As a dog owner, you may not want to even think about the possibility of your dog inflicting harm upon another human being. However, it does happen. Quite frequently, even. And yes, oftentimes the dog’s owner is absolutely shocked by their pet’s actions, especially when they have never shown any previous signs of violent behavior. While priority number one should always be the victim and their injuries, at the back of your head you will likely be wondering who will be held liable for your dog’s actions? Is it you, the owner?

The One-Bite Rule

In Canada, the One-Bite Rule has been put in place in an effort to provide fairness to the dog owners. According to this rule, the owner will only be held accountable for the dog’s inflicted injuries if their pet has shown previous signs of violence. So, if the dog has a history of attempting to attack or otherwise harm others, then their owner will be held wholly accountable for their pet’s inflicted injuries.


Another major factor is provocation. If it can be proven that the dog only attacked as the result of being provoked by the victim, then neither the owner, nor the dog will be held legally accountable. This is especially true for situations in which the victim posed a threat to the dog’s or their owner’s safety which resulted in the dog’s self-defense instincts kicking in.

Dog Owner’s Liability Act

Ontario has a series of liability laws on the matter of dog attacks which strictly determine that the owner is to be held legally accountable under most circumstances. In most cases, it is thus upon the owner to compensate the victim for inflicting injuries and other losses. Ontario is also in of the provinces in which it does not matter whether the dog has a history of violence or not. As a dog bite victim, you are entitled to receive compensation and if there is any delay or denial, it is best to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer in Burlington. They understand all aspects of filing and representing the claim and can actually help you get a better deal than what you will get when you self-represent.

However, Ontario also has specific laws which dictate that the person who was handling the dog at the time is to be held liable, regardless of whether they are the legal owner or not. Whether it be a spouse, a dog walker, a friend, or relative – if they did not try to stop the attack or regain control of the dog, they will be held liable.