Legal Q&A: Claiming Damages from a Dog Bite

Townshippers’ Association’s Legal Information Service is now in full swing. Every Wednesday, third year Université de Sherbrooke law student  Christopher Jackson volunteers his time at Townshippers’ head office answering legal questions by phone, email, and in person by appointment.

Starting this year our legal volunteers are also sharing the answer to some questions with the whole community and the first question to be shared concerns claiming damages following a dog bite. Since the service is confidential, questions are de-identified before being shared. The answers provided by legal students contain general information about the law; they are not to be considered as comprehensive advice.

Question: What damages may be claimed when an individual is bitten by somebody else’s dog, which although is on a long lead that extends beyond the owners property?

Answer:  The claim for damages is complex.  Victims injured by an animal, would be able to claim damages for bodily, moral or material injury “which is an immediate and direct consequence of the debtor’s default.”  (Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ) section 1607). For material injury, the injured person would be entitled to the full replacement cost of the item lost or damaged.

The loss for bodily injury is divided into three categories: Cost of Treatment, Loss of Salary and Moral Prejudice. Cost of Treatment covers costs related to medical treatment not covered by the government health insurance plan. Loss of Salary covers claims to present or future wages lost related to the injury.

In some cases an individual may also be entitled to damages for Moral Injury, which is used to compensate the victim for legitimate pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of an injury. Awards for this claim range from zero to one-hundred thousand dollars (awarded by the Supreme Court in 1978).

Claims under $7,000 must be brought before Small Claims, under $70 000 go before the Court of Quebec, and any suit over $70 000 must be brought before the Superior Court. For a more detailed answer, including specific examples and statues, visit the Free Legal Clinic page at

Share Your Question

Send your legal question to Townshippers’ over Facebook or Twitter (with the hashtag #TownshippersQA), or by email to [email protected] or contact the free legal information service by calling 819-566-2182 (toll free 1-877-566-2182).

For more information on Townshippers’ Association and our activities, keep reading this weekly Keeping in Touch column in The Record and visit us on Twitter @Townshippers, Facebook and our website Connect with Townshippers’ offices in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen St. 819-566-5717, toll free: 1-866-566-5717 or Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll free: 1-877-242-4421.

Photo Credit: Townshippers’ Association

Photo Caption:  Don’t forget to pick up a poppy for yourself, and maybe a few for your friends, in time for Remembrance Day on November 11. The poppy pins not only serve as a symbol of remembrance of those that died in battle but donations received by the Poppy Campaign raises more than $14 million annually for the support of Veterans and their families, according to the Government of Canada.