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Case Name Citation Summary
Bacon (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ryan   1995 CarswellSask 540   The child plaintiff was bitten on the face by a pitbull owned by the defendants, requiring reconstructive surgery and two days hospitalization and causing permanent scarring. The dog had bitten the owner's young son two weeks earlier while he played near the dog's food dish'; they contemplated having the dog euthanized but decided against it. The plaintiff's mother had heard about the bite incident but brought her daughter of the same age as the owner's son to visit, placing her on the floor where the dog bit her shortly after. The judge held that the defendants knew of the dog's propensity to bite young children but kept it ''at their peril" (suggesting strict liability or scienter, which was not however mentioned); such fault was sufficient to make the owners 2/3 liable for the child's $12,000 plastic surgery costs, pain and mental anguish. The plaintiff's mother was held 1/ contributorily liable for letting her child visit and play on the floor near the dog, knowing of its propensity.  
Bates (Guardian of) v. Horkoff   1991 CarswellAlta 229   The child plaintiff was at her daycare under appropriate supervision while in the playground when she was bitten on the hand by a neighbouring German Shepherd. The dog squeezed through an unmended gap in the fence and bit the child while she was on the swings; daycare staff were not negligent in supervising the children. While the dog had no history of biting, it was excitable and barked aggressively towards strangers outside the yard; the fence was in poor repair, but the owner had not thought it necessary to use the secure dog run that existed on his property. he was found negligent for not better securing and supervising the dog.  
Ferguson v. Birchmount Boarding Kennels Ltd.   2006 CarswellOnt 399  

In August 2002, plaintiffs’ dog escaped while being exercised at defendant-kennel’s boarding facility. Birchmount appeals from the judgment claiming the court applied the wrong standard of care, and that the court erred in law in awarding the plaintiffs damages for pain and suffering. The reviewing court found that the evidence would likely have led to the same conclusion regardless of whether a “bailment” standard was used. Further, this court was satisfied that the trial judge did not err in law or in fact in making findings and in awarding general damages where there was evidence that the plaintiffs experienced pain and suffering upon learning of the dog’s escape.

 
Fisher v. Liptak   1996CarswellAlta33   Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of  the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.  
Friesen v. Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals   2008 CarswellSask 438  

An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

 
Harvard College v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents)   2002 SCC 76  

The respondent applied for a patent on an invention entitled “transgenic animals”.  In its patent application, the respondent seeks to protect both the process by which the "oncomice" are produced and the end product of the process, i.e. the founder mice and the offspring whose cells contain the oncogene.  The process and product claims extend to all non‑human mammals.  The process claims were allowed by the Patent Examiner, while the product claims were rejected.  The appellant Commissioner confirmed the refusal of the product claims.  The Federal Court, Trial Division, dismissed the respondent’s appeal from the appellant’s decision.  At the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court held the appeal should be allowed. A higher life form is not patentable because it is not a “manufacture” or “composition of matter” within the meaning of “invention” in s. 2 of the Patent Act.

 
Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis   1997CarswellBC1957   The respondent Janota-Bzowska was an invited guest at the home of the appellant Lewises, where another guest (appellant Holtzman) had tied his Labrador dog outside; the dog lunged at the respondent, causing her to fall and break her finger. A trial court earlier found both dog-owner and home-owners liable to Janota-Bzowska under the doctrines of scienter (strict liabilty) and negligence. On appeal, the court held that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dog had a propensity to lunge at people, or that the owner knew of such propensity, although the dog was known to chase deer. However, this was not sufficient to allow recovery under scienter. On the issue of negligence, the court also held that the dog's behaviour being 'unexpected and out of character' showed no suggestion of a risk for which the owner had failed to take reasonable precautions, so there was no negligence shown.  
McAllister v. Wiegand   2009CarswellOnt189   The plaintiff, a 55-year old woman and recent acquaintance of the defendants, was bitten on the cheek by the defendant's bull mastiff dog, resulting in a spreading infection and loss of all her teeth. The plaintiff was an invited guest in the defendant's home where she had been on 3-4 prior occasions. There was a question over whether the incident arose when the plaintiff startled the dog from sleep by petting it while bending over it, or whether the dog had just awakened when it was petted and bit her. The court found that dog and plaintiff were familiar with each other and there was nothing provocative that should have caused the dog to retaliate. Thus according to Ontario's Dog Owner Liability Act, where owners are strictly or absolutely liable for their dogs' injuries to others, the defendants were strictly liable to the plaintiff for her injuries.  
Montier v. Hall   2002 CarswellAlta 156  

This is a Provincial Court Civil Claims appeal from an award to plaintiffs/respondents for $865.00 in veterinary expenses as against defendant/appellant. This matter arose out of the sale of a black female Belgian Sheepdog that was eventually euthanized by the respondents at four months of age, two months after it was purchased due to serious hereditary defects. The purchase agreement signed by respondents warranted the puppy against serious hereditary defects or illness until 25 months of age, but limited the damages to replacement of the puppy with another puppy. In affirming the award of damages, this court found that the contract does not specifically exclude compensation for veterinary expenses or for consequential damages; hence, it does not exclude liability by the supplier for the purchaser's veterinary expenses incurred as a result the defective dog.

