidated cat laws.  Among the provisions include possession requirements for non-domestic cats, vaccination and impound procedures for domestic cats, and legislative policy statements about feral cats.

CA - Impound - § 53074. Seizure and impoundment of dogs on private property West's Ann. Cal. Gov. Code § 53074

This California statute provides that animal control officer shall not seize or impound a dog on its owner's property for violation of a leash ordinance or issue citations for the violation of such ordinance when the dog has not strayed from the owner's private property.  However, if the dog has strayed from the property and later returned to it, an officer may issue a citation if the owner is present or impound the dog if the owner is not present.  In the latter circumstance, the officer must leave a notice of impoundment at the residence.

CA - Burro - § 53074.5. Undomesticated burros; removal by officer or employee of local West's Ann. Cal. Gov. Code § 53074.5

This California law allows an officer or employee of a local animal control agency to remove an undomesticated burro that strays onto private land at the request of the landowner. Such officer can also remove an undomesticated burro that strays onto a public roadway to ensure public safety.

CA - Disaster - § 8608. California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) program; West's Ann. Cal. Gov. Code § 8608

The California Emergency Management Agency is directed to approve, adopt, and incorporate the California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) program into the standardized emergency management system.

CA - Rabies - Chapter 1. Rabies Control. West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121575 - 121710

This chapter of California laws deals with rabies control.

CA - Ordinances - Regulation and control of dogs; maintenance of pound and rabies control programs; vaccination clinics; issuanc West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121690

This California statute provides that, in rabies areas, every owner of dogs older than four months shall get a new dog license at least once every two years as provided by ordinance of the responsible city, city and county, or county.  Also, every dog owner shall, at intervals of time not more often than once a year, vaccinate his or her dog against rabies.  Any dog in violation of this chapter and any additional provisions that may be prescribed by any local governing body shall be impounded, as provided by local ordinance.

CA - Import, dog - Chapter 1.5. Dog Importation: Health Certificates West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121720 - 121723 This chapter relates to importation of dogs into California for sale purposes. A person seeking to bring a dog into this state or importing dogs into this state for the purpose of resale or change of ownership shall obtain a health certificate for that dog, completed by a licensed veterinarian and is dated within 10 days prior to the date on which the dog is brought into the state. However, this chapter does not apply to a person who brings a dog into the state that will not be offered for resale or if the ownership of the dog is not expected to change or to dogs used military or law enforcement work. A person who violates a provision of this chapter is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 for each dog for which a violation has occurred.
CA - Importation - Chapter 3. Importation of Wild Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121775 - 121870

This California set of law relates to the importation of "wild animals" (defined as any animal of the class Aves (birds) or class Mammalia (mammals) that either is not normally domesticated in this state or not native to this state). The violation of any provision of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor. The department may issue a permit to import a wild animal provided that a determination is made that public health or safety will not be endangered.

CA - Pet Sales - Chapter 5. Sale of Dogs and Cats West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122045 - 122315

This section requires that dog breeders provide a written disclosure upon the sale of any dog with information such as the breeder’s name and address, the dog’s birth date, breed. sex, color, and vet record, and a signed statement from the breeder that the dog has no known diseases. Any breeder who knowingly sells a diseased dog faces a civil penalty. Breeders must provide dogs with sanitary housing, adequate food, water, exercise and veterinary care.

CA - Spay, neuter - Chapter 7. Spay/Neuter and Breeding Programs for Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122330, 122331

This California chapter declares that the intent of this legislation is to permit cities and counties to take appropriate action aimed at eliminating uncontrolled and irresponsible breeding of animals. Cities and counties may enact dog breed-specific ordinances pertaining only to mandatory spay or neuter programs and breeding requirements, provided that no specific dog breed, or mixed dog breed, shall be declared potentially dangerous or vicious under those ordinances. These entities must also submit statistical information to the State Public Health Veterinarian on a quarterly basis.

CA - Dog, tether - § 122335. Animal control, agricultural operation, person, and reasonable period West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122335

This California law is the state's dog tethering provision. Under the law, no person shall tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog, or cause a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained, tied, or restrained, to a dog house, tree, fence, or any other stationary object. A person may tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog, but it must be no longer than is necessary for the person to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained for a reasonable period. A person who violates this chapter is guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor. An animal control may issue a correction warning to a person who violates this chapter, requiring the owner to correct the violation, in lieu of an infraction or misdemeanor, unless the violation endangers the health or safety of the animal, the animal has been wounded as a result of the activity.

