I have handled hundreds of dog liability cases over the last 20 years or so and it seems that some dog owners will do almost anything to escape liability. It is a fairly common practice by some dog owners to leave the scene of a dog bite or attack without identifying themselves in the hope that the dog bite victim will not be able to locate them to seek compensation.
Here are some of the steps you can take if you have been bitten or attacked by a dog and the owner refuses to identify themselves to you or tries to leave the scene (keep in mind to protect your safety and get medical attention as first priorities):
1. Take photographs of the dog owner and their dog.
2. Turn on your voice recorded on your phone and record the conversation.
3. Videotape the dog owner and their dog.
4. Follow the dog owner home or to their vehicle and take down their licence plate.
5. Return to the scene of the incident frequently since the dog owner likely lives close by and is likely yo return to the scene.
6. Drive around the neighbourhood where the incident occurred. The dog owner likely lives close by and you can follow them to their home to obtain an address and with the address you can likely locate their name.
7. Speak with the dog owner’s neighbours or people in the neighbourhood. Chances are that someone knows where the dog owner lives if you have a description of the dog and dog owner.
8. Neighbours often get fed up with bad dog owners and may readily agree to give you information about the dog owner or even provide you with a statement detailing their experience with the dog owner.
9. Report the incident to the local police.
10. Report the incident to local by-law department.
11. If the police or city has conducted an investigation, make a freedom of information application to obtain the name of the dog owner.
An experienced dog owner liability lawyer can assist you in your investigation. They can also fully assess your case and pursue compensation for you. If you have been bitten by a dog or attacked by a dog and need legal help, call us for a free consultation at 613-315-4878.