Classifying Dangerous or Vicious Dogs Under Illinois Law

In Illinois, after a dog has threatened, injured or killed a person, it could be classified as “dangerous” or “vicious.” These determinations are made after a thorough investigation, which includes interviewing witnesses of the incident and gathering veterinary records, medical records and behavioral evidence.

Classifying a Dog as Dangerous or Vicious 

According to the state’s Animal Control Act, a dog may be classified as dangerous or vicious under the following circumstances: 

  • Dangerous – The dog was unleashed or unattended somewhere other than its owner’s property and behaved in a threatening or dangerous manner, or it bit a person but did not cause serious injury.
  • Vicious – The dog was found to be “dangerous” on at least three occasions or, after an investigation, there was clear and convincing evidence that the dog attacked or seriously injured a person without justification. 

If a dog is deemed vicious, the owner will owe a $100 fine and be required to microchip and spay or neuter the dog within 10 days. The dog will not be released to the owner unless an animal control warden or director has approved the enclosure where the dog will kept. If the owner fails to keep the dog in this approved enclosure, Animal Control can seize the dog, and the owner will be charged a $500 fine to retrieve the animal. A judge also could order a dog euthanized if he or she sees fit, or, if the dog attacks a person again, the owner could face a class 3 or 4 felony charge.

Filing a Lawsuit against a Dog Owner

An attorney with Franks & Rechenberg can help if you’ve been bitten by a dog and would like to file a legal claim to recover damages from the dog’s owner. Call us at (847) 854-7700 to set up a consultation.