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Bite Law in Canada

rosebury29
February 25th, 2008, 11:53 AM
If an intruder climbs over your fence into your private fenced yard or breaks into your house and gets bitten by your dog are you liable? I mean the dog is doing its job and they have trespassed.
I understand if someone got bitten when I'm walking my dog then I'd be liable or if he was off his leash, etc.
Anyone know?
We have a new puppy and I'd like to know the laws on this one. I'm in Ontario, Canada.

clm
February 25th, 2008, 01:00 PM
It would depend a lot on what municipality you are in too, so if you're in Mississauga, check the Mississauga city by-law site, if toronto, same thing.

Cindy

clm
February 25th, 2008, 01:02 PM
I'm not sure if there's a general site to ask legal questions for ontario either, but it might be worth surfing around to see. Just make sure it's Canadian info you get back as it'll be different than the US laws.

Cindy

Kashi
February 25th, 2008, 01:10 PM
Dog Bite Law (http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/Ontario.htm)

A significant difference between Ontario law and the usual dog bite strict liability statute in the United States is that there is no automatic exemption for trespassers. Trespassers are not mentioned in the Dog Owners Liability Act. The Act is the only law that provides liability. "Where damage is caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog on the premises of the owner, the liability of the owner is determined under this Act and not under the Occupiers' Liability Act." R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 3 (1).

That's the first site I stumbled upon - I'm looking to see if I can find anything more up to date.

Kashi
February 25th, 2008, 01:20 PM
DOLA facts (http://dlcc.sbmprodos.org/dolafact.pdf)

rosebury29
February 25th, 2008, 01:46 PM
Well, I'd hope someone climbing over our fence would be first scared off by barking/growling. But, if someone breaks into our home or someone attacks me at night on the street and the dog defends it would be terrible if the law was on the side of the criminal/rapist.

BusterKitty
February 25th, 2008, 05:15 PM
Well, I don't know about Ontario either but have you seen any of those animal miracle shows? SOme of them are like intruder comes and dog defends the owner by biting(or something) the intruder...I hope the owners won't be liable though:shrug:

Byrd
February 25th, 2008, 06:22 PM
From what I've heard this is true, just like if someone breaks into your house and you shoot them, you can be charged with murder, someone jumps your fence and breaks their leg, they can sue you for bodily harm. Sucks don't it.

I do know for a fact that if your own dog bites you and you need stitches (this happened to me, accidentally while playing tug) if you go to the hospital lie, lie, lie about how you got hurt, Public Health can come in and confine your dog for 10 days even if you have proof of your vaccines and it's your own dog!!!!

Rottielover
February 25th, 2008, 06:38 PM
I was once told by a former police officer that if my dog bites someone who is breaking into my house, the dog better kill him, if not I can lose everything.

jiorji
February 25th, 2008, 06:43 PM
I do know for a fact that if your own dog bites you and you need stitches (this happened to me, accidentally while playing tug) if you go to the hospital lie, lie, lie about how you got hurt, Public Health can come in and confine your dog for 10 days even if you have proof of your vaccines and it's your own dog!!!!

out of curiosity....i HAVE to ask :o...but what did you say??

Kashi
February 25th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Oh - and another tidbit from a police officer (an uncle of my hubby) - do NOT ever, under any circumstance, post a "Beware of Dog" sign on your property.

Why ?

Because if you are posting a warning about your dog, you are already admitting that you know it's dangerous / aggressive. And it can, and will, be used against you.

CyberKitten
February 25th, 2008, 07:40 PM
As some of you know, my bf is a lawyer tho his area is immigration. We were discussing this one evening with friends and with my brother whose lovable chocolate lab ias more likely to lick someone rather than bite them but one never knows (It may be different were an intruder to attack the small children he has!!). This is the law in Ontario at any rate but not all provinces are alike.

Copied from a statute explanation:


The Dog Owners Liability Act provides that, "The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal." R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 1.

The dog owner is not only liable in damages, but also may be convicted of a crime and fined. "The owner of a dog shall exercise reasonable precautions to prevent it from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal." 2000, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 6. If a person fails to exercise such precautions, he or she may be found "guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding $5,000." 2000, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 6.

There is no requirement that the dog previously bit another person. "The liability of the owner does not depend upon knowledge of the propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner, but the court shall reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree, if any, to which the fault or negligence of the plaintiff caused or contributed to the damages." R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 2 (3).

