Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Dogs Vets
The Dog Days of Litigation: Strategies for Owners in Trouble
Dogs are perhaps the most popular pets in households across America. However, they have the potential to cause serious injuries.
In Illinois, strict liability dog bite laws are in place that every dog owner should know. It doesn’t matter if your dog never displayed any inclination of aggression before. If it attacks someone on public property or an invited guest on your own property without provocation, you could be held liable.
If you are considering getting a dog for your family, you should know how the laws apply in dog bite cases. It is always the owner’s responsibility to follow the laws and regulations to keep everyone safe.
Dog Owner Duties and Responsibilities in Illinois
While dogs are wonderful companions, they have the potential to be dangerous. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you follow the laws in the state.
Every dog on private property needs to be enclosed by some sort of fence or structure. This enclosure must be at least six feet in height.
Dog owners are also responsible if their dogs escape the property. If your dog runs off your property and kills another dog, you will be legally deemed a reckless dog owner.
Furthermore, even if your dog seems to be the sweetest creature on the planet, it must be leashed, muzzled, and fully attended to by you as the owner when you are anywhere other than your property. Without leashing, muzzling, or owner attendance, the dog is considered dangerous.
There are no statewide leash laws — the municipalities establish these regulations. It’s important to check what is permitted in your city. Even if there is no law, erring on the side of caution and leashing your dog is advised.
What Happens to Owners of Dogs That Bite?
When a dog attacks or injures anyone without provocation, the dog owner will generally be held liable for the injuries. The only exceptions are if the person deliberately provoked the dog or they were trespassing on private property.
The state follows strict liability, meaning that the injured party does not need to prove that the owner was negligent. There doesn’t need to be a history of previous attacks either for a dog bite injury victim to file a lawsuit.
If you are a dog owner, the best strategy to avoid this kind of scenario is to take a few steps to prevent a dog bite or attack from ever occurring.
How Dog Owners Can Prevent Attacks
Dogs can be unpredictable, even with people they’ve met before. All dog owners should make sure they are following the laws of the state to keep their pets safe on their own private property and when they’re out in public.
When you are walking your dog, keep it on a leash and pay attention to your surroundings. Children are always curious about dogs and their voices and jumpy movements may put your pooch on high alert.
Keep your dog close at hand and watch for any warning signs that your dog may be uncomfortable.
Dogs will try to make themselves look bigger when they feel this way. Clues like this can help you move your dog away from other people before they can cause any harm.
Additionally, you should work on having your dog socialize with other people and pets and make sure they’ve had proper training. If any situation seems to be escalating, you should immediately take your dog and leave.
By following these tips, you’ll be less likely to wind up facing a lawsuit because your dog attacked someone.