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What happens in Illinois when dogs go from friendly to fierce?

Dogs may be "man's best friend," but people in Illinois need to keep in mind that they are still animals. And, like any other animal, if they feel threatened in some way they may lash out and bite someone. Sometimes a dog doesn't even need to be threatened to bite, it may just be high-strung or playful. Regardless of the circumstances, people in Illinois are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that their dogs do not bite. If their dog does bite someone, the dog's owner could face liability for that person's injuries.

Under Illinois law, if a canine is not provoked and attacks or tries to attack someone else, and that person suffers injuries, the dog owner may be strictly liable for the attack. Strict liability means that the dog owner will be responsible for injuries the dog causes, even if they did not have a reason to believe that their dog was dangerous or even if their dog never attacked someone before. Moreover, even if a dog owner tied the dog up or kept the dog in a fenced area, he or she could still be liable for a dog attack. The only exceptions are if the person who was bit was a trespasser or provoked the canine, even if the provocation was accidental.

If a person's dog bites another person, it is important that the owner help the victim seek the medical attention needed. He or she may need to call for an ambulance, depending on the severity of the bite. After that, the dog must be placed in the care of a veterinarian within one day. This is so the vet can observe the dog for 10 days to ensure it is not rabid.

When a dog bites someone, it can result in significant injuries, disfigurement and pain and suffering. Sometimes dog bites are even fatal. Those who have suffered a dog bite may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine what legal recourse they may have.

Source: FindLaw, "Chicago Dog Bites: The Basics," Accessed Oct. 23, 2017

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