Illinois’s dog laws encompass a variety of issues, many of which are intended to keep others safe from potentially dangerous or vicious dogs. They cover vaccination, leash laws and dictate owner liability if dogs inflict harm on another individual, whether by biting or other means. If you’re bitten, a personal injury attorney in Crystal Lake can review the laws to determine how they apply to your case.


According to the Illinois Animal Control Act, every dog older than four months must be vaccinated for rabies. Within a year of its first vaccination, the dog must undergo a second one, and then the owner must stay in compliance with USDA licenses of the vaccines used. A licensed veterinarian must always administer vaccines.

Once a dog has been inoculated against rabies, Illinois’s dog laws require that it wears a state-issued tag noting the completed vaccination and the year when it was done. In Illinois, a rabies inoculation is required for a dog to be approved for microchipping.


In accordance with the Animal Control Act, all dangerous dogs – those who present a reasonable threat of imminent danger or who, without provocation, bite or attack – in Illinois must be leashed when in public. If a dog is found running freely, the county’s animal control department can pick it up and impounded it. If impounded, the owner will be required to pay a $25 fine to retrieve the pet.

If a dog is found running freely a second time, and it has not been spayed or neutered, the animal will be required to undergo the procedure within 30 days of being reclaimed by their owner. If this has not been done within the required time frame, the dog may be impounded again according to Illinois’s dog laws.


In the event a dog bites another person, a licensed veterinarian must be notified, and the dog then may be ordered to be kept under the veterinarian’s observation for a period of 10 days. Once this period ends, the veterinarian must produce a report outlining a final assessment of the dog and its behavior. If the dog was inoculated properly for rabies, the veterinarian may deem it safe for the 10-day observation period to occur in the owner’s home. If this is the case, the dog must be evaluated following the 10th day by a licensed veterinarian.

Under the Animal Control Act, dog owners are not permitted to sell, give away or euthanize a dog after it has bitten a person until a veterinarian has evaluated it properly. Additionally, any costs incurred due to the bite, including veterinary costs, are the responsibility of the owner. The owner also must pay a $25 fine to the Department of Public Health per Illinois’s dog laws.

Liability for Bites 

When a dog bites a person, the dog’s owner isn’t just responsible for fines and veterinary bills, but he or she also can be held liable for any civil damages the victim claims. According to the Animal Control Act, section 16, if a dog attacks or attempts to attack a person without provocation, the owner is liable for the full amount of the injury.

Under Illinois dog laws, a dog owner could owe damages for the victim’s medical bills, treatment costs and other expenses related to the injury. If the injury has rendered the victim unable to work, he or she also could owe the victim lost income, benefits and more.

A Personal Injury Attorney in Crystal Lake Can Help

The state has many more laws regarding dangerous or vicious dogs – and dogs in general – though these are the most commonly utilized. If you have questions regarding dog laws in your area or need help learning about a dog bite-related issue, contact a personal injury attorney in Crystal Lake at Franks & Rechenberg at (847) 854-7700 for a consultation where you can go over the Illinois dog laws and how they may apply to your case.