 
Morsillo v. Migliano   1985 CarswellOnt 786   The child plaintiff Morsillo was attacked and bitten by a neighbour's pet German Shepherd, which tended to 'bark savagely' at local children, had bitten once before, and was kept in a secure fenced yard and only taken out on a leash and choke-chain. The boy was playing cops and robbers with the owner's son on the owner's front lawn, while the owner's teenaged daughter was taking the leashed dog to the garage, when it escaped and attacked. No provocation of the dog was proven so the owners were found strictly liable under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (which abrogates scienter in that province) and also liable in negligence, with no contributory negligence by the plaintiff; the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan was entitled to recover the costs of the plaintiff's care from the defendants.  
Prasad v. Wepruk   2004CarswellBC946  

Plaintiff Prasad, an elderly newpaper-deliverer, was attacked in the street by defendant owner Wepruk's usually chained guard-dog, which escaped due to a rusted chain. The court found the defendant strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter's subjective test: he knew the dog was aggressive, but kept it anyway and it harmed Prasad. He was also liable under the objective test for negligence, for not taking reasonable precautions to ensure the dog's chain was in good repair, in order to prevent foreseeable harm to others.  damages of $35,000 were awarded for Prasad's injuries and lost future earnings.

 
R. v. Baird   1994 CarswellNWT 58  

The defendant, George Baird, was charged on indictment that he caused bodily harm to Amelia Debogorski by criminal negligence stemming from his keeping of dangerous dogs. While the dogs self-evidently proved to be highly dangerous to the victim, there was little evidence of their prior dangerous intent simply because they ran at large. As a result, the court then found that there was reasonable doubt whether the danger was known and recognized by Mr. Baird prior to the attack. The court found that there insufficient proof to find that Baird acted with "wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.” The court also observed that while there may or may not have been civil negligence, this was not enough to sustain a conviction for criminal negligence.

 
R. v. McConkey   2008 CarswellAlta 156  

In this case, the defendants pleaded guilty to violations of the Animal Protection Act after a peace officer for the humane society found four dogs in distress due mainly to a lack of grooming. On appeal, the defendants did not contest the amount of the fines, but suggested that the court should consider the economic status of the defendants (both were on government assistance). The court found that the conduct of the defendant and the level of the distress experienced by the dogs over a long period of time was an aggravating factor in determining the fine. With regard to a Section 12(2) prohibition to restrain future animal ownership, the court was reluctant to inflict stress on the animals still residing at the home by removing them from their long-time home.

 
Richard v. Hoban   1970CarswellNB126  

The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.

 
Shelvey v. Bicknell   1996CarswellBC1131  

Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

 
Tulloch v. Melnychuk   1998 CarswellAlta 573  

In this case, the Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants for trespass to chattels. She alleged that the Defendants shot her valuable dog. The Defendants countered that they were justified in shooting the dog since it was on their land chasing and worrying their cattle contrary to the Stray Animals Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. S-23, Part 3. Here, the court found credible the testimony from the defendant cow-operator that the dog was chasing a lame cow to the point where the cow was exhausted. The action by plaintiff was dismissed.

 
Whelen v. Barlow   1975 CarswellAlta 242   Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.  
Xu v. Chen   2008 CarswellBC 1693  

The Claimant's six-month old sheltie puppy, "Diamond,” suffered a serious limb injury outside the front yard of the family home. Claimant seeks to recover the veterinarian costs she incurred to treat the dog's injury against Defendants, the owners of the other dog that allegedly attacked claimant’s dog. The court found that there was evidence that Defendant was previously contacted by Animal Control as well as a neighbor about an incident where Angus lunged at another dog. The Claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that Angus had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned that night. Claimant was 25% liable for the incident where she left Diamond in an unfenced yard that gave other dogs access. The court denied Xu’s claim of $5500 for future medical costs for the care of Diamond because there was no evidence what these would be and the dog was currently living with another family.