A significant difference between Ontario law and the usual dog bite strict liability statute in the United States is that there is no automatic exemption for trespassers. Trespassers are not mentioned in the Dog Owners Liability Act. The Act is the only law that provides liability. "Where damage is caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog on the premises of the owner, the liability of the owner is determined under this Act and not under the Occupiers' Liability Act." R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 3 (1).

Another difference between Ontario law and many US dog bite statutes is that the former does not automatically exempt a criminal. "Where a person is on premises with the intention of committing, or in the commission of, a criminal act on the premises and incurs damage caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog, the owner is not liable under section 2 unless the keeping of the dog on the premises was unreasonable for the purpose of the protection of persons or property." R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 3 (2).

In addition to awarding a judgment for damages, a court may issue orders pertaining to the control or euthanasia of the dog. "If, in a proceeding under subsection (1), the court finds that the dog has bitten or attacked a person or
domestic animal, and the court is satisfied that an order is necessary for the protection of the public, the court
may order, (a) that the dog be destroyed in the manner specified in the order; or (b) that the owner of the dog take the measures specified in the order for the more effective control of the dog. 2000, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 6.

I am also told some homeowners' insurance cover dog bites but given the way policies change, U would check one's policy - I am no insurance expert and neither is my husband to be! An intriging stat he came up with in researching this info for someone was that an unaltered dog is three times more likely to bite. No reasons were provided.

In Canada, one cannot expect to shoot someone on one's property even if they are stealing stuff and get away with it. If I shoot you when you are breaking into my home, I am the one more likely to end up in jail. I recall my dad saying citing this after their Florida home had been broken into - that he now understood why his American neighbours felt the way they did and we had different laws. There was a recent case in Fredericton, NB where a storekeeper shot at some young thugs who broke into his store to prevent them from hurting him and stealing. HE was charged!! The publicity of the case against an elderly man gave him some leverage and he ended up with a fine or some smaller item (I forget exactly) but the laws re guns are significantly different between Canada and the US!!

L, my beloved told me the following (and this is as brief as I can get it, sorry!)

Ontario seems to have the strictest law- probably because of that legislation introduced re pitties (sigh!). There are some figures laid out in some complex form (actuaries at work likely, lol) re Ont's “Dog Owners Liability Act” which asserts that “the court shall reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree, if any, to which the fault or negligence of the plaintiff caused or contributed to the damages. It also says that “an owner who is liable to pay damages … is entitled do recover contribution and indemnity from any other person in proportion to the degree which the other person’s fault or
negligence caused or contributed to the damages”. In one case, even the fact a person ran from the dog lessened the amt charged to the dog owner by 40 per cent - a fact I found interesting.In a Manitoba case (Whitman v Johnson (1991), a 75% contribution was applied when someone was warned not to pet the dog, then failed to back off when a dog growled. In the case of minors (children), often, the full penalty in applied, even when the child petted the dog without permission - another reason to closely supervise children and dogs. Judges and juries it seems have little leeway for that situation. There were a few cases where the person mauled or injured was gien a 100% liability (ie the owner paid nothing)when the person attacked entered the dog's area or living area - like pen or behind the fence where the dog is usually kept tho that again raises the issue of peple who cruelly keep dogs on a leash for long periods of time in all kinds of weather. (But that's another issue entirely!)

Often municipal laws are given more precedence than the provincial laws but only if the community in question has a well written and clearly delineated dog leash law. In New Brunswick in 1993, in Davis v Markey , a dog was running loose (contrary to a bylaw), and the plaintiff,apparently upset at this, failed to prove negligence or prior propensity when bitten.


He suggests the booklet "That’s Not My Dog”, an article by Krista Prockiw of Clark Wilson, a Vancouver law firm. Ownership is another issue that can make a case unclear before the courts. He (my guy) says there are three principles of common law to take into account:t liability, (usually dependent on local bylaws if they exist. If none, provincial law takes over), scienter (knowledge of propensity - the duty of care on behalf of the dog owner and finally, negligence.

The final law of course is the dangerous breeds law which can out the bal squarely in the court of the person who owns the dog and this CBC site was recommended to me. I feel like a typist here, providing info - hope it helps!

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/health/dangerousdogs/bylaws.html