Criminal Charges

People need protection from dangerous animals, and animals need protection from dangerous people. When a dog kills or seriously injures a human being, law enforcement agencies try to decide whether the people who had custody of the dog committed a crime, meaning something they deserve punishment for. The page called Criminal Penalties for a Dog Bite gives an overview of the criminal charges that can be filed when a dog bites, mauls, or kills a person. When a dog is injured or killed, the authorities try to find out if it happened because of someone’s cruelty, which leads to punishment. Go to Cruelty Toward Dogs to learn how one state (California) punishes animal cruelty.