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Illinois Leash Laws

Posted on March 29, 2022 in

Dog owners have several responsibilities in Illinois. They need to provide adequate food, shelter, and medical treatment for their animals. They must ensure that their dogs do not bite or injure humans or other animals. Most importantly, dog owners must comply with leash ordinances.

In Illinois, leash laws can vary from municipality to municipality. If you are walking a dog in public, it is important to comply with these rules to avoid safety risks and potential penalties.

The Importance of Leash Laws

Leash laws define when an owner must keep their animal on a leash, as well as off-leash areas where owners can allow pets to run free. While these laws may seem restrictive, they are in place for many reasons.

  • Leashes prevent dogs from running away and getting lost or hurt.
  • By using a leash, dogs cannot wander and contract potentially deadly infections.
  • Dogs that are aggressive or skittish could harm or be harmed by another person or animal.
  • Without leashes and collars, a person may mistake a dog as a stray and steal it or take it to a shelter.

Chicago Leash Laws

According to the Chicago Municipal Code, all dog owners must contain their animals while traveling outside of the owner’s premises. An owner can contain his or her dog by leashing it, carrying it in a crate, or placing it inside of a vehicle.

If the dog is on private property, the law does not require the owner to use a leash. However, Chicago’s Animal Control Act requires owners to ensure that the area is secured so that the animal cannot leave the premises.

In cases where the owner visits a city park, he or she must comply with the park’s leashing laws. All Chicago District parks have strict leash laws and require owners to restrain their animals. However, there are some dog-friendly areas that allow off-leash dogs, as long as their owners have the proper permits.

Penalties for Failure to Comply with Illinois Leash Laws

If a dog owner does not properly leash his or her animal, he or she could face significant repercussions. Municipal codes establish penalties for failure to comply with their respective leash laws.

For example, a Chicago dog owner could face the following penalties for violating leash laws.

  • A minimum fine of $300 if the dog does not injure a person or property
  • A fine between $300 and $1,000 plus the cost of repairs if the animal damages property
  • A fine between $300 and $10,000 plus potential jail time or community service if the dog bites or attacks another person

Dog owners could also face civil lawsuits if their dog attacks or bites another person without provocation. Because Illinois follows a strict liability statute for dog bites, an owner is always liable if his or her dog bites a person who is on public property or lawfully on private property.

Through a dog bite lawsuit, a victim could hold the owner liable for his or her medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, regardless of negligence. If you are injured by an off-leash dog in Illinois, it is important to consult with a Chicago dog bite attorney as soon as possible.

A personal injury attorney can guide you through your claim and help you hold the owner accountable for the animal’s actions. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible following the attack to discuss your next steps.