You are currently viewing 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 has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce