What is the Liability of the Dog Owner?

Strictly speaking, the municipalities of Ontario are responsible for the overall animal control in the province. This means that if a person has a particular complaint about the dog of someone else, he should contact the local office of animal control and make his case. However, if the situation is an emergency, he should consider contacting the police.

However, if someone is bitten by a dog, for instance, he has the full right to sue the owner of said dogs for the damages that he had incurred. It won’t much matter if the person who owns the dog is negligent, at fault or, in fact, has any knowledge of the occurrence of the dog bit. If the lawsuit is held successfully and the court orders him to pay the damages, he’d have to do so regardless of anything else. On top of all that, there are also additional precautions that have to be taken into thorough consideration – the owner has to put a lead or a muzzle on the dog or said dog is going to be legally destroyed, which is basically the worst case scenario.

Additionally, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act of Ontario makes every single dog owner responsible for the damages which are caused by bites of his dog to another person or to other domestic animals. In fact, if the case is serious enough, the victim might file an application to the court, requiring the dog to be destroyed or euthanized if it’s considered severely vicious. The court is also entitled to order the owner of the dog to exercise extreme precaution by putting the dog on a tight leash, getting it muzzled or confined to a strictly secure area with particular and clear warning signs. The court can also prohibit the dog owner to own a dog for a specific period of time if found appropriate.

Prohibition on pit bulls

There is also an interesting provision in the Dog Owners’ Liability Act of Ontario which specifically prohibits pit bulls from being imported, bred or even transferred throughout the province. However, if you’ve owned a pit bull prior to 2005 you don’t have to worry as those animals are exempt from the provision. In any case, you are allowed to have a restricted pit bull which has to be thoroughly leashed, sterilized and muzzled. An offence of these regulations can just as well result in a severe penalty of up to $10,000 and even jail time of up to 6 months. The state takes this restriction seriously as pit bulls are considered to be more dangerous than other dogs due to the nature of their bite and their overall temperament. In any case, the regulations are thorough and extensive and easy to follow.

Thus, as a dog owner, you need to be conversant with the current laws and regulations so that you are not caught off. This will help you stay protected and others too.

We proudly serve the residents in the Mississauga, Brampton and Burlington areas. If you want a personal injury lawyer that represents your best interests, we’d love to review your case and give a free consultation. Contact us today!

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