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Chicago Dangerous Dog Law

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Personal Injury, Premises Liability


When you have been bitten by a dog, you’ll not only want to physically and financially recover from your injuries, you’ll also want to make sure that a dangerous animal never attacks someone else. Despite being a man’s best friend, there are dogs that have been trained to be vicious or who are too naturally aggressive to safely be around strangers. No one needs to go through what you went through, which is why Chicago has an ordinance in place to deal with these types of situations. Chicago law provides punishments for owners of dangerous dogs and in some situations, requires that a dangerous animal be euthanized.

If you were attacked by a dog, contact a Chicago dog bite lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. When you are trying to recover from the pet owner’s insurance or through a personal injury claim in court, your case may be affected by whether or not the dog is deemed a “dangerous animal” under Chicago’s ordinance.

Determining if a Dog is a Dangerous Animal

Section 7-12-050 of the Chicago Code defines when a dog or other pet can be deemed a dangerous animal under Chicago law. If you file a complaint regarding your dog bite or an animal’s threatening behavior, the executive director or an animal control officer must evaluate your claim and if necessary, further investigate the facts surrounding the potentially dangerous animal. This can include interviewing you, the animal’s owner and witnesses to the attack as well as observing the animal. The officer then determines whether the dog meets the definition of a dangerous animal.

A dangerous animal under the Chicago Code means:

  • Any animal that bites, inflicts injury on, kills, or otherwise attacks a human being or another domestic animal without provocation on public or private property,
  • Any animal that on more than one occasion, without any provocation, chases or approaches any person with an attitude to attack, on any public property or in any place that is over or outside of the boundaries of the owner’s property,
  • Any animal owned or possessed primarily or in part for dog or animal fighting or any animal trained for dog or animal fighting,
  • Any dog used as a guard dog, or
  • Any animal that has been found to be vicious under Illinois law.

If an investigation into the attack that caused your injuries finds that the dog was a dangerous animal, then the owner can be required to euthanize the dog. However, this is not always ordered after an attack. It will depend on the circumstances, the extent of your injuries, and whether the dog has attacked someone or been labeled a dangerous animal before.

If the dog is not required to be put down, then the owner must comply with other requirements such as ensuring the dog is fenced in an area, posting a sign that states a dangerous animal is on the owner’s premises, and using a secure muzzle and leash when the dog is off the owner’s property.

How This Determination Affects Your Case

In terms of your dog bite claim, a finding that the dog is a dangerous animal can help you. This is evidence your lawyer can use to demonstrate that the owner of the dog was negligent in controlling or securing an animal the owner knew or should have known could be aggressive. This negligence, whether it was letting the animal run loose or failing to use a muzzle, is the reason why you are now injured and deserve compensation.

If the dog was previously labeled a dangerous animal and the owner was not compliant with the law at the time of the attack, you have even stronger evidence of negligence. In this situation, the owner cannot argue that he or she did not know the animal could be aggressive or attack someone. The owner clearly had notice of the dog’s dangerous tendencies and was required by law to keep it confined or muzzled and on a leash while out in public.

Recovering from a Dangerous Dog Attack

When you have been attacked by a dog, you have the right to try and recover damages from the owner or person in control of that dog. If the dog is found to be a dangerous animal under the law, this will help you be compensated for your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

However, even if the animal is not deemed dangerous under the Chicago Code, you can still file a personal injury claim and strive to prove the owner was negligent in controlling the dog, leading to your injuries.

Contact a Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer for Help

If you have been attacked by a dog and injured, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900.

We understand how traumatic it can be to be hurt by an animal you thought would be friendly. We know firsthand that dog bites are not always small nips at the heels. They can be significant and debilitating injuries that lead to serious medical expenses, disability, and disfigurement. We are here to help you recover from this situation and move forward after the attack. Call one of our Chicago dog bite lawyers for help today.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900