Dog Behavior

A well-behaved dog is a dog trained well by a caring owner. Because the city cares about your success as a responsible pet owner, the city has prepared this handout of the city's key animal care laws for your review. Your voluntary compliance would be much appreciated. The city contracts with the County of Los Angeles to enforce the following animal regulations and to provide animal control and sheltering services.

Animal Waste

All pet owners are required to dispose of their pets' animal waste in a sanitary manner. Animal defecation deposited on property other than belonging to the dog owner is prohibited (L.A. County Code 10.40.060).

Barking Dogs

Any pet owner or custodian who allows a dog to bark continuously or for an extended period of time in a manner that annoys the neighbors and disturbs the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood may be guilty of allowing a public nuisance and punishable by a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail (California Penal Code 373A and LA County Code Section 10.40.065). If you have a barking dog complaint, contact your local animal control agency at 310-523-9566.

Leash Law

No person who owns or has charge of a dog may allow the animal to run at large. Dogs must be kept on a leash (no longer than 6 feet in length) at all times when off their owner's private property. Violation may result in a citation, court appearance and a fine of up to $250 (County Code Title 10, Section 10.32.010).

Number of Pets Allowed

No person shall keep more than 3 dogs and 3 cats on any residential lot within the city (Municipal Code 6.04.040).

Rabies Vaccinations

Vaccinations must be kept current for all dogs (County Code 10.20.220).

Licensing Requirements

A valid license is required for all dogs 4 months of age or older. The tag must be purchased annually and securely fixed to the dog's collar (County Code 10.20.190). Failure to license your dog may result in citations, a court appearance and fines (California Health and Safety Code Section 1920, California Food and Agriculture Code Section 30502 and County Code Section 10.20.190). Licenses are valid for a 1-year period from July 1 through June 30. Licenses not renewed by July 1 of each year are subject to a late fee.

To obtain a dog license application, contact the local County Animal Shelter, located at 216 West Victoria, Gardena, by calling 310-523-9566 or print the application from the county website. Remember to include a valid certificate of dog sterilization to qualify for a reduced license fee and a current rabies vaccination certificate.

Dangerous Dogs

Dogs that constitute a public menace may be impounded and removed from the custody of their owner. The County Department of Animal Care and Control may file a petition with the municipal court to determine the disposition of an animal considered to be dangerous. The owner of such an animal may be fined and forced to give up or dispose of his dog (County Code Sections 10.37.020, 10/37.040 - 10.37.150).

Dogs in Open Vehicles

It is illegal to transport any dog in or on the back or bed of an open truck or other open vehicles while traveling on any county road, street, highway, lane or alley. Violation may result in a citation, court appearance and fines of up to $250 per incident.


Dogs may be transported if each animal is cross-tethered securely or the sides of the open vehicle are built up to a height of 46 inches or 3 feet, 10 inches (Vehicle Code Sec. 23117).

Inhumane Treatment

State Penal Code Section 597 and County Code Section 10.12.160 forbid the abusing, mistreatment, torturing and subjecting any animal to needless suffering. These laws provide that no animal may be deprived of proper food, water or shelter. Violation of these laws is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Please report any case of inhumane animal treatment or neglect to your local animal control agency.

Providing Adequate Food & Water

All pet owners are required by law to provide their animals with adequate food and water. Failure to comply with this humane pet care measure is a violation of California Penal Code Section 597E and County Code Title 10, Section 10.40.010.

Vaccination Requirements

Rabies vaccinations are required for all dogs 4 months of age or older. Failure to comply may result in a citation and a court appearance (California Health and Safety Code, Section 1920 and County Code Title 10, Section 10.20.220).

Special Training

Dogs are eager to please and like to be trained. You can easily teach your pet the basic rules of good behavior at home. Get a book of simple instructions from your library. All experts agree that dogs learn more quickly with kindness than with punishment. Be firm, but patient. Training should be fun for both master and pet.

  1. Barking
  2. Dog Bites


This information is from the Los Angeles County website.

Stopping Excessive Dog Barking

These guidelines are provided for your convenience if you have a problem with a dog that barks excessively. Chronic dog barking is bad for your pet. The factors that cause dogs to bark -- mostly off-property noises or movements -- often cause stress in pets. Stress can rob your pet of years of life.

Why Do Dogs Bark Excessively?

A dog's bark is its way of communicating with the outside world. While there are many reasons for dogs to bark, excessive or prolonged barking is annoying and disturbing to neighbors.

Excessive barking may be caused by any of the following:

  • A dog's feeling of separation or loneliness from the owner or family may cause barking.
  • Off-property noises may cause a dog to bark as a way of alerting the owner of a possible problem. Dogs sense many things they cannot easily respond to. That frustration, repeated over and over, day after day, month after month, can cause dogs to bark in response. Furthermore, the barking may get a dog the attention it craves while its silence only means it remains ignored.
  • Some dogs whine, howl or bark because they are bored or frustrated from having little to do. More attention to the animal will help relieve the dog's feeling of boredom and will reinforce good behavior while giving the dog a sense of belonging to the family.

Determining the reason a dog bark is the first step in figuring out how to make him or her stop.

If you have a problem with a barking dog, contact your local Department of Animal Care and Control for assistance.

For more helpful information or to request service contact:  

County Animal Shelter
County Animal Shelter Website
216 West Victoria Avenue
Gardena, CA 90248

Phone: 310-523-9566

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes prepared this document using information compiled from the County of Los Angeles (December 2002).

Contact Us

  1. Los Angeles County Animal Care Center

    216 W Victoria
    Gardena, CA 90248

    Phone: 310-523-9566
    Emergency: 911


    (Closed Holidays)
    Monday through Thursday
    Noon to 7 p.m.

    Friday and Sunday
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m.