The Province of Ontario Dog Owners Liability Act

The Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA) applies to everyone who has a dog in their care, even if this individual does not own the dog.

While the Act refers to breed specific regulations, it also details all dog owners responsibilities, no matter the breed or mixed breed of their dog. We strongly suggest that all dog owners read the Act to familiarize themselves with its content.

The following are highlights of the Act.


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”)

Even if you are walking, transporting, or caring for a dog you do not own, if that dog attacks someone, then you are financially responsible for its actions because you had control or possession of the dog at the time of the incident.

Further, if a minor child is in possession of someone else’s dog and there is an incident causing harm, that child’s parent(s) is also held responsible.

Civil Liability – Liability of owner

The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal.

Civil Liability clearly states if your dog causes damage to another person, dog or any domestic animal, you are responsible for the expenses resulting from any injury it has caused. This includes all vet fees or medical treatment for an injury caused by the dog.

For more information: Dog Owners Liability Act