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Aggressive Dogs: Is it the Breed or the Owner?

Posted on in Personal Injury
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dangerous dog, dog bite, Illinois personal injury lawyerMany people have preconceived notions about certain dog breeds. For example, pit bulls, rottweilers, and dobermans are all breeds that generally have a negative connotation associated with them. In addition, many people consider larger dogs to be more dangerous than smaller ones. A recent article published by Post Crescent examined the stereotypes behind dog breeds and whether they are warranted.

Training by the Wrong Owner

The article suggests that perhaps the aggression of any particular dog has more to do with training by its owner than any inherent characteristics the dog itself possesses. Many of the larger breed dogs, including the ones listed above, are loyal to their owners, intelligent, and are easily trained, and thus it is not hard to imagine that the outcome could be poor when these dogs are raised by the wrong owner.

In fact, their reputations as being dangerous dogs could very well be a factor as to why they so often end up in the wrong hands. But, it is important to note that other dog breeds, besides those commonly thought of as dangerous, have been shown to actually be more aggressive than breeds such as pit bulls.

Proper Training of Large Breeds

On the other hand, there are many examples of the same dogs being domesticated and well-behaved. Some of the breeds are used as guard dogs and police dogs, which supports the argument that any aggressive behavior is not necessarily genetic.

Large breeds, when properly trained, could make good family pets, in light of the same characteristics they possess that are mentioned above.

Environmental Factors

The article suggests that, with the proper training and environment, any dog has the capacity to be well-behaved. Likewise, also depending on a dog's training and environment, any dog can be made aggressive and bite. The difference between small breeds and large breeds, in this context, is their ability to cause serious injury. Obviously, larger breeds are more likely to cause serious injury or even death, in some cases.

Legislation Against Certain Breeds

Some groups and members of the public have argued for laws that would ban certain breeds, such as pit bulls, dobermans, rottweilers, and German shepherds. While there is no indication that such legislation is likely to be implemented in the future, opponents of such a law point out that it is flawed in a number of ways.

First, it fails to consider that certain dogs within each of these breeds are able to be loving and loyal dogs, and it judges the breeds as a whole instead of considering dogs individually.

Additionally, it would do nothing to protect members of the public from aggressive dogs who are members of other breeds.

Current Illinois Law

The article points out that under current Illinois law, a dog's owner is responsible for any damage or injury caused by their dog, no matter what breed the dog is. Depending on the situation, dog owners can face both criminal and civil penalties if their dog is responsible for attacking another person.

On the criminal side, they can be charged with a felony crime, and face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.00. The owner may also face a civil suit if the victim decides to file a lawsuit against the owner as a result of the injuries and emotional trauma the victim may have suffered.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury as the result of a dog bite in Illinois, the personal injury attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices, LLC can discuss your case with you. Contact us today.
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