What Are The San Diego Dog Laws?

A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen.

-Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Here are the 10 most common dog laws in San Diego:

1) Must Dogs Be On A Leash In San Diego?

San Diego Leash Law

A dog owner or custodian must prevent the dog from being “at large” according to San Diego County Code 62.669. “At large” means being without a leash on public property. “Leash” means rope or similar material six feet or less in length. See sections (c) and (aa) of San Diego County Code 62.602. If you’re on public property, then your dog needs to have a leash.

San Diego has several leash free locations. You can find a map here: Approved Leash Free Locations.

2) How Many Dogs Can You Own In San Diego?

6 dogs.

But this is not as straightforward as you’d think.

San Diego County Zoning Ordinance 3000 indicates it governs the keeping of animals in San Diego County. Note 1 of 3100 states that dogs and cats are subject to 6150.

San Diego County Zoning Ordinance 6150O(n) simply provides that the “keeping of dogs and cats” is allowed.

San Diego County County Code 62.602 defines “kennel” as a facility that keeps 7 or more dogs.

Taking those ordinances together suggests that you can own 6 dogs in San Diego. A writer from the San Diego Union-Tribune reached the same conclusion here: REGION: Limits on dog and cat ownership vary widely.

3) How To File A Dog Bite Report In San Diego?

We answered this question on an earlier blog post, which you can find here: How To File A Dog Bite Report In San Diego.

4) What Are The San Diego Dog Poop Laws?

San Diego County Code 62.670 states that dogs cannot poop or pee on private property. If the dog does, however, any refuse must be cleaned up immediately.

5) What Are The San Diego Dog Bite Laws?

We covered California Dog Bite Law on this blog post: How To File A Dog Bite Report In San Diego.

Here are San Diego Dog Bite Laws:

6) What To Do When Your Dog Bites Another Dog?

You must notify the Department of Animal Services if your dog bit someone. See San Diego County Code 62.615

The Department of Animal Services should then quarantine your dog.

The Department of Animal Services could also declare your dog to be a “Public Nuisance Animal” or “Dangerous Dog.” See San Diego County Code 62.

7) What Are The Dog Breed Restrictions In San Diego?

California Law states that cities and counties can enact dog-specific ordinances related to breeding. See California Health and Safety Code 122331.

It doesn’t appear, however, that San Diego has done that. In other words, there appears to be no dog breed restrictions in San Diego.

8) What To Do If You Hit A Dog With Your Car?

You should stop and see if you can identify the dog’s owner. If so, you should inform the owner. Otherwise, you could be charged for a hit and run accident. See California Vehicle Code 2002.

Note that dogs are considered “property” according to California law.

9) What To Do About A Barking Dog?

Frequent dog barking is prohibited under San Diego Municipal Code section 59.50502(c). You should call San Diego Code Enforcement at (619) 236-5500 to complain.

10) How Can Your Dog Be Declared A “Public Nuisance?”

First, the dog must have bitten someone. Second, that bite should have been reported to the County of San Diego. Third, if there’s a sufficient basis for it, the Department of Animal Services will notify you that it intends to deem the dog a “public nuisance.” If so, you should have the right to challenge that action in a hearing. See San Diego County Code 62.674.


Contact Me for a free consultation, or learn more about representation by a Dog Bite Attorney.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He is licensed to practice in California, Connecticut, and Louisiana. His entire practice has been in litigation.

Evan is from a small town outside of New Orleans. He attended law school in New Orleans, which was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. After evacuating to Houston, Evan graduated in 2008 as part of the ‘Hurricane Katrina Class.’

After graduation, Evan worked for a New Orleans insurance defense firm. He defended insurance companies against Hurricane Katrina lawsuits brought by homeowners and business owners.

In 2010, he and his wife moved to New Haven, Connecticut, so his wife could complete a medical residency at Yale. During the next few years, Evan worked for Travelers Insurance Company defending countless personal injury lawsuits.

In 2014, he moved to San Diego so his wife could complete a medical fellowship at UCSD. He then opened his own firm to represent people after years of defending insurance companies.

Evan is a Featured Faculty at Attorney Credits, a CLE company, and a regular contributor to various podcasts and publications. He has also been interviewed by San Diego television stations about his cases and practice.

Evan spent almost a decade as a defense attorney who defended insurance companies from personal injury and property damage lawsuits. He knows how insurance companies bully people and deny claims. And he knows how to fight them.

Bar Admissions: California Connecticut (inactive) Louisiana (inactive)

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