It is estimated that more than 5,000 dog bites are reported each year in Ontario and that in Canada, 42 dog bites occur every hour.
Additionally, data collected in a study between 1990 and 2007 published in The Canadian Veterinary Journal identified 28 fatalities from dog bite injuries. On average about 1-2 deaths can be attributed to dog attacks. The same study also had the following results:
- 24 victims of fatal attacks were under 12 years of age
- 17 victims were male
- In 22 of the incidents the victims were alone with the dog at the place and time of the attack
- Sled dogs, huskies, and rottweilers were the caused the largest number of fatalities
The report didn't specific if any pit bulls were associated with the fatal incidents, however, the city of Toronto has indicated that since a ban on pit bulls took effect in 2005 the number of dog bites has fallen. In 2010 there were 379 dog bites reported, a 28.2 percent drop since 2005. The number of dog bites since 2002 in Toronto has dropped in nearly half while the number of bites related to pit bulls has dropped by more than 92 percent.
Since 1990 the Dog Owners Liability Act has held dog owners strictly responsible for damages caused by a dog attack. The only exception to the liability act is in a situation where someone is bitten or attacked on the owners premises while in the act of, or with the intention of committing a crime (such as a burglary).
If you have been bitten by a dog, seek medical attention right away. If possible obtain the dog owners name and address; contact local animal control to report the incident. Victims of dog bites may be compensated by the dog owner. Victims should be aware however the limitation period to seep compensation is two years from the date of the dog bite incident.