For your precious pooch, trips to the dog park can be a weekly highlight. Chasing tails, competitive fetch, and sniffing new scents make off leash parks ideal places for owners to stop by on their daily dog walks to help socialize their pet. However, things can go south quickly if owners fail to monitor their dog’s activity and temperament.
You see, dogs are mans best friend – until they’re not. A dog bite, whether the victim is a human or another dog, can be extremely painful to deal with depending on the severity and location of the attack.
If you’re planning on heading to the dog park anytime in the near future, be sure to brush up on everything you need to know about dog bite liability:
Don’t Rule your Pup Out
Don’t think your dog will bite another dog or stranger at the off-leash park? Canada sees 500,000 dog bites each year, and all of those offending pups were certainly just as beloved to their owners as your animal is to you.
Unfortunately, most people do not understand the responsibilities they have as dog owners, and the legal troubles that they can face if their canine bites. Even the most well-behaved and diligently trained dogs can pose a risk – as humans can never fully understand the behaviour of animals when they’re placed in unfamiliar territory.
Regardless of whether or not your dog is always on his or her best behaviour around loved ones, always be aware that things can take a turn for the worse when owners become too lax about supervision.
Know your Responsibilities
If your dog bites another dog or owner, and there were witnesses to the event, the victim has the right to phone animal services. If contact is made, animal services job will then be to find out whether or not your dog is “vicious or dangerous.” This definition could mean any of the following:
- A dog that has attacked, bitten, or caused injury to a person or has demonstrated a propensity, tendency, or disposition to do so.
- A dog that, while running at large, has aggressively pursued or harassed a person.
- A dog that, while running at large, has aggressively pursued or harassed a domestic animal.
- A dog with a known propensity to attack or injure a person without provocation.
However, if your animal is found to be a threat, it doesn’t mean you will be ordered to put it down. In some locations, dog bite cases result in public muzzling rulings for the animal.
The Reality of Legal Proceedings
Although Ontario used to judge cases based on the “one bite” rule, that allowed dogs one bite before their owner could be found negligent, things have changed dramatically.
The Dog Owner’s Liability Act in Ontario rules that proving owner negligence is not required of dog bite victims when seeking compensation for their injuries. However, if your dog has bitten someone, the liabilities you may be asked to pay can vary depending on whether your canine was provoked or teased by the victim.
At the end of the day, domesticated animals rarely attack unless they feel threatened. Before taking your dog to the park, it’s imperative that they are already adequately socialized with other dogs and animals to ensure they don’t become overwhelmed and fearful when faced with a plethora of new furry faces. Even once the dog park is part of your basic routine, stay diligent and never take your eyes off your pet.
If you or your pet has been attacked at the dog park, seeking compensation for medical expenses can be an important step on the path to full recovery.
If you have been injured, and need legal assistance, call #1000 on your cell phone for free. We will offer you a free claim assessment.