California Dog Bite Statute Defense: Assumption of the Risk
The California dog bite statute imposes a duty on every dog owner to prevent their dog from biting another person in a public place or lawfully in a private place. However, dog owners do not have such a duty under the California dog bite statute to veterinarians, kennel workers, or other professionals who have assumed the risk of being bitten by a dog by accepting employment in an occupation where the risk of a dog bite is an inherent risk, and where the veterinarian or similar professional has entered into a contractual relationship with the dog owner to deliver veterinary treatment or other services subject to the inherent risk. Just as someone who has negligently started a fire has no duty to protect a firefighter from the risks and dangers the firefighter is employed to confront, so to do dog owners owe no duty to veterinarians and similar professionals to protect them from the risk of a dog bite which the veterinarian or similar professional is employed to confront. As a result, dog owner’s are not liable to veterinarians and similar professionals under California’s dog bite statute when their dog bites the veterinarian in the course of veterinary treatment or similar professional who accepts employment in the profession where dog bites are an inherent risk.