Dog Bites – When Is The Owner of The Dog Liable?

It’s no secret that we love our dogs. For many dog owners, they are family members just like our children. Just keep in mind when bringing a new “fur baby” into your home, there are numerous responsibilities to be aware of. As Ontario residents, we owe a duty of care to our guests and neighbors that ensure their safety whenever they are around us and our furry friends. So, if you’ve been considering bringing home a dog, make sure you understand the responsibilities that it carries.

Ontario Dog Owner’s Liability Act

The Dog Owner’s Liability Act or DOLA as it is often referred to is legislation in relation to dog ownership and is intended to increase public awareness and safety. Essentially, the law places liability on the pet owner if the dog injures or damages other individuals and their property. The law also applies to situations where the dog bites another pet animal. Furthermore, if you share ownership with your spouse or a partner, you’ll both be held liable. Even if the dog bite victim somehow provoked the dog, you’ll be held negligent but your fine may be reduced, as per Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill.

When the Dog Owner is guilty according to DOLA

There are three things that could happen if the owner of a dog is guilty according to DOLA. The courts could 1) fine the owner, 2) issue a control order, or 3) order the dog to be destroyed. Additionally, a proceeding against the owner may be held in the Ontario Court of Justice if the following is alleged:

• the dog bit or attacked another person or domestic animal

• the dog behaves in such a manner that is poses a threat to the safety of other people or domestic animals

• the owner failed to take reasonable precautions and prevent the dog from attacking or biting another individual or domestic animal or behaving in such a way that it poses a threat to the safety of other individuals or domestic animals

The extent of the owner’s liability doesn’t depend on whether they knew that the dog could attack another person or domestic animal. Nor does it solely depend on owner negligence as the victim might have had a part to play. However, the courts may reduce the damage award based on the degree or extent (if any) to which the injured party’s fault or negligence played a role in the attack or contributed to the damages.

For more information about the Dog Owner’s Liability Act of Ontario and your rights as a personal injury victim, call RPC Law today at (416) 477-6840. Our lawyers are here to assist you, so call us now!

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