No evidence risk created by number of dogs at property

Ontario civil | Animals

LIABILITY OF OWNER

No evidence risk created by number of dogs at property

Infant plaintiff was attacked by dogs owned by defendant grandmother. Defendant grandmother was dog breeder and had nine dogs. Township advised defendant grandmother that keeping nine dogs on property contravened by-law. Dogs were removed from premises and number of dogs were destroyed. Infant plaintiff brought action for compensation for damages suffered. Plaintiffs had judgment against defendant grandmother for amounts agreed upon less 25% for contributory negligence of infant plaintiff. Claim against township was dismissed. Dog owner was strictly liable for actions of dogs. There was finding of liability against dog owner for attack. There was no reliance by infant plaintiff, mother or grandmother on township to ensure infant plaintiff was safe in presence of dogs. Township would not have believed plaintiff was relying on township for protection from potential harm arising from presence of dogs. Township had by-law as to number of dogs permitted on property but had no ability to remove dogs or to impose other conditions on presence of dogs. There was no evidence risk was created by number of dogs at property. Fact there were multiple dogs at property did not lead to conclusion attack was foreseeable. Relationship between infant plaintiff and township did not give rise to duty of care. Infant plaintiff disobeyed rules regarding dogs and was deemed 25% contributorliy negligent. Mother was not negligent in allowing children to spend weekend with grandmother. Counterclaim against mother was dismissed. Dog owner’s counterclaim was dismissed. Township and plaintiffs were not negligent or played role in seizure of dogs and dog owner led no evidence to prove value of loss of dogs.

Kent (Litigation Guardian of) v. Laverdiere
(Sep. 16, 2011, Ont. S.C.J., Wilson J., File No. 03-CV-259012CM2) 208 A.C.W.S. (3d) 228 (34 pp.).

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