News Details

Information Regarding Karma, the Wolf-Hybrid Dog Declared Vicious

OC Animal Care has received many phone and email requests asking for information on the status of Karma, the Wolf-Hybrid dog that was declared vicious.  The following statement provides an update on Karma's status.

The County is under a court order regarding the disposition of Karma.  As a courtesy to Karma's owners, OC Animal Care had temporarily delayed carrying out the order to allow them the opportunity to pursue any potential legal options.  We have not yet determined when the court's order will be implemented.

(a) After the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 31621, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be notified in writing of the determination and orders issued, either personally or by first-class mail postage prepaid by the court or hearing entity. If a determination is made that the dog is potentially dangerous or vicious, the owner or keeper shall comply with Article 3 (commencing with Section 31641) in accordance with a time schedule established by the chief officer of the public pound or animal control department or the head of the local law enforcement agency, but in no case more than 30 days after the date of the determination or 35 days if notice of the determination is mailed to the owner or keeper of the dog. If the petitioner or the owner or keeper of the dog contests the determination, he or she may, within five days of the receipt of the notice of determination, appeal the decision of the court or hearing entity of original jurisdiction. The fee for filing an appeal, payable to the clerk of the court, is as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 70626 of the Government Code. If the original hearing held pursuant to Section 31621 was before a hearing entity other than a court of the jurisdiction, appeal shall be to the superior court. If the original hearing was held in the superior court, appeal shall be to the superior court before a judge other than the judge who originally heard the petition. The petitioner or the owner or keeper of the dog shall serve personally or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, notice of the appeal upon the other party.
(b) The court hearing the appeal shall conduct a hearing de novo, without a jury, and make its own determination as to potential danger and viciousness and make other orders authorized by this chapter, based upon the evidence presented. The hearing shall be conducted in the same manner and within the time periods set forth in Section 31621 and subdivision (a). The court may admit 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. The issue shall be decided upon the preponderance of the evidence. If the court rules the dog to be potentially dangerous or vicious, the court may establish a time schedule to ensure compliance with this chapter, but in no case more than 30 days subsequent to the date of the court’s determination or 35 days if the service of the judgment is by first-class mail.
(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 75, Sec. 46. Effective July 19, 2005. Operative January 1, 2006, by Sec. 156 of Ch. 75.)

The determination of the court hearing the appeal shall be final and conclusive upon all parties.
(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 761, Sec. 1.)