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While no pet owner wants their dog to cause a person injury, animals can sometimes behave erratically and bring serious injury to people. In these unfortunate circumstances, the owner is often held responsible for the actions of their dogs.

500,000 Canadians are bitten by dogs yearly, but biting isn’t the only way a dog can cause injury to a person. Scratching, jumping on, and running onto the road can cause serious injury and even death.

Is an owner liable if their dog injures someone?

Yes. If a dog attacks someone, the owner may be held liable for the actions of the dog if they do not take reasonable steps to control their dog. If a dog injures a person, they may be entitled to compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What kind of injuries can come from dogs?

Injuries caused by dog bites range in severity from minor lacerations to permanent disfigurement. The victim is often knocked down during the attack, and a significant number of people are injured in such an incident. These injuries vary in seriousness, from cuts and abrasions to fractures, dislocations, and nerve damage.

Are there laws in Atlantic Canada regarding dog bite injuries?

There are a variety of laws in Atlantic Canada that are relevant to dog bite cases, and they vary from province to province and even from municipality to municipality. For example, in Nova Scotia, the Municipal Government Act allows municipal governments the right to make bylaws respecting:

  • When and where dogs can run “At-large.”
  • Registering dogs
  • Requiring dog tags
  • Defining dangerous dogs
  • Prohibiting dogs that disturb the quiet of a neighbourhood.
  • Authorizing dog control officers to impound or destroy dogs if they are found in violation of bylaws.
  • Dog owners’ obligations to clean up after their pets.

What should I do if I have been bitten or attacked by a dog?

  1. Seek medical attention if necessary: It is important to address any injuries to reduce your risk of infection or reinjury. Additionally, seeking medical assistance creates documentation in case you need to make a claim to get compensated for your injuries.
  2. Document what happened: Take down detailed notes about the event: when it was, who the dog’s owner is, and exactly what happened. Also detail any injuries you sustained and how they may impact your work or personal life. These details are helpful if you do need to go to a lawyer afterwards. Memories can be unreliable, and it is best to have some documentation to look back on.
  3. Reach out to an injury lawyer: If you have been injured by a dog, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries. An experienced lawyer can help you get the compensation that you are entitled to.

Who is most at risk of becoming seriously injured from dog bites?

While a dog bite or attack can be dangerous for anyone, children, older adults, and people with pre-existing conditions can be particularly vulnerable. Anyone who may have difficulty evading or fending off an attack or risks serious reinjury could be severely impacted by a dog attack.

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MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.

If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.

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