An aggressive dog can terrorize a neighborhood, especially one with children. When a dog owner does not properly restrain their dog – and even sometimes when they do – a dog’s lunging, barking, and other aggressive acts towards passersby can be frightening and dangerous. Illinois law requires dogs on private property to be enclosed by a fence at least six feet high, but many, if not most, dog owners do not abide by this law.
After a dog attack occurs and someone is injured, the injured party and their family may be outraged to hear the dog’s owner accusing them of provoking the dog. And while this may seem like a weak defense, in certain cases, it can be surprisingly effective. Read on to learn more about what kind of behavior is considered provoking a dog and then contact an experienced dog bite attorney to get help with your case.
Provoking a Dog Before an Attack
Dog owners are required to keep their animals secure on their property. If an owner takes a dog off of his property, he is required to keep it leashed. If the dog escapes, the owner is responsible for the behavior of the dog.
But what about when an injury occurs on the owner’s property, or immediately outside of it? For example, what if a child sticks her hand through a chain link face and is bitten? Or if a thief jumps over a fence, onto a dog owner’s property, and is viciously attacked by a dog?
The Illinois Animal Control Act gives specific circumstances for when a dog attack is justified because of provocations by the injured party. These include:
- Abusing, assaulting, or physically threatening a dog
- Abusing, assaulting, or physically threatening a dog’s offspring
- A person who, in the past, has abused, assaulted, or physically threatened a dog or its offspring
- A dog that was responding to pain or injury
- A dog that was protecting its owner, custodian, kennel, or offspring
A child who simply puts her hand through or over a fence to pet a dog is not considered provoking the dog. But if a teenager passes a neighbor’s dog every day and repeatedly throws objects at the dog, hits the dog with a stick, startles the dog on purpose, or makes threatening movements towards a dog or her puppies, that teen is putting himself at risk of being found to provoke the dog – even if a dog attack does not occur right away.
It is important to note that, even if a dog legitimately attacks out of self-defense, the injuries it causes cannot be grossly out of proportion to the injuries it suffered. Generally, dog bite victims will be relieved to know that the defense of provocation is rarely a successful defense for a dog attack.
Call an Illinois Dog Bite Injury Attorney
If you or your child have been injured by a dog, contact a DuPage County dog bite attorney with Dog Bite Injury Lawyer – Mevorah Law Offices LLC. We have the experience and resources to investigate your case and ensure you recover the full compensation to which you are entitled. Call us today at 630-552-6860 to schedule a free consultation.