What to Do If You are a Victim of a Dog Bite or Animal Attack - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Wednesday, 28 June 2017

What to Do If You are a Victim of a Dog Bite or Animal Attack

#AskJoshuaHimel

A law banning pit bulls from the province 12 years ago should have made people living and working in Ontario feel safer as dog bites declined, but your risk of being attacked appears to have increased. According to a news report, the number of dog bites reported in Toronto has increased even though the population of the breed the government declared to be responsible for attacks on people has all but vanished.

The population of dogs throughout the country is estimated at 7.6 million.With 41 percent of Canadian households having at least one dog in residence, it is essential to have an understanding of the dog bite laws and to know what to do in the event you or a family member is the victim of a dog bite or animal attack.

The Ontario dog bite law

The province of Ontario has a Dog Owners’ Liability Act under which the owner of a dog is liable for the damages caused if his or her dog bites someone or attacks a domestic animal. The law is very broad in the way it defines ownership for purposes of holding someone responsible.

An owner is anyone who possesses or harbours a dog. This means a person taking a neighbour’s dog for a walk could be held liable if the dog bites someone because the animal was in the possession of the person walking it.

Dog owners cannot defend against a claim for damages by denying knowledge of the animal’s propensity to bite or be aggressive. Owners are held responsible regardless of their dog’s temperament or biting history prior to the attack.

Courts are permitted, under the provincial law, to take into consideration the conduct of the victim in provoking the attack. The damages awarded to a victim can be reduced by the degree to which the victim’s conducted contributed to causing or provoking the attack.

What to do if you are the victim of an attack

An attack by a dog or other animal can be a traumatic event causing serious injuries. If you or a family member is bitten by a dog, you should follow these steps:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Report the attack to the police or animal services office
  • Write down a description of the animal to give to authorities
  • Get the names and contact information of witnesses to the attack
  • If possible, take pictures of the injuries
  • Record the date, time and exact location of the attack
  • Try to obtain the name and contact information of the owner of the dog

Toronto is among cities with regulations authorizing animal services agencies to investigate dog bite incidents. The city has the power to issue a caution notice to the owner of a dog involved in an attack and make recommendations for avoiding attacks in the future. Its animal services agency can also order an owner to muzzle a dog whenever it is removed from the owner’s property.

Talk to a dog bite lawyer

If you are injured in an animal attack, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond might be able to help you recover compensation. We have offices located throughout Ontario staffed by professionals to assist you. Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.

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