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Are there specific laws regarding control of dogs in Chicago?

Dog owners in Chicago are obligated to follow both state and local ordinances. First, dog owners are obligated to adhere to Illinois’ Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16). Without specifically saying it, Illinois has adopted a strict liability approach when it comes to injuries resulting from a dog bite or attack. If you are the ‘owner’ of a dog under the Act, the animal causes harm to another person, the Illinois legislature deems you to be responsible for any injuries your dog causes.
Illinois has abolished a ‘one free bite’ or an owners’ prior knowledge of an animal’s dangerous propensity in order for an owner to be civilly liable for injuries caused by others. See Steinberg v. Petta, 114 Ill.2d 496 (1986) and Docherty v. Sadler, 293 Ill.App.3d 892 (1997). Consequently, an owner’s assertion that their dog had never attacked someone earlier is completely irrelevant to an injured person’s recovery for compensation from them under Illinois law.

In addition to Illinois law, dog owners in Chicago are obligated to follow the provisions of the Chicago Municipal Code (Title 7, Chapters 7-12). The Code has specific to the control of dogs including licensing, spaying and neutering, and leash-laws. The Code further gives the director of the agency the power to fine dog owners when their animal causes harm to others and even removes the dog from their control in similar circumstances.

If you have questions about dog laws in Chicago or the State of Illinois, we invite you to contact us for a free review of your obligations as a dog owner and rights for civil compensation as a dog bite victim.

For more information on questions related to Dog Bites please visit the following pages: