Even though the legislation on the territory of the province of Ontario would usually take a social approach of regulation, the Dog Owner’s Liability Act is one which takes a turn and offers quite stringent stipulation. It was thoroughly enacted back on the 31st of December in 1990 and it hasn’t been changed ever since. This is something that should tell you that the legislation is one that manages to serve the purpose of society and to offer an approach which is permanent and sustainable.
Liability in a dog bite case
However, the liability set forth might be rather questionable to say the least. The truth is that the Dog Owner’s Liability Act sets fort incredibly strict liability. The provisions stipulate that every owner of a dog is responsible for all sorts of damages caused by an attack of their domestic animal to a human or other domestic animal, regardless of the fact whether or not the owner was present at the attack. While the premises are agreeable, the practical side of the matter remains rather questionable and probably a bit ambiguous. Is such strict liability really the right convention and does it truly protects the interests of both sides? There are different hypothesis that could be discussed that would usually exclude the responsibility of the person responsible for the actions of a third party, if we assume that the dog could be considered as such. For instance, the victim could have posed a danger to the animal or to the premises of the owner while the dog itself could have acted upon his instincts of self-preservation or to serve its purposes of a guardian animal.
These questions are attempted to be resolved later on in the act as the legislative authority sets out to balance the matter by introducing the institute of contributory negligence. This is a situation which gives right to the owner to claim contribution on behalf of the injured. He will have to prove that he’s the one that caused the attack by posing a threat to the dog, irritating it on purpose or posing general threat to the premises.
However, there are a lot of questions that could have been asked and the answer would remain only within the honest word of the injured. How can one prove that the victim contributed to the attack? Even though the injured could be asked directly, he could instantly call upon his rights against self incrimination and that would render the entire case mute. This is why it might be rather useful to take some things into thorough consideration and to revise some of the provisions which might in fact be questionable. Regardless, the legislation is stable and it seems to fit the demand of the masses. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, your lawyer will be able to assist and represent your rights by suing the dog’s owner.