What You Need to Know

The Dog Owners Liability Act applies to everyone, including you, if you have a dog in your care.  Even if it is not your dog, if it is in your care, you are responsible.

Linda Spencer has written a good synopsis of what you need to know about the DOLA (Dog Owners Liability Act):

There is a lot about breed specific regulations.  However, it is also about dogs and their owners’ responsibilities under the law no matter what breed or mixed breed of dog you own.   This is a must read for any dog owner and we need to bring attention to the law as STDOA promotes responsible dog ownership.

Owner of a dog under DOLA is defined as:
owner”, when used in relation to a dog, includes a person who possesses or harbours the dog and, where the owner is a minor, the person responsible for the custody of the minor (“propriétaire”)

What I found interesting, in this term of an owner is that even if I have my neighbour’s dog out for a walk, and the dog attacks someone, I am financially responsible for its action as I had control or possession of the dog at the time of the incident, and not my neighbour who owns the dog as the dog was under my control at the time.

Further, if my minor child is in possession of my neighbour’s dog and there is an incident causing harm, I am also held responsible.

Civil Liability

Liability of owner

2. (1) The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal. R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 2 (1).

Civil Liability clearly states if your dog causes damage to another person, dog or any domestic animal, get your cheque book out ….you must pay for any injury it has caused.  You can try to fight paying these charges in court which adds legal fees.   In the end the law is clear, you are going to pay for any and all vet or medical treatment for an injury caused by your dog.

For more information the official website is http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90d16_e.htm.

The St. Thomas Dog Owners Association is a non-profit organization that promotes off leash dog parks and supports responsible dog ownership and the welfare of dogs.