California Penal Code 399 PC

PC 399 – Failure to Control a Dangerous Dog or Wild Animal

PC 399 - Failure to Control a Dangerous Dog or Wild Animal

Failure to Control Dangerous Animals – Table of Contents

PC 399 – Overview

What is the definition of California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a)?

Any person owning or having custody or control of a dangerous dog or mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, willfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and the animal, while so at large, or while not kept with ordinary care, kills any human being who has taken all the precautions that the circumstances permitted, or which a reasonable person would ordinarily take in the same situation, is guilty of a felony.

What is the definition of failing to control a dangerous dog or wild animal that causes serious bodily injury to another under California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (b)?

(b) If any person owning or having custody or control of a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, willfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and the animal, while so at large, or while not kept with ordinary care, causes serious bodily injury to any human being who has taken all the precautions that the circumstances permitted, or which a reasonable person would ordinarily take in the same situation, is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony.

What is the standard of care required to maintain control of a dangerous dog or wild animal to prevent death or serious bodily injury under California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a) and (b)?

It is the control that would be exercised by a reasonable person on any animal in that category taking into account the totality circumstances, taking into account the past behavior of the animal and the injuries that could have been reasonably foreseen on that occasion.

What is considered a dangerous dog or wild animal for purposes of California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a) and (b)?

Dogs can be dangerous if their dangerous propensities are not common for their specie.iv Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Wolf Hounds are examples. Animals are considered wild because of their mischievous propensities. Mischievous propensities are those which pose a reckless disregard of risk of harm to others.v Wolves, chimpanzees and big cats are examples.

What are common examples of failing to control a dangerous or wild animal under California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a) or (b)?

  1. A dog sitter is told that the dog she is watching is dangerous by its owner and the dog attacks a person when walked.
  2. A couple living in an apartment knows their two pet Rottweilers snarls and snaps at strangers and failed to control them as they mauled a neighbor walking down the stairs.
  3. An animal handler at a petting zoo party takes a bathroom break and during the break, the chimpanzee jumps a fence and causes lacerations and a broken arm to a customer.
  4. As a birthday present, a student is given a pure bred Wolf. The student takes it to his girlfriend’s house. At the house the Wolf severs the finger of his girlfriend’s father.

Sentencing – PC 399

What are the penalties for violating California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a) as a felony?

If the victim is maimed or killed by a dangerous dog or wild animal, failing to control a dangerous animal must be charged as a felony.

  1. The penalty is jail time up to three years.
  2. And fines upwards to $10,000.

What are the penalties for violating California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (b)?

When a crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony it is known as a wobbler. If the victim is injured, or seriously injured by a dangerous dog or wild animal, failing to control a dangerous or wild animal is a wobbler.

  1. The penalty is jail time up to 6 months.
  2. And fines upwards to $1000.

Is there probation for violating California Penal Code (PC) Section 399 (a) or (b)?

Yes. Probation is offered for both felony and misdemeanor convictions under PC Section 399 (a) or (b). But the District Attorney will weigh qualitative and quantitative factors such as criminal history, current profession, family status, education, contributions to the community.vii

Defending – PC 399

What are the common defenses against a violation of California Penal Code Section 399 (a) and (b)?

  1. A lack of knowledge of the animal’s dangerous propensities.
  2. No proof of responsibility to caring for the animal, controlling it, or maintaining custody of it.
  3. The animal was provoked by the person it injured.

We Want to Help

If you are charged with failing to control a dangerous dog or wild animal call The Esfandi Law Group.

Being charged with failing to control a dangerous dog or wild animal can lead to serious consequences. Petting zoos owners, exotic animal breeders, and owners of dangerous dog breeds are encouraged contact Esfandi Law Group for a free consultation.

If you or someone you know have been accused of a crime, it is critical that you meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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