Ontario Guide to Dog Bites: What to do and who to call

What do you do when man’s best friend bites? Get to know your Dog Owners’ Liability Act! In this article we cover some dog bite basics and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

What you need to know as a dog owner

In Ontario we have the Dog Owner Liability Act that stipulates that if your dog bites someone else, you are held responsible. It doesn’t matter if the dog was being trained, if it was at the dog sitters, or if it escaped. The Dog Owner Liability Act is a strict liability statute.

For this reason, it is very important if you are a dog owner that you tell your home insurance or tenant insurance that you have a dog. If a situation arises where your dog bites someone, and that person needs compensation, you want to know for certain that you will be covered.

Steps to take after a dog bite if you are the victim

1) Collect names of any witnesses

2) Get the name of the dog owner and, if possible, collar information

3) Get medical attention ASAP

4) Take photos of your wounds

5) Call us 613-233-4529

Will the dog be put down after a dog bite?

A lot of dog lovers who have been seriously injured by a dog bite are hesitant to advance a lawsuit because they think the dog will be put down. Really, advancing a lawsuit is about compensation for your injuries. There’s nothing that happens in the lawsuit process that affects the dog. What bylaw or animal control determines about the dog, and what occurs in a lawsuit for compensation, are two different issues that don’t affect one another. Because of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, if a lawsuit is advanced it is only going to result in an insurance claim, and will not impact the life of the dog.

Have questions about a dog bite? Call us up for a free consultation at 613-233-4529. We can answer your questions over the phone or in person, whichever works best for you.

About the Author: Brenda Hollingsworth

Brenda Hollingsworth co-founded Ottawa’s Auger Hollingsworth in 2005 with her husband Richard Auger. Together, their mission was to create a personal injury law firm for Eastern Ontario that is unrivalled in the province for customer service and legal expertise. Brenda was named an Ottawa Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recipient and took home the Women’s Business Network’s Businesswoman of the Year award in the Professional category. She was also recognized as one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s “Top 50 People in the Capital.” She is often quoted as an expert and has appeared in media outlets such as CTV, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Sun Media, CBC, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, CFRA and many legal publications.

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