California’s Pets and Property Laws Explained

A family in Orangevale is asking for answers after an unknown driver hit and killed their beloved German Shepard.

Patron was a guardian, protector and member of the Gallico family, owner John Gallico told CBS13’s Rachel Wulff. He wants to know who was responsible for hitting and killing the beloved pet when it was trying to rescue another family dog, Luna, earlier this month.

Gallico says he believes the tragedy was an accident, but also says he thinks the driver knew he or she must have hit something. He’s filed a police report, but authorities say even if they do catch the driver, it’s unlikely criminal charges will be filed in connection with the dog’s death if it was merely an accident.

Mark was asked to explain why during the CBS13 story:


“It’s been interpreted by the courts that dogs, specifically domesticated pets, are property,” Mark said. “If you cause damage to that property, it’s a violation of the law.”

Though it might be a violation, it’s possible the driver — whoever they might be — would only face misdemeanor hit-and-run charges as well as a charge of filing a failing to report the incident, Mark said.

But Mark said the charges could be bumped up to a felony if authorities decide the driver was willfully cruel in connection with the animal’s death.

Click here to read the full story on CBS13’s website.