Most canine pets are loyal, kind members of Illinois residents' families. Whether they are big or small, active or peaceful, dogs can enrich the lives of the people who own them. When dog owners act responsibly and take proper care to manage and train their pets, those pets can interact without incident with others. However, some pets are not given the support they need by their owners and can lash out when they are startled, provoked, or otherwise confronted with strangers.
Just as most people choose to stay up to date on their vaccinations, so too do most pet owners take care of their animals' required shots. In Illinois, domestic dogs are required to have rabies vaccinations to prevent them from developing the dangerous and life-threatening disease. Unlike some illnesses that canines carry, rabies can be transmitted from dogs to humans through saliva and bites.
Illinois courts apply a strict liability standard in almost all dog bite and animal attack cases. That means that a dog owner is liable for any harm that their dog causes, regardless of whether the owner had any reason to know that the dog was potentially dangerous or prone to biting. However, there are two exceptions that may derail a victim's path to recovery under this theory of law: provocation and trespassing.
A dog bite can be a painful experience that may leave a victim bleeding, disfigured and with the threat of a transmitted disease. Illinois residents who are unlucky enough to experience a dog bite may have to seek medical treatment, and, depending upon the severity of the harm, they may have to endure surgeries, hospitalizations and vaccination therapies just to start down the road to recovery. It is, therefore, to a person's benefit to understand how to avoid and prevent these potentially dangerous encounters with dogs.
Animal owners are generally expected to control their pets and livestock from harming others and their property. However, dog bites and animal attacks are, unfortunately, common and can leave victims with devastating and sometimes life-threatening injuries. While it may seem rather straightforward to allege that a person's dog attacked and caused harm to a victim, in some cases, pet owners assert defenses in an attempt to avoid legal liability.