Dog bite compensation and liability in Ontario. What our lawyers think you should know.

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Dog bite compensation and liability in Ontario. What our lawyers think you should know.

Dog Bite Victims and the Dog Owner’s Liability Actdogbite

We love dogs! While certain breeds of dogs tend to have lower dog bite statistics, there is really no 100% guarantee that any dog will not bite you. Dog bites happen every day. In fact, there are close to 5 million people in North America who are injured by dogs on an annual basis. Furthermore, 81 % of dog attacks are on children (

Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act

The Ontario government has very specific laws when it comes to dog attacks and liability.  The Dog Owner’s Liability Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16) addresses several areas of liability including owner liability, contribution by a person(s) at fault, multiple owner liability and the extent of liability. When it comes to dog bites and liability, Ontario courts must consider all the above-mentioned factors as well as any facts that surround the case, such as a dog’s history, was the dog was provoked, precautions taken by the owner to preclude similar attacks in the future, the seriousness of the injuries caused by the biting or attack, unusual contributing circumstances tending to justify the dog’s action, etc…There are many variations and questions that need to be asked when determining liability and compensation in a dog bite accident case.  An experienced dog bite lawyer will be able to specifically advise you on your case.

Dog bite compensation and liability

In general, a dog owner is responsible for personal injuries inflicted on another person by their dog. However,  if a dog attacks an individual who has entered a home or workplace with the intention of committing a criminal act, the dog’s owner will not be held responsible if the animal injures the intruder. There are some instances where the courts will determine that a dog needs to be put down. For instance, this could happen if the court determines that the animal is dangerous or a threat to other people, or that the dog has a history of attacking and biting other animals or individuals. Ontario courts can also decide that a dog may not necessarily be out down but will have certain conditions such as they will be confined to their owner’s property and the owner is responsible for making sure there are adequate warning signs regarding the dog and that the dog must be restrained in certain circumstances.

Pitbull dog bites

Of particular note, the Ontario government enacted legislation in 2005 to specifically deal with pit bulls in Ontario. The Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 was passed along with Ontario Regulation 157/05 which provides for the strict regulation and control of owning a pit bull in Ontario. This law now prohibits persons from owning, breeding, importing, abandoning or transferring any pit bulls.

For more information on dog bite compensation in Ontario, contact one of our dog bite lawyers for a free consultation.

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.