Illinois Law Relating to Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
Many states clearly outline the duties and responsibilities of pet owners. Cities like Chicago often create specific animal ordinances and regulations that also elaborate on these duties and responsibilities. Pet owners must familiarize themselves with dog bite laws and regulations so that they protect the public from harm caused by a dog. Illinois dog bite laws clearly convey the responsibilities that dog owners have in regards to keeping dogs in fenced areas and also paying for any injuries caused by one’s dog.
A Dog Owner’s Liability After a Dog Attack in Illinois
The Illinois Animal Control Act is the governing regulation that puts forth the rules for determining whether a dog owner shall be liable for the injuries of another. First, it must be proven that an owner actually harbored an animal on the property, acted as its custodian or knowingly allowed the animal to stay on one’s property.
Under Chicago animal control laws, it is possible for a property owner to be responsible for the injuries of another even if he or she does not consider one’s self to be the actual “owner” of a dog. If a property owner takes it upon himself to care for a stray dog by providing it food and shelter on one’s property, then the property owner has technically become a “pet owner” for purposes of the Illinois Animal Control Act. If a property owner maintains a dog house or other shelter on one’s property, and an animal decides to reside in this shelter, then the property owner could also be considered to have “harbored” the animal on the property. As a result, the owner would be liable for any injuries caused by the animal under the Illinois Animal Control Act.
If one has been injured by a dog, the judge or jury will likely have to determine whether a property owner is considered an “owner” under the Illinois Animal Control Act. This will be a crucial element that must be proven in order for a victim to be eligible to recover compensation.
Dog Attacks and Attempted Dog Attacks
Dog owners may not realize that their potential liability even extends to injuries caused by attempted dog attacks under the Illinois Animal Control Act. The regulation states that an owner shall be liable for the full amount of damages arising from injuries that result from a dog attack or attempted dog attack. This means that it is not necessary for a dog to actually touch an individual for the owner to be liable for any injuries that result. For example, a dog may lunge forward to try to attack an individual. As a result of the lunge, the individual may fall to the ground and break a limb. The dog owner would then be responsible for covering the costs associated with this injury.
Specific Animal Laws in Chicago
Many cities are now creating animal control ordinances that require pet owners to take specific actions in protecting the public from their animals. In Chicago, pet owners are required to confine one’s dog on his or her own property. Vicious dogs must be restrained in a fenced area on one’s property. If an owner does not comply with this regulation, then he or she may face significant fines from the government.
In addition, owners are obligated to obtain special training and muzzles for animals that are known to be dangerous. The owner may also need to obtain liability insurance for his or her animal.
Complying with Animal Control Laws
Chicago dog bite injury attorneys can help victims who have been injured by dogs. Our attorneys are available to review your case and determine whether there have been any violations of animal control laws. Our attorneys are well-versed in the Illinois Animal Control Act, as well as the specific regulations impacting pet owners in cities like Chicago. Feel free to contact one of our attorneys for a case evaluation today at no cost.
Other municipalities have enacted laws to address public safety and minimize dog bite incidents. Below you will find some city-specific law and regulations in the following Illinois cities: