Illinois Dog Laws

Dog Bites | November 30, 2020

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet in the United States. However, dog bites can cause significant injuries. There are various laws regarding dogs and dog bite incidents that you need to be aware of in Illinois. Here, our Chicago dog bite lawyers want to discuss some of these laws and how they can affect you as a dog owner.
Illinois Dog Bite Law

What happens if your dog bites someone in Illinois?

Dog bite liability is typically handled in one of two ways throughout the United States. Some states follow a negligence theory, while others follow a strict liability theory. In a negligence theory state, a dog owner will only be held liable for dog bite injuries if their negligence allowed the bite to happen. However, Illinois operates under a strict liability dog bite statute. This means that a dog owner can be held liable for any injuries that occur if their dog bites somebody else, regardless of whether or not they were negligent or whether or not the dog has ever been aggressive before. In other words, you can be held directly responsible for any injuries your dog causes if they bite somebody else.

How many dogs can you have in Illinois?

There is no statewide law about how many dogs you can have in Illinois. Rather, each county and municipality is allowed to set their own laws regarding this number. You need to check with your local county or city animal control office about how many pets you are allowed to have at one time.

Is it illegal to not pick up dog poop in Illinois?

Aside from it being common sense and common courtesy to pick up your dog’s waste, dog owners could actually face significant fines for failing to pick up after their pets. While there is no statewide law in Illinois that requires dog owners to pick up pet excrement, various municipalities have their own laws regarding this issue. When we turn to Chicago Municipal Code §7-12-420, we can see that Chicago residents could face a fine of not less than $50 and up to $500 every time they fail to remove excrement left by their dog in a public location.

The bottom line is that you need to pick up after your pets. Nobody wants to step in dog mess when they are out walking, and it does not take more than 10 seconds to clean up after little Fido or Bella.

Is there a leash law in Illinois?

Although it may seem like a freeing experience for a dog, letting a pet roam off of their leash increases the chance that the dog will be injured. This also increases the chances that another individual will be bitten by the dog. It is the responsibility of a dog owner to keep their pet from causing harm to others. Leash laws vary from place to place in Illinois, and there is no universal state leash law. In Chicago, the municipal code dictates that dog owners keep their pets leashed when outside of the owner’s premises.

Unless otherwise noted, or unless on private property, dog owners need to ensure that their pets remain on a leash at all times. Dog parks often have certain areas where people are allowed to take their dog off of a leash, but dog owners should only do so if they are certain that their dog will behave appropriately.

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