Dog Bites

Dog Owners' Liability Act

This Act makes dog owners liable for any damage caused by dog bites to persons or domestic animals. Dogs that attack or pose a nusance to the safety of persons or domestic animals An application is made to the Court may order destruction of the dog or provide better control of the dog by making an order with conditions such as ensuring the dog is on a leash, muzzled, confined to a secure area, warning signs, or prohibition from owning a dog for a certain time.The Occupier's Liability Act does not apply when a person is attacked or bitten on the owner of the property where the dog is housed. The Provicial Offences Act applies to any prosecution.The Act also provides for the banning of Pit Bulls in Ontario. The Act goes to great length to define a -"pit bull". It also bars breeding, importing, or transferring of pit bull in Ontario. There are grandfather clauses for pit bulls in the province before 2005. This makes the dog a "restricted pit bull" thaty must be muzzled, leashed, and sterilized. An offence under this part can provide for a fine up to $10,000.00 and/or 6 months in jail. If any puppies they must be surrendered.

There are 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada. In North America there are 80 million dogs as companions. There are 4.5 million dog bites in the US.

Animal Legal and Historical Center – Dangerous Dogs in Canadian Law (August 2009)

 

Ottawa BY-LAW NO. 2003 - 77

27 No owner of a dog shall permit the dog to bite or attack without provocation a person or domestic animal.


28 Where the Director is informed upon complaint and confirms that a dog is vicious, the Director shall serve notice upon the owner of the vicious dog requiring the owner to comply with any or all of the requirements set out in Sections29 and 30 of the by-law upon receipt of such notice to comply.


29 Every owner of a vicious dog shall at all times when the vicious dog is not in the owner's dwelling unit but, otherwise within the boundaries of the owner's premises, ensure that:

(a) the vicious dog is muzzled so as to prevent it from biting a person or domestic animal, (

b) the vicious dog is securely leashed on a leash which does not allow it to go beyond the property line of the owner's lands, and

(c) the vicious dog is contained within an enclosed area, including a fence of an appropriate height for the breed of dog, or in a manner such that the vicious dog is unable to come into contact with persons or other animals.

 

30 Every owner of a vicious dog shall at all times when the vicious dog is not within the boundaries of the owner's premises,

(a) keep the vicious dog under the effective control of a person sixteen (16) years of age or older and under leash, such leash not to exceed two (2 m) metres in length, and

(b) keep the vicious dog muzzled.


31 Every owner of a vicious dog shall notify the Director within two (2) working days of any change in ownership or residence of the vicious dog and provide the Director with the new address and telephone number of the owner.


32 Where the owner of a vicious dog is informed that he or she must comply with Sections 29 and 30 of the by-law, the owner is entitled to a hearing by the Animal Control Tribunal who may exempt the owner from the muzzling or leashing requirement, or both such requirements.


33 Where the owner of a vicious dog requests in writing to the Director a hearing by the Animal Control Tribunal, (

a) within fourteen (14) days of receiving the notice to comply, or

(b) at any time after the Animal Control Tribunal has confirmed the muzzling or leashing requirement, or both, if the circumstances respecting the vicious dog have changed, the Director shall advise the Committee Coordinator to the Animal Control Tribunal of the request for a hearing and obtain a hearing date.


34 Upon determination of the hearing date, the Director shall give notice in writing to the owner of the vicious dog, said notice to:

(a) include a statement,

(i) as to the time, date, place and purpose of the hearing, and

(ii) that if the owner of a vicious dog does not attend the hearing the Tribunal may proceed in his or her absence and he or she will not be entitled to any further notice, and

(b) be served personally or by registered mail to the owner of a vicious dog at his or her address last on file with the Director.


35 (1) The Animal Control Tribunal shall hold the hearing pursuant to the provisions of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter S.22, as amended at the time, date and place set out in the notice to comply.

(2) The City shall be represented at the hearing by either the Director or the City Solicitor, or the assistant who is entitled to adduce evidence and submit argument.

(3) The owner of the vicious dog may, at the hearing,

      (a) be represented by counsel or an agent,

      (b) call and examine witnesses and present his or her arguments and submissions, and

      (c) conduct cross-examination of witnesses reasonably required for a full and fair disclosure.

(4) The Animal Control Tribunal may:

      (a) exempt the owner of the vicious dog from the muzzling or leashing requirement, or both, or

      (b) confirm the muzzling or leashing requirement, or both.

(5) The Animal Control Tribunal shall give its decision in writing to the Director within seven (7) days of the date of the completion of the hearing.

(6) The Director, in receipt of the decision referred to in subsection (5), shall forthwith notify the owner of the vicious dog of the decision by serving a copy personally or by registered mail to:

     (a) the owner of the vicious dog at the address last known to the Director, or

     (b) the counsel or agent of the owner of the vicious dog, if any, at his or her address as stated to the Animal Control Tribunal.

(7) All hearings shall be public hearings unless the owner of a vicious dog requests that the hearing be held in camera and the Animal Control Tribunal may approve the request by a simple majority.

(8) The Animal Control Tribunal's decision shall be final and binding. 36 Sections 27 to 35 inclusive shall not apply to police working dogs during the course of fulfilling their duties.