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Illinois is fourth in the country for dog bites

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Countless people are injured by dog bites each year. Illinois is one of the top states in the country for dog attacks.

Millions of people in Illinois and across the country own dogs as pets. While the majority of these animals cause no harm, some dogs have bitten and injured people. A dog that bites may not necessarily be aggressive, but could be frightened, annoyed or tired. No matter what caused a dog to attack, being bitten by a pet can cause life-threatening injuries.

Dog bites are particularly serious in Illinois, states Bankrate. The state ranks fourth in the nation for the most dog bite claims. In 2014, there were 872 reported claims for dog bites, with $30.4 million being paid out by insurance companies.

Most dogs that bite are known to the victim

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about one out of every five dog attacks need medical attention. At least half of these incidents involve children, who are the most common victims of dog bites and the ones most likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries. Senior citizens are also vulnerable to dog attacks. Most bites are from dogs the victims knew and occur during ordinary interactions with the pets.

A variety of factors can contribute to a dog attack, state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These may include the following:

  • Approaching an unfamiliar dog
  • Running from a dog, panicking or being loud
  • Petting a dog before it can see or sniff first
  • Disturbing a dog that is eating, sleeping or with puppies
  • Aggressive play
  • Allowing young children to play with a dog unsupervised

It is unknown whether any of these factors resulted in the tragic mauling of a 5-year-old boy in Chicago last May. According to CBS Chicago, the boy and his mother were visiting a home and were in the room where a pit bull was kept while its owner was not at home. The dog was usually locked up, but was for some reason not in its enclosure. The dog had the boy by the neck, and several neighbors attempted to help the mother get the dog away from her son by beating and stabbing it. By the time the dog's owner and authorities arrived, the dog had already died, and the boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. The dog's owner received a misdemeanor citation but no criminal charges.

Dog bite victims may wish to pursue compensation

Under certain circumstances, dog owners may be held liable for the damages their pets cause. If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. It is important to contact an attorney with experience in animal attacks right away.

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