I was at a public City park with my child when he was attacked by a dog. What are my rights?
As the mother of two young children and a frequent visitor of public parks, I am surprised by the number of dog owners who allow their dogs to run freely and unleashed in public areas which are heavily populated. If you or your child is attacked by a dog, you can sue the dog owner(s) for damages and expenses.
In Ontario, an owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on a person or other domestic animal. The liability of the dog owner does not depend on the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite or attack. So, even if the dog acted out of character, the owner will still be liable. This is what lawyers refer to as strict liability.
If you or a loved one is injured by a dog, you should obtain the name and address of the dog owner, take photographs of the injured area and keep all bills, receipts and other evidence of expenses arising from the attack. You should also immediately speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can provide you with advice specific to your case.