Dog Bite Injury

dog attack injury

There is more to animal attacks than just physical wounds, infections, or disabilities. They leave victims with profound psychological and emotional scars that affect their lives and livelihoods for years to come. Our injury lawyers offer complete legal support coupled with compassionate care for every case we manage for victims in Ontario. We support our clients during their entire legal processes to secure them the compensation that rightly belongs to them. We stand out among other dog bite injury law firms by assisting our clients with compassion for individual hardships. 

Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA) in Ontario

In Ontario, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (“DOLA”) places strict liability on dog owners for bites or attacks caused by their animals, underlining the importance of controlling pets properly while allowing victims easier access to justice without having to prove negligence. Under this statute, liability does not depend on an owner’s awareness of their dogs’ aggressive potential nor on an owner’s attempts at taking preventive measures. Instead, it gives victims more of an opportunity for recovery through litigation by simplifying the legal process.

Key Provisions of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act

Strict Liability – This provision absolves victims from needing to prove the owner was negligent; simply showing that an attack happened is enough to hold the owner liable.

Joint and Several Liability – In cases involving multiple owners of an animal, any one of the owners can be held fully liable. The court has the discretion to reduce the amount of damages awarded if there is evidence that

Mandatory Measures – Courts have the authority to order measures beyond dog bite settlement in severe cases, such as ordering the dog’s destruction or restricting an owner’s right to own pets, in an effort to impose both punitive and preventive measures.

The Nature of Dog and Animal Attacks- Animal attacks can result in various injuries, from superficial scratches to serious and life-threatening conditions that require long-term medical attention. Below is a list of some of the common conditions that may arise as a result of animal attacks.

Puncture Wounds and Lacerations

Nerve and Muscle Damage


Psychological Impact

Consequences of Non-Compliance with the Dog Owners’ Liability Act

Violations of the DOLA have severe consequences, as dog owners must adhere to responsible pet management practices. On conviction, an individual who contravenes any part of the DOLA or its regulations is liable to pay a fine of up to $10,000 or face imprisonment of up to six months, or both. A corporation convicted under the DOLA or its regulations is liable to pay a fine of up to $60,000. Here are a few specific examples under which a dog owner may be charged and convicted pursuant to the DOLA:

Failure to Leash a Designated Pit Bull – Per section 1 of Ontario Regulation 157/05: Pit Bull Controls, owners of restricted pit bulls must properly leash and muzzle their pit bull, underscoring the importance of controlling potentially more aggressive breeds for public safety purposes.

Failure to Take Reasonable Precautions – Per section 5.1 of the DOLA, dog owners are required to exercise reasonable precautions to prevent their dog from (a) biting or attacking a person or domestic animal, or (b) behaving in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals. These penalties serve not only as punitive measures but also to deter negligence and foster a safer community environment for both people and animals.

Immediate Actions to Take After an Animal Attack

The moments immediately following an injury due to an animal attack are crucial. Immediate actions not only facilitate medical recovery but also strengthen legal claims:

See a doctor and get all necessary medical treatment. An immediate and thorough medical assessment is crucial to your health recovery and can assist with documentation of injuries for legal purposes.

Notify local authorities or animal control of the attack, both for documentation and to enforce animal control laws and by-laws.

Take photographs of your injuries, the scene, and the animal involved.

Obtain all witnesses’ contact information, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses where available.

Preserve all medical records, bills, and other expenses associated with the attack.

Consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to increase your chances of success. Protecting all your rights requires expert legal advice in navigating the complexities of the law.

Our legal team strives to maximize dog bite injury claims for clients who have been attacked by animals. Our vast knowledge of provincial statutes and municipal by-laws enables us to navigate complex legal cases effectively as part of our dedication to providing maximum compensation to each client. We assess all aspects of each case carefully, including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and long-term care needs to ensure we obtain the maximum compensation possible. Additionally, injury lawyers have expertise in municipal by-laws that may affect cases, including animal control regulations or restrictions about dog breeds or pet ownership. With our expertise across all legal parameters, we maximize the outcomes of animal bite claims and secure substantial financial recovery for our clients.

Our legal team adopts an integrative approach when handling cases for our clients, understanding that each situation requires personalized strategies that address both immediate needs and long-term implications. With thorough investigative procedures and adept legal maneuvering techniques in place, no detail of an incident is overlooked.

Oatley Vigmond goes beyond individual legal representation; we advocate on behalf of safer communities and stricter animal control regulations through community education initiatives and legislative advocacy to help avoid future incidents and provide all Ontario residents with a safer environment.

No Win, No Fee Assurance

Personal injuries can place financial pressure on victims. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means no upfront payments need to be made, and our remuneration depends on successfully resolving each client’s case, guaranteeing access without incurring financial risk for anyone in need of legal aid.

If you or a family member has suffered a serious injury due to an animal attack or bite, Oatley Vigmond can assist in recovering and finding compensation and peace of mind. Our professional team at Oatley Vigmond can guide you through this recovery process so you get what is owed to you.