Does Illinois Law Require a Dog to Be Put Down After It Attacks Someone?
Most dogs are wonderful animals to have in your life, but what happens when a dog snaps and injures another pet or person? Does Illinois law require the dog to be put down?
Aggressive Dog Laws in Illinois
This past weekend some dear friends of mine experienced a terrifying situation with their neighbor's dog. Without getting into specifics, the neighbor's typically personable dog snapped, broke through a fence, and my friends' dog was severely injured in the attack. The sweet little pup survived, but the cost of the emergency medical services was HIGH. Thankfully, their neighbors offered to pay for the veterinary bills, but the horrible situation made me wonder; what does Illinois law cover when it comes to aggressive animals?
How is a Dog Deemed 'Dangerous' in Illinois?
I went on a deep dive into dog bite laws in Illinois and was able to figure out that the Illinois Animal Control Act is the primary law governing dog behavior in the state.
While the legal terminology can be difficult to understand, this law basically defines a dangerous dog as one that has bitten or attacked a person or animal without provocation.
Illinois is also a strict liability dog bite state. This means the owner or caretaker of a dog that severely attacked and/or injured another person or pet is liable to pay for all necessary medical treatment caused by the attack.
Now for the super sad and scary question; does Illinois law require a dangerous dog to be euthanized? The answer isn't so straightforward.
According to this Yahoo article;
A dangerous dog, particularly a repeat offender, may be euthanized if this is determined to be in the best interest of the safety of the community. After one documented bite, a dog is considered vicious in the state of Illinois. This means that subsequent bites may lead to euthanasia. Additionally, a severe enough attack could lead the court to determine euthanasia is the best course of action even for a first offender.
Ways to Ensure Public Safety With a Dangerous Dog
If you have an aggressive dog that is wonderful with your family but protects its turf and people at all costs, there are a few things you can do to avoid the "dangerous dog" problems. These things include:
- Keeping the dog contained in your yard or home to avoid contact with strangers.
- Posting signs along your property that warn people a dangerous dog is present.
- Registering and obtaining a dangerous dog tag from local animal control. This tag must be displayed on the dog's collar at all times.
Dogs truly are one of my very favorite things in life, but they are animals, so their behavior should never be underestimated. Treat them with respect, don't mess with their turf, and always watch for warning signs to protect those your love from a scary, and sometimes tragic situation.