BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver wants people with problem pets to pay the price.
He’s introducing legislation that would make sure pet owners are held financially responsible for the actions of their animals.
He says thousands of people are bitten by dogs in B.C. each year, and the owners must be held accountable.
“This puts the onus on the owner of a pet to ensure their pet is leashed, that they do not have dangerous animals with them, and that they take care of their animals when they’re in and around their property.”
He says Ontario and Manitoba have “safety first” legislation, but B.C. has fallen behind.
He says his legislation would mirror that from Manitoba, rather than Ontario.
- The Ontario Dog Owners Liability Act prohibits prohibits “individuals from owning, breeding, transferring, importing or abandoning pit bulls. Training a pit bull to fight or allowing a pit bull to stray are also prohibited.”
- Where a court is convinced that a pit bull has bitten or attacked or posed a menace, a mandatory destruction order must be issued.
- Existing owners of pittbulls are allowed to keep them, but under strict restrictions, including sterilization, muzzling, and being kept on a leash shorter than 1.8 meters long
- If any dog bites you, you may bring a civil action against the dog’s owner for damages.
- The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack, regardless of the owner’s fault, negligence or knowledge of the propensity of the dog to bite or attack.
- An individual can also seek a court order related to a dog under the Provincial Offenses Act, providing for destruction of the dog, requiring that the dog’s owner take certain measures in relation to the dog such as requiring that the dog be muzzled or leashed.
- The court may also issue a destruction order, order an owner to take specific control measures, or ban them from owning a dog for a specific period of time.
In Manitoba, the Animal Liability Act states that:
- “The owner of an animal is liable for damages resulting from harm that the animal causes to a person or to property.”
- However, the fault of the person bringing a lawsuit is considered in how serious the damages are.
- The action, knowledge, or negligence of the owner are irrelevant to their liability.
- Livestock owners are not liable if they prove they acted responsibly, or the harm caused by their animal was an “act of god.”
And now B.C.?
Weaver’s “Animal Liability Act” would make owners directly liable for damages.
It would not apply to damages caused by livestock.