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Dog attack creates questions of property liabilty

Posted on in Premises Liability

People generally try to keep their homes safe, even if it&s simply for their own health and safety, or to protect their family. But homeowners and property owners also need to keep their land safe for others who enter their property and should take into account any guests and visitors.

Premises liability is a real issue and it is a property owner&s responsibility to maintain the appropriate safety standards. This includes restraining any dangerous, or potentially dangerous animals. Unfortunately for one 9-year-old boy in Illinois, his neighbors didn&t necessarily take this responsibility too seriously.

The boy went to the hospital following a dog attack in his neighbor&s yard. The local Peoria animal protective services are looking into the incident and plan to release more information once the investigation is complete.

According to officials, the American Bulldog that attacked the boy did not have current vaccinations or registration. The owners of the dog can either petition to have the dog returned to them or they can give over their rights to the dog to animal services. In the latter scenario, animals services could decide to put down the dog, following proceedings, and would no longer need the owner&s consent.

The city council is acting in response to the incident and would like to implement an ordinance dealing with vicious dogs. The hope is to reduce the occurrence of similar attacks. Although people generally understand that they are responsible for their animals, an ordinance would clearly establish the rules for care of pets and proper restraints.

Even without an ordinance in place, the boy and his parents could claim damages from the neighbors in order to help pay for medical bills and expenses. If it is determined that the owners breached their duty as property owners then they would be liable for those damages. In situations like these, it might be helpful to seek the advice of a Chicago premises liability attorney or other similarly situated lawyer, to best understand the options available and how to proceed.

Source: Peoria Journal Star, "Boy, 9, attacked by dog in Peoria," Matt Buedel, May 31, 2013

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