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Dog Bite Liability

If you own a dog, you know that one of the most important things is training it well, which includes doing everything you can to ensure that it will not harm another dog or a person. If your dog does bite someone, it can leave the victim with long lasting injuries and emotional effects.

In Ontario, animals are considered to be the property of people, so the owner of an animal is liable for the injuries caused by that animal. And contrary to what you might think, your liability may not be covered under your house insurance. Some insurance companies won’t cover injuries by dogs that they consider to be high risk, such as pit bulls, German shepherds and rottweilers. Other companies will cover those breeds, but only if you inform them first that you own one. Contact your insurance company if you purchase or rescue a dog so you can be sure that you are covered.

If your dog bites someone, the first thing you should do is make sure that they are OK, and offer to get them medical attention. That person could be eligible to collect damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost income.

The best thing to do is to prevent a dog bite from happening in the first place. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Never leave a baby or child alone with a dog.

Never pet or give a treat to a dog you don’t know well.

Take your dog to obedience training so it learns how to be well-behaved in a variety of situations around all kinds of people.

Keep your dog on a leash at all times when on walks.

Avoid situations that you know might make your dog anxious, and if you see any signs of aggression in your dog, remove it from the situation immediately.

By being aware of your responsibilities as a dog owner, and taking a few simple steps to prevent aggression, you can keep your pet and the people it encounters safe and sound.