374.Dog Tracking Evidence
You have received evidence about the use of a tracking dog. You may
not conclude that the defendant is the person who committed the crime
based only on the fact that a dog indicated the defendant [or a location].
Before you may rely on dog tracking evidence, there must be:
1. Evidence of the dog’s general reliability as a tracker;
2. Other evidence that the dog accurately followed a trail that led
to the person who committed the crime. This other evidence does
not need to independently link the defendant to the crime.
In deciding the meaning and importance of the dog tracking evidence,
consider the training, skill, and experience, if any, of the dog, its trainer,
and its handler, together with everything else that you learned about the
dog’s work in this case.
New January 2006
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on tracking dogs whenever they are
used to prove the identity of a defendant. (People v. Malgren (1983) 139
Cal.App.3d 234, 241 [188 Cal.Rptr. 569], disapproved on other grounds in People
v. Jones (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1115, 1144 [282 Cal.Rptr. 465, 811 P.2d 757].)
• Instructional Requirements. People v. Craig (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 905,
917–918 [150 Cal.Rptr. 676].
• Dog Tracking Evidence Need Not Be Viewed With Caution. People v.
Malgren (1983) 139 Cal.App.3d 234, 241 [188 Cal.Rptr. 569], disapproved on
other grounds in People v. Jones (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1115, 1144 [282 Cal.Rptr.
465, 811 P.2d 757].
• Corroboration Requirement. People v. Gonzales (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 403,
410 [267 Cal.Rptr. 138].
1 Witkin California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Opinion Evidence, § 77.
3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 71,
Scientiﬁc and Expert Evidence, § 71.04[d][ii] (Matthew Bender).