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  • Writer's pictureNaresh Misir

Comprehensive Guide on Dog Bites and Animal Attacks in Toronto

Essential Steps for Immediate Medical Care, Legal Advice, and Rehabilitating Your Pet

Dog bites and animal attacks are distressing events that can lead to serious injuries and emotional trauma, especially for families with children. Understanding what to do immediately after a bite, the legal implications, and how to rehabilitate your pet are crucial steps to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved ones and your pet. This guide provides comprehensive information on handling dog bites and animal attacks in Toronto, focusing on immediate actions, legal advice, and long-term solutions for rehabilitation and trust-building.

Immediate Medical Attention

What to Do Immediately After a Dog Bite or Attack

If you or a family member is bitten by a dog, it's essential to act quickly to minimize the risk of infection and further injury. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Clean the Wound: Immediately wash the bite or wound with soap and water for at least 15 minutes to remove any bacteria.

  • Apply Antiseptic: Use an antiseptic solution to disinfect the area.

  • Bandage the Wound: Cover the wound with a clean bandage to protect it from dirt and bacteria.

  • Seek Medical Attention: Visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible, even if the wound seems minor. In cases of severe injuries, call 911 for emergency assistance.

When to Call 911

Certain situations require immediate medical attention:

  • The bite has caused severe bleeding that doesn't stop after applying pressure.

  • The wound is deep, and muscles, tendons, or bones are exposed.

  • The bite is on the face, neck, or hands.

  • The person bitten is showing signs of shock, such as pale skin, dizziness, or fainting.

Gathering Information

After ensuring the wound is taken care of, gather essential information:

  • Dog Owner's Details: Get the name, address, and contact information of the dog owner.

  • Witness Information: Collect contact details of anyone who witnessed the incident.

  • Dog's Medical History: If possible, obtain information about the dog's vaccination status, particularly rabies vaccination.

Legal Consequences and Remedies

Understanding the Legal Implications of Dog Bites in Toronto

Common Law Remedies

In Toronto, dog owners can be held legally responsible for injuries their pets cause. The main legal remedies available are based on negligence and scienter:

  • Negligence: This applies if the dog owner did not take reasonable steps to prevent the bite, such as properly restraining the dog or warning others of the dog's aggressive tendencies.

  • Scienter: This legal principle holds the owner strictly liable if they knew or should have known that their dog was likely to cause harm.

Potential Legal Actions

Dog bite incidents can result in both civil and criminal consequences:

  • Criminal Charges: In severe cases, criminal charges may be filed against the dog owner, which could lead to fines or imprisonment.

  • Civil Liability: Victims of dog bites can file a lawsuit against the dog owner to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How to Protect Yourself

If your dog bites someone, take these steps to protect yourself legally:

  • Secure the Dog: Ensure your dog is restrained to prevent further incidents.

  • Document the Incident: Write down all details of the incident, including what led up to the bite and any actions taken afterward.

  • Contact a Lawyer: Seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities.

Assessing the Safety of Keeping the Dog

Should You Keep Your Dog After It Bites Someone?

Deciding whether to keep a dog that has bitten someone is a challenging decision. Consider these factors:

  • Severity of the Bite: If the bite was minor and did not cause serious injury, it might be possible to manage the dog's behavior with proper training.

  • Provocation: Assess whether the dog was provoked or if the bite was uncharacteristic behavior.

  • Dog's Health: Check if the dog was ill or in pain, which might have caused the aggressive behaviour.

Safety Strategies

If you decide to keep the dog, implement these strategies to ensure safety:

  • Supervise Interactions: Always supervise interactions between the dog and family members, especially children.

  • Training and Socialization: Enroll your dog in a professional training program to address aggressive behavior.

  • Safety Measures: Use muzzles and leashes in public places to prevent further incidents.

When to Consider Rehoming

In some cases, rehoming might be the best option:

  • Repeated Aggression: If the dog has a history of biting or aggressive behavior.

  • Inability to Manage: If you are unable to manage the dog's behavior despite training efforts.

  • Family Safety: Prioritize the safety of your family, particularly if you have young children.

Trust and Rehabilitation

Rebuilding Trust and Rehabilitating a Dog That Has Bitten

Rehabilitating a dog that has bitten someone requires patience and professional help:

  • Professional Training: Work with a certified dog trainer or behaviourist to address the underlying causes of aggression.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behaviour and reduce stress.

  • Consistency: Be consistent with training routines and commands to build trust and understanding.

Professional Help

Seeking professional help can make a significant difference:

  • Behaviourists: Animal behaviourists can provide in-depth analysis and customized training plans.

  • Veterinarians: Ensure your dog is in good health, as medical issues can contribute to aggressive behaviour.

Long-term Trust Building

Building long-term trust with your dog involves:

  • Patience and Care: Spend quality time with your dog to rebuild the bond and create positive experiences.

  • Clear Communication: Improve communication with your dog to understand their signals and prevent stress.

  • Regular Check-ups: Keep up with regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog's health and behaviour.


Dog bites and animal attacks can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and actions, families can manage the situation effectively. Prioritize immediate medical care, understand the legal implications, and consider the safety and rehabilitation of your pet. If you need legal or medical advice, don't hesitate to contact professionals.

Need Legal Advice on Dog Bites and Animal Attacks in Toronto? Contact Misir & Company at 416.865.6274 or visit for professional legal assistance.


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