Legal Responsibilities of Animal Owners to Prevent Attacks

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Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2024 at 1:41 am    

Legal Responsibilities Of Animal Owners To Prevent Attacks

While most pet owners consider their dogs, cats, or other animals to be beloved members of the family, it’s important to recognize that even the most well-behaved pets can sometimes act unpredictably, leading to bites, scratches, or other injuries. To prevent these situations and minimize the risk of legal liability, animal owners must take proactive steps to ensure their pets are properly trained, restrained, and supervised at all times.

Dog Bite Legal Responsibilities Vary Based on Animal Attack Liability Laws

The legal responsibilities of dog bite owners can vary in different parts of the country. For example, Illinois holds dog owners strictly liable for victims’ injuries when their dogs cause harm. That means a dog’s owner is responsible for compensating a victim for medical bills and related losses if their dog hurts someone. A dog’s owner will usually compensate a victim through their insurance in these circumstances.

However, not all states are like Illinois. Some only hold dog owners liable in these scenarios if they knew their dogs were vicious but carelessly let them harm others anyway. Such nuances indicate just one way the legal responsibilities of a dog owner can depend on where they are in the country.

Are Dog Owners Responsible for Damage or Injury if a Dog Was Provoked?

Often, no. The Illinois law cited above indicates how many states handle the matter of provocation. A dog’s owner might not be liable for a victim’s injuries if a dog attacked them because they provoked the dog.

However, there are different degrees of provocation. Sometimes, a victim might have only provoked a dog slightly, not expecting an attack to ensue. Depending on the nature of the provocation, the victim may still be eligible to receive compensation in these circumstances. The amount of compensation they may receive could be less than it would be had they not provoked the animal.

Reporting Dog Bites: Owners’ Responsibilities

As with liability issues, a dog owner’s responsibility to file a report when their pet hurts someone can depend on where the attack occurs.

For example, in Cook County, Illinois, a dog’s owner should file a report with local law enforcement when their dog attacks someone. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in fines.

In addition, when a dog or other animal attacks someone in Illinois, the animal must be confined so a licensed veterinarian can observe it for a minimum of 10 days. To abide by this law, a dog’s owner may have to present the animal to a licensed veterinarian within 24 hours of an attack. However, the law states it might be sufficient to confine a dog in its owner’s home if doing so will adequately prevent the dog from harming others.

Preventing Dog Bites and Other Animal Attacks: Steps Owners Can Take

Legal Responsibilities Of Animal Owners To Prevent AttacksBecause dog bite laws vary throughout the country, how dog owners must guard against attacks can vary as well. That said, the following are general steps dog owners should always take:

  • Restraining dangerous dogs both on their properties and off them
  • Putting signs on their properties letting guests know of the presence of dangerous dogs
  • Enrolling rowdy dogs in training programs

If a dog ever attacks you, taking the right steps immediately after the attack can strengthen your case. Taking these steps may also improve treatment outcomes if you receive medical care:

  • If you can get the contact information and insurance information of the dog’s owner right away, do so. However, you may proceed immediately to seeking medical treatment if your injuries are serious.
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the attack. Ask them if they would provide recorded or written statements.
  • Take pictures of the scene where the attack occurred. Doing so is particularly important if the attack occurred on the dog owner’s property.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Don’t wait to see a doctor after a dog attack. Even a “minor” bite can become more serious very quickly if it becomes infected.

Contact the dog owner’s insurance next. However, negotiating directly with a claims adjuster may be a mistake.

Contact a Pet Attack Personal Injury Attorney

An insurance adjuster’s goal may be to get you to settle your claim for less money than you deserve. Protect yourself by ensuring you have legal representation.

At Wallace Miller, a pet attack personal injury lawyer can pursue compensation on your behalf. The process of seeking the compensation you may deserve will be much easier when a lawyer handles your case. Learn more by contacting us online today or calling us at (312) 261-6193 for a free case review.

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