Dogs are often referred to as man’s (or woman’s!) best friend; however, sometimes dogs can be very unfriendly and cause injury to others. An estimated 500,000 dog bites occur every year in Canada; 75% of which are suffered by children under 10 years old.[i]Pursuant to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act[ii], dog owners are held liable if their dog bites or attacks another person causing injury. A dog owner cannot escape liability if they allege not to have known of the dog’s propensity to attack or bite. However, an award of damages may be reduced if the evidence is provided that the injured party provoked the attack.

If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to the police and local animal control. The incident may be investigated by an Animal Services Officer. The owner may also be subject to proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries including scarring, disfigurement, abrasions, sprains/strains, nerve damage, lacerations, puncture wounds, lost digits, tissue loss, cuts and gashes, infections including rabies, emotional distress, social embarrassment from scarring, fractured bones, crush injuries, and psychological trauma including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

[i] https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/columnists/dog-attacks-are-a-public-health-issue-and-should-be-treated-as-one/article30516631/

[ii] https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90d16

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