Tens of thousands of years ago, dogs began becoming domesticated creatures and their DNA changed from that of their wolf ancestors. Today, dogs are the most popular species of pet for Americans -- around 68 percent of American households own at least one dog. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and at least half of those people are young children. Dog bites can result in serious injuries and in some cases, even serious, life-threatening infections. Dog bites can also cause emotional distress, especially in children. Pursuing a dog bite injury claim can be tedious, which is why there are a few things you should know before you begin the process.
Illinois Has a Definition for “Dangerous Dogs” and “Vicious Dogs”
The Illinois Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/) contains the governing statutes for injuries sustained by animals, including dogs. According to 510 ILCS 5/2.05a, a “dangerous dog” is a dog that is unmuzzled, unleashed or unattended by its owner and behaves in a manner that would be reasonably construed as a serious and unjustified threat of physical injury or death. A dog that unjustly bites a person and does not cause serious physical injury can also be considered a “dangerous dog.” A “vicious dog” is one that unjustly attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death, or a dog that has been found to be a “dangerous dog” three separate times.
There Are Certain Responsibilities that Dog Owners Have
In Illinois, there are certain things that dog owners must do to ensure their dogs are not classified as “dangerous” or “vicious dogs.” Illinois dog owners must always make sure their dogs are in their sight, leashed when not on their own property and muzzled if they are known to show aggressive behavior. Even if the dog is on the owner’s property, the owner has a responsibility to keep the dog in an enclosure that is designed to prevent the dog from escaping and/or prevent young children from entering.