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April 29, 2020
Written by: Anthony Ivone
When Is An Animal Owner Responsible For A Dog Bite
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Dogs are a man’s best friend and are a part of families around the world. They bring joy to our lives and can help those with emotional or physical needs get through their day. However, with owning a dog, you are also responsible for everything the dog does as well.

Illinois Dog Owner Responsibilities

As a dog owner, there are specific responsibilities that you take on outside of being a good pet owner. You are also responsible for how your dog acts in public and around other people. Dogs are very loyal to their owner and can behave very differently toward others, especially if they feel they are in danger. In these situations, a dog may attack and bite someone they assess as a threat. Knowing whether or not your dog is capable of being around others is one of the most essential dog owner responsibilities.

Illinois Animal Control Act

In 1949, Illinois passed the animal control act, which helped eliminate the one bite rule that was formally in place. This act essentially states, at common law, requires a plaintiff to plead and prove that an owner knew or was negligent in knowing that their dog could injure someone. This act does not let the pet owner simply use this as a defense to negate responsibility. Other statueshave to be met to prove or negate the dog owners’ liability.

What To Do If You Are Attacked By A Dog

If you are attacked by a dog, you have the right to do anything you need to do to defend yourself against the dog. After the attack, you need to contact the dog’s owner and get the names of those involved. You will then need to seek medical care, even if you don’t think you need to be seen. Some injuries can take a few days to manifest. Next, contact animal control and see if the dog has a history of attacking others. Lastly, you will need to decide if you would like to seek legal action against the owner.

What To Do If Your Dog Attacks Someone

If you’re on the other side of things where your dog has bitten someone, you will need to take a separate set of precautions. You will need to ensure that the victim is in need of immediate medical attention and call the respected medical responders. Next, you will want to give the victim any contact information they may need and get your dogs’ vaccine records ready to present. If you feel that you need to get legal representation, you should do so at this time to ensure you are protected.


In conclusion, a dog owner is going to be responsible for their dog biting someone if they were aware of the dogs’ behavior or were negligent and recognizing the dog’s behavior. If the victim provoked the dog, the owner is usually not held liable for any damages. Always seek legal expertise if you have any questions regarding liability in the event of a dog bite.

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