CA - Pet Store - Chapter 9. Pet Store Animal Care Act West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122350 - 122361

This  law requires pet store operators to maintain the facility in good repair, provide proper care to animals, and clean grooming areas daily. Primary enclosures must be structurally sound, provide adequate space, be water-proof, and protect from injury. The law mandates that dogs and cats must be over eight weeks of age and weaned prior to sale. Pet store operators must ensure that veterinary records are documented in writing. Violations may be considered an infraction or a misdemeanor.

CA - Pet Boarding Facilities - Chapter 11. Pet Boarding Facilities West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122380 - 122388

This chapter of statutes deals with the responsibilities that pet boarding facility operators must adhere to in the state of California. “Pet boarding facility” means any lot, building, structure, enclosure, or premises, or a portion thereof, whereupon four or more dogs, cats, or other pets in any combination are boarded at the request of, and in exchange for compensation provided by, their owner. Operators must ensure that the facility is in good repair, there is adequate pest control, an owner is contacted if a pet escapes and reasonable efforts are made to capture the escaped pet, as well as other upkeep requirements. The chapter also provides enclosure standards and animal care requirements including fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Animal control or qualified humane officers enforce violations of the chapter.

CA - Research Animals - Chapter 5. Regulation of Use of Animals in Diagnostic Procedures and Medical Research West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1650 - 1677

This section regulates the use of animals in medical research. The California Department of Health Services is directed to make rules and regulations providing for satisfactory shelter, food, sanitation, record keeping, and for the humane treatment of animals by persons authorized by the board to raise, keep or to use animals medical research. The department is also authorized to inspect any premises where animals used for the purposes of this section are kept. Violations constitute a misdemeanor.

CA - Food Production - Chapter 13.4. Force Fed Birds West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25980 - 25984.1

This chapter concerns force fed birds (usually ducks or geese), employed in the process of making foie gras . Beginning July 1, 2012, California outlaws the sale of any product in the state that is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size. A peace or humane society officer may issue a citation for a civil penalty up to $1,000 for each violation, and up to $1,000 for each day the violation continues.

CA - Circus - § 25989.1. Notice to animal control services agency of performances to be conducted West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25989.1

This California section provides that any traveling circus or carnival must notify entity that provides animal control services for a city, county, or city and county in which the traveling circus or carnival intends to perform of its intent to perform within that jurisdiction at least 14 days prior to the first performance in that city, county, or city and county. Violation results in a fine of $500 - 2,000 for a first violation, and $1,500 - 5,000 for any subsequent violation.

CA - Farm Animal Cruelty - Chapter 13.8. Farm Animal Cruelty. § 25991. Definitions. West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25990 - 25994

This section provides the definitions, exception,s and enforcement provisions for the Chapter 13.8, Farm Animal Cruelty. The section was added after voters approved Initiative Measure (Prop. 2) in 2008. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 180 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.

CA - Cruelty - § 13012.8. Contents of annual report; violations of § 597 West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 13012.8

This new law effective on January 1, 2017 requires the annual report published by the Department of Justice to include information concerning arrests for violations of Section 597 (the cruelty to animals provision).

CA - Cruelty - § 286.5. Sexually assaulting animal; misdemeanor West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 286.5

This California law provides that any person who sexually assaults any animal for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.

CA - Bite - Title 10. Of Crimes Against the Public Health and Safety (Dog Bite Laws) West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 398 - 399.5

If an owner of an animal knows that the animal bit another person, s/he shall provide the other person with his or her contact information and information about the animal. A violation is an infraction punishable by a fine. If any person who owns an animal and knows of its vicious propensities, allows it to run at large and the animal kills any person, the owner may be guilty of a felony. The court may order the removal of the animal or its destruction.

CA - Dogs - Consolidated Dog Laws West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 398 - 399.5, § 487e et seq, § 597b, § 597s, and § 597z; West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121575 et seq, § 121875 et seq., 122045 - 122315; West's Ann.Cal.Food & Agric.Code § 30501 - 31683;

These statutes represent California's dog laws.  Included are provisions on county control of dogs, licensing, killing and seizure of dogs, and laws regarding dangerous or vicious dogs.

CA - Theft - § 487e. Grand theft; dog exceeding value of $950 West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 487e, 487f, 487g

These provisions of the California Penal Code deal with stealing dogs and other animals. A person who feloniously steals, takes, or carries away a dog of another where the dog's value exceeds $950 is guilty of grand theft. If the value of the dog is less than $950, it is petty theft. If a person steals or maliciously takes an animal of another for purposes of sale, medical research, slaughter, or other commercial use (or does so by fraud or false representation), he or she commits a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 1 year or in the state prison.

