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How Chicago deals with dangerous dogs

  • Inside Chicago's dangerous dog ordinances
Inside Chicago's dangerous dog ordinances
January 04, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, RedEye

Chicago's municipal code defines so-called dangerous dogs, mandates restrictions on them and imposes penalties on irresponsible dog owners. Here's a breakdown.

Leash ordinance

Letter of the law: It's illegal for animals to be outside their owners' property lines without a leash—unless the animal is a dog at a dog park.

Violations: If no one is severely injured or killed and there is no property damage, the fine is $300. If someone is severely injured or killed, owners face fines of $1,000-$10,000 and the possibility of jail time and community service. Fines for property damage range from $300-$1,000.

Dangerous animal ordinance

Letter of the law: The city defines a dangerous animal as any that "bites, inflicts injury on, kills or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on any public or private property." Also included in the definition are animals that chase or approach a person in "an apparent attitude of attack" on more than one occasion without provocation and animals that are owned or trained for the purpose of animal fighting, or used as guard dogs.

Violations: An animal control officer declares whether an animal is dangerous, the consequences of which vary depending on the severity of the animal's offense. The animal can be put down if it kills or severely injures a human or other animal. If it is not, its owner must get a dangerous animal license for an annual fee of $100, have a microchip installed under the animal's skin, have it sterilized and secure liability insurance on it for at least $100,000. Penalties for violating these and other rules range from $500-$1,000 and impoundment of the animal.

Bite ordinance

Letter of the law: Owners must notify the Animal Care and Control Commission within 24 hours of their animal biting another animal or person. The consequences for the animal vary depending on whether it caused severe injury or death to the other party and whether it has had its rabies shots. They include home confinement, vet observation and impoundment.

Violations: Owners face fines of $300-$500 and the possibility of jail time. The impounded animal fee is $150. | @lvivanco

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