Your Dog is Not My Best Friend

We have all heard the expression that a dog is a man’s best friend.  This holds true in Canada where roughly 35% of all households own one or more of this country’s estimated 5.9 million dogs.  Dogs are known for developing close and loyal relationships with their owners; however their behaviour can sometimes be unpredictable.  Unfortunately, even a well-behaved dog can attack a person or another pet and threaten the safety of others.

The Dog Owners’ Liability Act anticipates the unpredictable nature of animals.  It requires dog owners to take the necessary precautions to prevent their dog from becoming a menace or instigating an attack.  The Act does not reduce a finding of liability when a dog menaces or attacks despite its owner or handler exercising all precautions.

In Ontario, liability does not just attach to a dog owner for a menacing or attacking dog.  The Dog Owners’ Liability Act makes it clear that liability falls on any person who possesses or harbours a dog.  A dog owner, or even a dog sitter, will be found liable if the victim of the menacing or attacking dog can prove their injuries and damages, and identify the responsible dog.

If you own a dog it is a good idea to check with the provider of your home or renters’ insurance to make sure you are protected in the event your dog causes damages to another pet or person.  If you, or someone you know, has been victimized by a dog, a personal injury lawyer can provide helpful information about your legal rights and remedies.

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