California Health and Safety Code Section 122335 HSC: Unlawful Tethering Of A Dog

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimeanimal crime

Many dog owners must figure out what to do with their dogs when they are not home. In the past, it was not uncommon to keep dogs tied up outside of the home or in other areas. However, restraining a dog for long periods of time in this manner can be detrimental to the animal’s health and well-being. As a result, unlawfully tethering a dog is illegal under California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC and violations of this statute can lead to criminal convictions.

In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of unlawfully tethering a dog, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant tethered, fastened, chained, tied or restrained or caused a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained, tied or restrained.
  2. The tether was attached to a doghouse, tree, fence or any other stationary object.

California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC allows a person to tether a dog in the following circumstances:

  1. Where the dog is attached to a running line, pulley or trolley system. The dog cannot be attached to this type of system by means of a choke chain or pinch collar.
  2. Where the dog is tethered pursuant to the requirements of a camping or recreational area
  3. Where the dog is secured for a reasonable period so the owner can complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained. A reasonable period is a period of time less than three hours within a 24-hour period.
  4. Where the dog is tethered while the owner engages in the business of herding sheep or cattle or the business of cultivating agricultural products.
2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Failing to Control a Dangerous Dog/Animal - California Penal Code Section 399 PC
  2. Leaving a Pet Unattended in a VehicleCalifornia Penal Code Section 597.7 PC
3. Examples

A man buys a new dog but does not want to keep the dog in the house. The man is concerned the dog will dig under the fence if he leaves him unattended in the backyard. When the man leaves for work, he ties the dog up to a doghouse in his backyard. The man could be charged criminally with unlawful tethering of an animal in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC. He would need to find an alternate method of securing his dog, such as a running line, pulley or trolley system that would let the dog roam freely during the day.

In another example, a man needs to pick up a prescription from the local pharmacy. It is a hot day and the man does not want to leave his dog in the car and risk violating California Penal Code Section 597.7 PC (leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle) but the pharmacy will not allow the dog inside. The man ties up the dog to a post outside the pharmacy while he picks up the prescription. He is in the store for less than 20 minutes. The man would not be criminally liable under California Health & Safety Code Section 122335 HSC because he left the dog tethered for a reasonable amount of time while he completed a temporary task.

4. Defenses to Unlawful Tethering of a Dog

As described above, if the defendant secured the dog with a running line, pulley or trolley system (without a choke chain) or only left the dog secured for less than three hours, he or she would not be guilty of this offense.

5. Penalties

Unlawfully tethering a dog can be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction. An infraction would be punishable by a fine of up to $250. A misdemeanor conviction for this offense is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

6. Criminal Defense for Unlawful Tethering of a Dog

If you have been cited for unlawfully tethering your dog, it is important that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how best to defend people charged with offenses of this nature. Mr. Kraut is dedicated to his clients and works hard to ensure they receive the best representation possible.

For more information about unlawful tethering of a dog, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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