Visitor Question

How can I keep my dogs from being taken away by the court?

Submitted By: Daisy (Compton, CA)

Someone left my gate open and my 3 dogs escaped and attacked my neighbor’s dog in their yard. My female pitbull wouldn’t let go of the other dog, causing some minor cuts and one deep wound. We where given a ticket by animal control for “negligent owners” and have to go to a court hearing.

As liable owners, we took care of the dog’s veterinarian fees, but we’re scared for court. I don’t want my dogs to be taken away. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening? Thank you for your time.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Daisy,

Whether or not you will be able to keep your dog will be dependent upon several factors. In California, the court (judge) has the authority, under California’s Animal Control Statute Section 298 – 399.5, to take a dog away from its owners to be quarantined if the judge believes the dog presents an “imminent threat of bodily injury or death” to third parties.

Under the facts you present, the dog does not appear to be a threat to other third parties (human beings).

It appears this is the first time your dog(s) attacked another animal. With that said, because your dog(s) did not attack a human being, it is likely the judge will not order your dogs be quarantined, or in the worst case scenario, be put down.

You really have little choice but to either attend the court hearing, or plead guilty to the charge and pay a fine. Paying a fine will have the same effect as if you you were found guilty by the judge of negligence under California’s animal control statutes.

Learn more here: Dog-on-Dog Aggression

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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