Dog Bites/Injuries Lawyers Edmonton

Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatizing and life-changing event. Many victims of dog attacks sustain severe physical and psychological injuries including permanent scarring and disfigurement. Depending on the breed of dog and the attack victim’s age, dog attacks can be fatal. Children between the ages of 5 to 9 years are most commonly victims of dog bites and attacks.

Fortunately, there is legal recourse available for individuals who have been seriously injured by an incident with a dog. If you or a loved one have been injured or attacked by someone else’s dog, contact our Edmonton dog bite injury lawyers for a free initial consultation. If you haven’t already done so, we recommend you prioritize receiving medical attention immediately for your injuries.

What is considered a dog bite or dog attack injury in Edmonton?

Dog bites refer to any incident in which a dog penetrates your skin using its teeth. Bites usually result in puncture wounds. Multiple bites can cause larger lacerations that often require stitches at a clinic or the emergency department.

A dog attack is a broader term to include other ways in which a dog can injure a person. The most serious attacks are usually inflicted by both teeth and claws. There are some attacks where there are no bite or scratch marks, but rather, a brain injury, spinal cord injury, fracture, or soft-tissue injury caused by a fall during the attack.

If you sustain any injury due to a dog biting or attacking you or a loved one, you may have a case against the dog owner or owners. It is also possible to bring a claim against other entities who may be liable. For example, if a dog attack occurs on private property, the property owner may also be held responsible.

Dog bite & attack statistics

In Canada, it is estimated there are over 500,000 dog bites per year. This means 42 Canadians are bitten by a dog every hour. Dog attacks can also result in fatal injuries as we unfortunately saw in 2024 when an 11-year-old’s life was taken away by two Cane Corso dogs in Edmonton. Dog attack complaints in the City of Edmonton rose 18% in 2023, according to The City of Edmonton Animal Care and Control Centre.

A poll suggests that the majority of Canadians blame owners of ‘dangerous’ breeds for attacks, not the dogs. Dogs involved in attacks are often themselves victims of abuse and are not trained, housed and/or fed as they should be.

A University of Gueph study found that Canadians are twice as likely to be bitten by a dog in the city than in the country. It also found that most of the bites in cities are by an off-leash dog and 17% of off-leash dogs were also not vaccinated. Dog bites can transmit potentially life-threatening infections to humans. Examples include:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Endocarditis
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis
  • Pasteurella
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • And possibly more

Victims of a serious dog bite or attack may find themselves struggling to cope with the emotional and psychological fallout of the attack. Dog bites can cause long-lasting, even permanent psychological trauma, which can manifest into several severe mental health disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and more. Coping with these mental health issues can be expensive, requiring ongoing psychological counselling, prescription medications, and other expensive treatments.

We recommend you consult with a dog bite/attack/injury lawyer for legal help if you have been injured by someone else’s dog.

How do dog bite injury lawsuits work in Edmonton?

After a dog bite, the first recommended step is to seek appropriate medical attention. It is also important to report the incident to Animal Control and the police. The investigation by the authorities can help identify the owner(s) of the dog. Without knowing who owned the dog in question, it can be difficult to determine who to name as a defendant in the lawsuit.

In Alberta, there are 2 avenues to prove that dog owners should be liable for your injuries. The first is scienter, which is a legal term that refers to a dog owner’s previous knowledge of their dog’s propensity to be violent or cause harm. In the case of McKinlay v. Zachow, 2018 ABQB at paragraph 43, the court found:

For the Defendant to be found liable under the doctrine of scienter, the Plaintiff must establish that:

  1. the Defendant was the owner of the dog;
  2. the dog had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned; and
  3. the owner knew of that propensity.

In other words, if the dog does not have a history of violence or aggression, it may be difficult to establish a case against the dog owner using scienter. If that is the case, it is still possible to prove liability under negligence.

The legal test for negligence was explained by the court in McKinlay. In order to prove negligence against a dog owner a plaintiff must prove that:

  1. the dog owner knew or ought to have known that the dog was likely to create a risk of injury to third persons; and
  2. the dog owner failed to take reasonable care to prevent such injury.

Potential liability does not rest only with the dog owner or owners. The people who own or occupy private property owe a duty of care to people who visit their premises. Their responsibilities to the safety of guests and other rightful visitors to the property are outlined in the province’s Occupiers’ Liability Act. If a property occupier has a dog on their premises, they are required to take necessary safety precautions to ensure the people visiting the property will

not be bitten, mauled, or otherwise attacked. Failure to take preventative measures to protect other people’s safety may be considered negligence.

If liability cannot be established against a dog or property owner, your case may be dismissed even if the impact on your life is catastrophic.

After being seriously injured by a dog, victims are often (and understandably) focused on their health rather than collecting the dog owner’s information or investigating the dog’s history. A dog bite lawyer can help investigate these details while you focus on your recovery. If you have been injured in a dog bite or attack incident, please contact our Edmonton dog bite lawyers for a free consultation.

Compensation available for victims of dog bites/attacks

Compensation is assessed on a case-by-case basis and depends on how your injuries impact your life. Non-pecuniary damages, also known as pain and suffering, can be claimed after a dog bite to compensate you for non-financial losses such as pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, impact on relationships, and the change in your social life, and more.

Pecuniary losses can also be claimed. This includes the money you have and will likely lose in the future due to the injuries caused by a dog bite or attack. Examples of this include lost income, hiring help for housekeeping, out-of-pocket expenses, and the cost of future medical treatments. In the case of serious dog attacks, the cost of elective plastic surgery can also be claimed to treat scarring.

Our legal team works with professional medical experts and other vocational/occupational health experts to help you with your recovery, but also to understand the full nature and extent of your injuries to determine the amount of compensation you truly deserve. This information is valuable when building a case for your injuries.

How can a dog bite/attack lawyer help me pursue compensation?

Building a strong dog attack case involves a thorough investigation, collection and review of relevant documents, determining whether a dog owner has insurance coverage, and proving your losses.

Our dog bite/attack lawyers can assist with all steps of the investigation and litigation and fight for compensation you deserve. Focus on your recovery and health while we handle the legal side of things – our phone lines are open 24/7 as well as our live chat agents. Reach out to us to book you free consultation today.

What happens to dogs after a dog bite/attack is reported?

In accordance with the province’s Dangerous Dogs Act, a court may issue various fines and penalties to dog owners after a bite or attack incident. For example, a court may order a dog owner to keep their dog muzzled in public places. In the most serious cases a dog may be euthanized by court order.

While issuing fines or penalties may help victims obtain a sense of emotional closure, it does nothing to compensate injured victims for financial and non-financial losses they may have incurred.

Schedule a free consultation with our Edmonton dog bite/attack lawyers

Many victims of dog attacks have personal relationships with dog owner(s) and/or the occupier of the premises where the attack happened. This might make injured victims of a dog attack hesitant to seek legal advice about their case, for fear of starting a conflict with a friend, relative, or neighbour. However, if there is a valid insurance policy in place, damages incurred by visitors during a dog attack may be covered.

During a free initial consultation, we can review the circumstances of your situation and provide case-specific advice about options for financial recovery that might be available to you.

Let us put our experience to work for you. We’re here to help.


Our Edmonton practice group can assist with various types of claims.

Since 1959, Preszler Injury Lawyers has been helping Canadians pursue meaningful compensation from insurance providers.

To speak with a member of our legal team today, book a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and the best part is, you don't pay anything unless you decide to hire us and we successfully recover compensation for you. Yes that's right - you don't pay unless we win!

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