We love our dogs. In fact, for most of us, our pets are members of our families and many of us treat our dogs like children. For some dog “parents”, they have a hard time believing that beloved Fido could cause harm. But we Chatham injury lawyers have seen far too many cases where dog bites and attacks have caused irreparable damage to the victim.
Bites Happen Frequently
Dog bites happen much more frequently than you may imagine. Even if your dog may seem docile and sweet, there may be triggers that cause it to act in unexpected ways. Each year, millions of bites go on record and, of those, nearly twenty percent require some form of medical intervention.
The Responsibility of a Dog Owner
As dog owners, all of us need to be aware of our responsibilities as owners. It’s important to understand your legal liability as a dog owner in Ontario should your darling be the dog that bites someone.
As owners, we are responsible for the proper care of our dogs ensuring that they are happy, healthy, and properly trained. These are proactive measures to ensure that your dog does not act aggressively. Even so, any dog is capable of acting aggressively in given circumstances or when feeling threatened.
Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act sets out your responsibilities as a dog owner. Under this act, as the owner, you are liable for injuries and any damages that your dog may cause to another. This also extends to if your dog bites or injures someone else’s pet or another domestic animal. Even if it is found that the victim acted in a provoking way toward your dog, you can still be held liable.
This act also regulates certain breeds of dogs that have been regarded as aggressive. For instance, in the case of pit bulls, you are not allowed to own one in Ontario unless you owned it prior to the regulation going into effect. If your pit bull has been grandfathered, you then have the added obligation of making sure it is sterilized and muzzled at all times when outside your property.
What to Do After Your Dog Bites Someone
If your dog has bitten someone, the first thing you must do it restrain it. Provide first aid to the victim or call for medical assistance. Be understanding and cooperative and provide the victim with any contact information as well as your dog’s vaccination and health records. Understand that the victim of a dog bite or attack has very real legal rights and can bring a claim against you as the dog’s owner.
What a Lawyer Looks At
A dog bite claim will look at various factors to determine eligibility. A Chatham personal injury lawyer representing a dog bite victim will consider the nature and extent of injuries, what medical care was necessary, and whether future medical care may be needed. The lawyer will look at any economic losses suffered by the victim and the long-term implications. As a dog owner, you may be responsible for any of it.
If you are the owner of a dog that has bitten someone or have been the victim of a dog bite, you have rights under the law. Call an experienced dog bite lawyer. At AB Injury Law, we offer a no-cost consultation to advise you of your legal rights after a dog bite.