The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Illinois Dog Bite Law; Unknowingly Adopting a Vicious Dog

If you’ve ever visited an animal shelter, you’ve probably seen plenty of cute dogs you’d love to adopt. But when you adopt an animal, you are never too sure of the animal’s past. You pretty much have to rely on what the people at the shelter tell you. So you could potentially adopt a family pet, and later find out that your pet is in fact a vicious dog that could expose you to Illinois dog bite law.

While this scenario may seem a little far-flung, it actually happened in Kendall County.

The Kendall County Animal Control shelter had planned to euthanize a dog who had bitten three people. But in the process of putting the dog down, there was a mix-up and the wrong dog was euthanized. Sometime later, a couple adopted the dog -- just days after the dog attacked a six-year old at the shelter.

As the animal control administrator was not aware of the mix-up at the time of adoption, it can be safe to assume that the couple was not warned that the dog they were adopting was a vicious dog.

The county is now attempting to take back the vicious dog. However, adopters may be left wondering just what kind of animal they adopted. Adopters only know so much as the shelter workers tell them. If a shelter worker gives misinformation on an animal, a potential adopter has no way to verify the information.

And unfortunately, Illinois dog bite law imposes strict liability. That means you will be held responsible for the dog regardless of your own negligence or error. So you would be liable for your vicious dog even if the shelter made the mistake.

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