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Dog Bites: Who Is Responsible?

A recent article published by describes a family in Winnipeg whose five-year-old daughter was attacked by two dogs belonging to a neighbour. While that situation is governed by the laws of Manitoba, it illustrates that a dog bite can occur in even the simplest of circumstances.

In Ontario, the Dog Owners' Liability Act says that the liability of any dog bites rests on the owners of the dog. However, what this means exactly, and how it may apply to your situation can be better described by a legal professional.

Dogs are generally viewed as man's best friend. But from time to time, they may experience something that causes them to act out, and bite someone standing by. In these situations, the law states that it's the dog's owner who is liable for any injury suffered by another person.

While most people think that if a dog bites, it's a violent animal, that is a generalization. According to an article posted on the Ontario SPCA website, dogs are similar to humans in that they have bad days as well.

While a dog having a "bad day" does not excuse the animal from harming another person, it's worth understanding the other side of the argument, especially if the situation escalates to a court room. Some precautions suggested on the site include being cautious about approaching or petting dogs you are not familiar with. Also, rough play, and disturbing meals are other situations that may cause a dog to react, sometimes violently if necessary. A dog may not understand that someone is playing with them, and may react in a protective yet defensive manner.

If you have been injured by a dog, or are the owner of a dog who has injured another person, it's best to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to identify the legal options you have at your disposal to resolve any issues.

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