Section 31621. (Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 119.)
Cite as: Cal. Food & Agric. Code §31621.
If an animal control officer or a law enforcement officer has investigated and determined that there exists probable cause to believe that a dog is potentially dangerous or vicious, the chief officer of the public pound or animal control department or his or her immediate supervisor or the head of the local law enforcement agency, or his or her designee, shall petition the superior court of the county wherein the dog is owned or kept for a hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the dog in question should be declared potentially dangerous or vicious. A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case. A city or county may establish an administrative hearing procedure to hear and dispose of petitions filed pursuant to this chapter. Whenever possible, any complaint received from a member of the public which serves as the evidentiary basis for the animal control officer or law enforcement officer to find probable cause shall be sworn to and verified by the complainant and shall be attached to the petition. The chief officer of the public pound or animal control department or head of the local law enforcement agency shall notify the owner or keeper of the dog that a hearing will be held by the superior court or the hearing entity, as the case may be, at which time he or she may present evidence as to why the dog should not be declared potentially dangerous or vicious. The owner or keeper of the dog shall be served with notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition, either personally or by first-class mail with return receipt requested. The hearing shall be held promptly within no less than five working days nor more than 10 working days after service of notice upon the owner or keeper of the dog. The hearing shall be open to the public. The court may admit into evidence all relevant evidence, including incident reports and the affidavits of witnesses, limit the scope of discovery, and may shorten the time to produce records or witnesses. A jury shall not be available. The court may find, upon a preponderance of the evidence, that the dog is potentially dangerous or vicious and make other orders authorized by this chapter.