Dog owners are responsible for their pets. In fact, in law, they are said to be “strictly liable”. This means that if a dog bites or attacks a person or another dog, the owner of the offending dog is very likely to be held liable for any damages resulting from the bite or attack. Situations where the dog owner may not be liable are quite limited. For example, if the person bitten was trying to injure the dog before the bite occurred, liability would be unlikely.
“Good” dogs do not get one bite. The dog owner will ordinarily be liable, even if his or her dog has never bitten anyone before. As in all cases of injury, the need for medical attention takes top priority. However, presuming medical care can be briefly postponed, you will need to obtain the name and contact information of the dog owner. It may also be prudent to contact your local animal control office. This is so as the dog may pose a danger to others but, additionally, the animal control office will investigate and create a report of the incident. This may help in buttressing your version of what occurred if there is disagreement down the road.
For more information, you may go to ontario.ca, click on “Laws” from the left hand column, then “Current Consolidated Law”, and then letter “D” for statutes. Then select “Dog Owners Liability Act”.
Finally, and once again, do not hesitate to call our office for advice. (This short article speaks to the injured. If your dog has done the biting, please advise your home insurer.)