If your neighbor’s dog bites you or someone in your family, you may reject the notion that a dog is man’s best friend. 

Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, you may have recourse if someone’s dog injures you or attacks your beloved pet. 

You may file a complaint against a reckless dog owner

You may have the right to file a complaint against a reckless dog owner. A reckless dog owner is an individual who owns a dog that kills another dog under certain conditions: 

  • The attacking dog was not provoked, and there is no justification for the incident. 
  • The attacked dog was not trespassing. 
  • Prior incidents and warning signs indicate that the dog causing harm is dangerous. Such incidents and signs may include the dog running at large twice within 12 months of the attack, biting a person without justification or behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would find threatening. 

You may recover damages from the animal’s owner

You may seek civil damages from the owner of a dog or any other animal that attacks, attempts to attack or injures you or a family member. State law does not condition compensation on the owner knowing that his or her animal was dangerous. 

However, you are responsible for your own behavior. To recover damages, you must be acting peaceably and not taking actions intended to provoke an incident. In addition, an animal’s owner may not have liability for your injuries if you are trespassing. 

If an animal harms you, your damages may include a claim for medical expenses. If you miss work as you recover from your injuries, you may also seek lost wages. In addition to these out-of-pocket costs, you may also seek damages for emotional distress or pain and suffering.