A tougher dog bite law makes it a felony to keep a dog that seriously hurts someone. The law went into effect January first. The state law was revised to deal with cases like the fatal mauling of San Francisco resident Diane Whipple and the Richmond maiming of young Shawn Jones. California dog owners have always faced possible criminal charges if their pets killed someone.
Local ordinances in San Francisco and Los Angeles also imposed fines for injuries by dogs. But criminal penalties applied only to fatal cases and to the dog´s owner.