CA - Poisoning - § 596. Poisoning animals; exceptions; posting warning signs West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 596

This statute makes it a misdemeanor to poison an animal, but gives an exception to a property owner trying to control or destroy predatory animals or livestock-killing dogs on his/her property, if the owner displays specified warning signs.

CA - Elephant Abuse - § 596.5. Elephants; abusive behavior by owner or manager; misdemeanor West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 596.5

This statute makes it a misdemeanor for an owner or manager of an elephant to engage in abuse and specifies certain behaviors that qualify as abuse.

CA - Rodeos - § 596.7. Rodeos; veterinarians present at performances; violation of section West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 596.7

This statute regulating rodeos requires that animals involved have access to veterinary care and mandates treatment of injured rodeo animals. This statute forbids the use of  an electric prod once an animal is in the holding chute, unless necessary to protect participants or spectators. Violations of this section are infractions punishable by a fine.

CA - Crimes - § 597. Cruelty to animals West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597

This statutes states that anyone who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($ 20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or, alternatively, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($ 20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.  The statute also defines specific forms of torture and mistreatment that qualifies as a crime under this section.

CA - Abandonment - § 597.1. Failure to care for animals; misdemeanor; powers and duties West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.1

Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor.  The statutes also creates a duty in peace officers, humane society officers, and animal control officers to cause the animal to be killed or rehabilitated and placed in a suitable home on information that the animal is stray or abandoned.

CA - Abandonment - § 597.2. Equines; abandoned or relinquished; auction and adoption programs West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.2

This California statute sets forth the requirements for the sale of equines at a private or public auction and that the minimum price must be above the animal's slaughter price.  It also provides that a sale to an individual who buys an equine under the personal use provision shall submit a written statement declaring that the person is adopting the equine for personal use and not for purposes of resale, resale for slaughter, or holding or transporting the equine for slaughter.

CA - Slaughter - § 597.3. Live animal markets West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.3

This California statute regulates live animal markets. Operators must ensure that no animal (frogs, turtles, and birds, but not poultry) sold for the purpose of human consumption) is cut, dismembered, butchered, or de-feathered while still alive. Operators must also provide that no animals are confined in such a way that could case injury, starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. Violation may result in a warning for the first offense and an infraction for a second offense.

CA - Cruelty - § 597.4. Selling or giving away live animals on any street, highway, West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.4

This California statute makes is unlawful (with exceptions) to sell or give away, as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk. The first violation is an infraction punishable by a fine up to $250. However, if the animal suffers, is injured, or its life or health is endangered, then the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.

CA - Dog Fighting - § 597.5. Fighting dogs; felony; punishment; spectators; exceptions West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.5

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.

CA - Cruelty - § 597.6. Exotic or native wild cat species; alteration of toes, claws or paws West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.6

This California law provides that no person may perform, or otherwise procure or arrange for the performance of, surgical claw removal, declawing, onychectomy, or tendonectomy on any cat that is a member of an exotic or native wild cat species, and shall not otherwise alter such a cat's toes, claws, or paws to prevent the normal function of the cat's toes, claws, or paws. Violation results in a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

CA - Cruelty - § 597.7. Animal endangerment; confinement in unattended motor vehicle; violations and penalties; West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.7

This California statute provides that no person shall leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal. In 2016, rescue provisions were added that allows a person to remove an animal in danger from a vehicle provided he or she meets several criteria listed in the law. A first conviction for violation of this section is punishable by a fine not not exceeding $100 per animal. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment. Penalty enhancements are provided for subsequent convictions.

CA - Cruelty - § 597.9. Cruelty to animals; persons convicted of specified misdemeanor and felony West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.9

Under this California law, any person convicted of a misdemeanor violation of certain animal cruelty laws (Section 597, or Section 597a, 597b, 597h, 597j, 597s, or 597.1) and who, within five years after the conviction, owns, possesses, maintains, has custody of, resides with, or cares for any animal is guilty of a public offense, punishable by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). Additionally, any person who has been convicted of a felony violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 597, or Section 597b or 597.5, and who, within 10 years after the conviction, owns, possesses, maintains, has custody of, resides with, or cares for any animal is guilty of a public offense, punishable by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).

CA - Transport - § 597a. Cruelty to animals; transportation; care of animals by arresting officer; expense West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597a

This statute makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to carry a domestic animal in a vehicle in a cruel manner, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering, or cruelty of any kind. If an officer takes a defendant into custody, the officer must take charge of such vehicle and its contents. A lien is placed on them for any necessary expenses incurred for their care, which must be paid before they can be recovered.

