The increasing number of dog attacks needs to be taken more seriously by authorities, says a personal injury lawyer.
“No one’s giving these victims the time of day because people view dog attacks like, ‘It’s not a big deal, no one was killed,’” said Toronto lawyer Jasmine Daya. “It’s a very sad state of affairs because it is serious. What if a baby in a stroller is attacked?”
Daya stressed that anyone seriously injured in a dog attack can sue for damages for pain, suffering and any incurred expenses, adding there’s a time limit of two years to act.
“If the dog owner has home insurance, that may cover the claim or they’d be personally responsible,” she said.
Daya advised any dog attack victim to get medical attention and then obtain the name and contact information of the dog owner and any witness information. In addition, they should document a timeline of events, and take pictures of the injury and the dog involved.
Like Daya, Toronto’s animal services officials blame the pandemic for the current increase in dog attacks.
“Some don’t have proper training,” said Daya, who’s seen an increase in dog attack victim cases in her 17-year law practice.
“The owners — they got them because they were company but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be a proper dog owner,” she said. “There are responsibilities when you have a pet and they’re just not being adhered to. You can go out any day of the week and see dogs not on a leash.”
Daya said dog attack victims can find out about getting a hearing with a quasi-judicial Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal by calling 311 but cautions patience.
“So there has to be a hearing to determine if the dog is a dangerous dog and needs to be put down,” said Daya. “And (the victim)’s going to get the runaround because there’s strained resources and I don’t feel like it’s a priority to the city, even though it should be.”
Dog bites should be reported to the city by contacting Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or at www.toronto.ca/BiteReport, as well as Toronto Animal Services by calling 311.