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Dog attack - who is liable?

March 8th, 2012, 10:17 AM
Question for everyone...

Dog A is on a leash on property that is not his own, but that the owner has been given permission to walk him on.

The owners of Dog B have permission as well to be on that property.

Dog B (not on a leash and owners nowhere to be found) runs up to Dog A and attacks him.

Who is responsible? It should be the owners of Dog B, because he wasn't on a leash and not on his own property....but what happens when you're on someone else's property?

Any input?

March 8th, 2012, 10:29 AM
I'd say the owners of Dog B since their dog was running at large and was the aggressor. If the dog is not under the control of an owner or caretaker and off his property, he's legally considered to be "running at large". Most municipalities have ordinances that cover dogs running at large.

March 8th, 2012, 11:09 AM
The owner of Dog 'B' would be responsible.

March 8th, 2012, 11:10 AM
I'd say this is a needs more info thing.

WHY are there 2 strange dogs on a property that is not their own?

Is this a kennel or boarding facility?

March 8th, 2012, 11:42 AM
It's a field/orchard that both people (being neighbours) have permission from the owner to walk, ride ATVs, etc on.

I figured Dog B would be responsible. Just wanted to put it out there because if the situation were to go to court - would there be an issue because TECHNICALLY it's not Dog A's property OR public property?

March 8th, 2012, 11:49 AM
I think dog B as well. Surely permission was for the OWNERS to be with their dogs on the property. Did either owner have permission in writing?

I'm very curious as I'm in a similar situation. Several neighbouring property owners have given me permission to walk their land and the dog can be off leash. They have given other neighbours permission too but I think, don't know for sure, but I think none of us has it in writing because none of us is hunting.

But I wonder in your case if one had permission in writing and the other didn't if that would skew things? I assume in the case you present there are injuries? Not bad I hope.

March 11th, 2012, 10:01 PM

Perhaps only a lawyer could really help you in this case...the law has so many twists and turns, that can be twisted and turned so many times over, it get's real complicated...

I would go for legal counsel right away.
As much as we who are not lawyers wish to help, it's always best to go to the pros in a case like this.

Best of luck, keep us posted.


March 20th, 2012, 11:36 AM
In Canada, I was told by a cop and a trainer that the Canadian Dog Owner Act states that a dog owner is responsible for ANY act of his dog, regardless of where the dog is. Even if the dog is in someone else's care, the owner is ultimately responsible for his dog's actions.

Now, someone clearly at fault always has the option of taking you to court anyway...

March 23rd, 2012, 11:02 AM
Law student here! I'm in law school in the US, but this is common law, and since US common law is derived from UK's, just as Canada common law is, it's going to be nearly identical.

Dog B's owners are liable. It doesn't matter that both the dogs were on someone else's property - especially because they both had permission to be there. If Dog A had permission but Dog B didn't, that would change things. Otherwise with these facts it's always going to be Dog B's owners that are liable.

It's possible that there is some joint liability - but if Dog A's owners are liable for anything it would be really small - like under 15%. That's just if a court decides that Dog A's owners were assuming some risk by walking their dog on property where they knew other dogs might be unsupervised.

But I think Dog B's owners are liable for 100% of damages. They weren't supervising, their dog wasn't leashed, their dog initiated.