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Dog attacks pits Illinois pet owners against each other

Posted on in Premises Liability

It must be true what they say about man&s best friend. Two former neighbors in Milton Township, Illinois were friends for 17 years but after a recent fight between their two dogs, the two are siding with the dogs. The incident occurred when one neighbor&s 13-year-old akita escaped through the front door and ended up in a fight with the other neighbor&s shih tzu. The shih tzu lost his right eye in the fight.

The owner of the akita paid for the shih tzu&s medical bills through her insurance company. But the shih tzu&s owner is not satisfied. The owner is a magician and uses the shih tzu in his acts and he says that the injury impacts his business.

The incident is still under investigation. Authorities in DuPage County are somewhat limited in what they can do but if a dog is found "dangerous", they can force owners to muzzle the animal and keep it on a short leash when off property. The next step is to make a "vicious dog" declaration, which means a dog has received three findings of being "dangerous."

Dangerous animals are not just a concern for other pets. Property owners are also responsible to any guests and invitees on their property through the theory of premises liability. If an owner know that a dog has a history or biting or attacking, and the dog subsequently hurts someone on the property, then the injured victim will have a course of action against the owner of the property and pet. Owners also have a responsibility to warn of dangerous animals.

Dog bites are big problem in Illinois. According to data from State Farm insurance agency, Illinois is the second worse state for dog bites. State Farm alone paid $9 million in 2012 to cover dog bite claims. Anyone injured from a dog or similar domestic animal should speak with a Chicago premises liability attorney to discuss options on how to recover damages.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Dog bite, sign dispute pits neighbors against each other,"Quon Truong, July 18, 2013

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