The plaintiff and the defendants were mink farm operators whose respective farms were situated close together. Both operations were enclosed by substantial wire fences. During the whelping season (a time when female mink are easily agitated and if thus upset have a proclivity to destroy their young), the defendants’ dog, by climbing or leaping over the plaintiff’s fence, got into the compound and when found was on top of the mink cages. The mink were in a state of panic as a result of which 67 kits and two adult mink were killed. The dog had been allowed to roam at large in contravention of a municipal by-law and s. 44 of The Game Act, R.S.A. 1955, c. 126. The trial judge found that there was negligence on the part of the defendants and awarded damages to the plaintiff. This judgment was sustained by the Court of Appeal; by leave, an appeal was brought to this Court.
Per Abbott, Martland and Ritchie JJ.: In the light of the circumstances of this case, there was a duty of care imposed upon the defendants to take reasonable steps to prevent their dog from straying on to the plaintiff’s premises. There was sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion reached by both of the Courts below that, in the light of all the circumstances, there was negligence on the part of the defendants.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: Canada (Federal)