CA - Fighting Animals - § 597b. Fighting animals or cockfighting; prohibition; penalties; aiding and abetting West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597b

This statute forbids anyone from causing a fight between any animal or creature for amusement or gain, or allowing an animal fight to take place on her premises.  It also makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to be present at an animal fight.

CA - Fighting - § 597c. Animal fighting exhibitions; spectators; penalty West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597c

Whoever owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any bird or animal, with the intent that such animal shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting, or is present at such exhibition, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

CA - Fighting - § 597d. Fighting animals or birds; entries and arrests without warrant West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597d

This provision allows for law enforcement officers to enter any place, building, or tenement, where there is an exhibition of the fighting of birds or animals, or where preparations are being made for such an exhibition, and, without a warrant, arrest all persons present.

CA - Impound - § 597e. Domestic animals; impounding without sufficient food or water; West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597e

This statute requires anyone who impounds an animal to supply the animal with sufficient food and water.  It also states that if an animal is not provided with food and water, a person may enter the pound where the animal is being held, and provide it with food and water without being liable for the entry.

CA - Abandonment - § 597f. Failure to care for animals; duty of peace or humane officers; West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597f

Every owner of any animal, who permits the animal to be without proper care and attention, shall, on conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. It shall be the duty of any peace officer, officer of the humane society, or officer of a pound or animal regulation department of a public agency, to take possession of the animal so abandoned or neglected and care for the animal until it is redeemed by the owner. Every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled animal, except a dog or cat, may, if after due search no owner can be found therefor, be killed by the officer. all injured cats and dogs found without their owners in a public place directly to a veterinarian known by the officer or agency to be a veterinarian that ordinarily treats dogs and cats for a determination of whether the animal shall be immediately and humanely destroyed or shall be hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment.

CA - Horse Tripping - Poling or tripping a horse; offenses; exceptions West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597g

This section makes it a misdemeanor to pole or trip a horse for entertainment or sport. Poling is a method of training a horse to jump by forcing, persuading, or enticing a horse to lift its legs higher over a jump by hitting its front legs with a pole, rope, stick, etc. Tripping a horse is using a wire, pole, stick, rope, etc. to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

CA - Racing - § 597h. Live animals; attaching to power propelled device to be pursued by dogs West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597h

This statute makes it unlawful to tie, attach, or fasten any live animal to any machine or device propelled by any power for the purpose of causing such animal to be pursued by a dog or dogs.

CA - Cockfighting - § 597i. Cockfighting implements; prohibitions; penalties West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597i

This statute makes it unlawful for anyone to manufacture, buy, sell, barter, exchange, or have in his possession any of the implements commonly known as gaffs or slashers, or any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a gamecock or other fighting bird. The section also provides for forfeiture of such items, in addition to any sentence imposed by the court.

CA - Cockfighting - § 597j. Persons who own, possess or keep or train West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597j

This section prohibits any person from owning, possessing, or keeping any cock with the intent that it shall be used in any exhibition of fighting.

CA - Horse tack - § 597k. Bristle bur, tack bur, etc.; use on animals West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597k

This section makes it a misdemeanor to use a bristle bur, tack bur, or similar device, to be used on a horse or any other animal. A violation is punishable with imprisonment and/or imprisonment.

CA - Pet Shop - § 597l. List providing what is unlawful for a pet shop operator to fail to do; information to be provided to buy West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597l

This statute requires operators of pet shops to provide sanitary conditions, proper heating and ventilation, adequate nutrition and  space for a pet animal. Sellers must provide buyers with written recommendations for the generally accepted standards of care, including information on housing and feeding of the animal. Violations of the provisions constitute a misdemeanor.

CA - Bullfights - § 597m. Bullfights prohibited; exceptions; penalty West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597m

This statute makes it unlawful for any person to promote, advertise, stage, hold, manage, conduct, participate in, engage in, or carry on any bullfight, but does not prohibit rodeos or bloodless bullfights, contests, or exhibitions held in connection with religious celebrations or religious festivals.

CA - Docking - § 597n. Docked horses; prohibition of docking; importation or use of unregistered animals West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597n

This law was amended in 2009 to prohibit the docking or cutting of the solid part of any horse or cattle. Violation of the law constitutes a misdemeanor. The new law does provide an exclusion for the docking of any cattle's tail in an emergency for the purpose of saving the cattle's life or relieving the cattle's pain provided that the emergency treatment is performed consistent with the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

CA - Horse slaughter - § 597o. Humane transportation of equine to slaughter; vehicle requirements; West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597o

This statute outlines the requirements for transporting equine to slaughter, including, but limited to, proper ventilation, sufficient space for equine to stand, and the use of ramps and floors with nonskid surfaces.

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