§ 5/15. Vicious dog determination
5/15. Vicious dog determination
§ 15. (a) In order to have a dog deemed “vicious”, the Administrator, Deputy Administrator, or law enforcement officer must give notice of the infraction that is the basis of the investigation to the owner, conduct a thorough investigation, interview any witnesses, including the owner, gather any existing medical records, veterinary medical records or behavioral evidence, and make a detailed report recommending a finding that the dog is a vicious dog and give the report to the States Attorney's Office and the owner. The Administrator, State's Attorney, Director or any citizen of the county in which the dog exists may file a complaint in the circuit court in the name of the People of the State of Illinois to deem a dog to be a vicious dog. Testimony of a certified applied behaviorist, a board certified veterinary behaviorist, or another recognized expert may be relevant to the court's determination of whether the dog's behavior was justified. The petitioner must prove the dog is a vicious dog by clear and convincing evidence. The Administrator shall determine where the animal shall be confined during the pendency of the case.
A dog may not be declared vicious if the court determines the conduct of the dog was justified because:
(1) the threat, injury, or death was sustained by a person who at the time was committing a crime or offense upon the owner or custodian of the dog, or was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises or property owned or occupied by the owner of the animal;
(2) the injured, threatened, or killed person was abusing, assaulting, or physically threatening the dog or its offspring, or has in the past abused, assaulted, or physically threatened the dog or its offspring; or
(3) the dog was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its owner, custodian, or member of its household, kennel, or offspring.
No dog shall be deemed “vicious” if it is a professionally trained dog for law enforcement or guard duties. Vicious dogs shall not be classified in a manner that is specific as to breed.
If the burden of proof has been met, the court shall deem the dog to be a vicious dog.
If a dog is found to be a vicious dog, the owner shall pay a $100 public safety fine to be deposited into the Pet Population Control Fund, the dog shall be spayed or neutered within 10 days of the finding at the expense of its owner and microchipped, if not already, and the dog is subject to enclosure. If an owner fails to comply with these requirements, the animal control agency shall impound the dog and the owner shall pay a $500 fine plus impoundment fees to the animal control agency impounding the dog. The judge has the discretion to order a vicious dog be euthanized. A dog found to be a vicious dog shall not be released to the owner until the Administrator, an Animal Control Warden, or the Director approves the enclosure. No owner or keeper of a vicious dog shall sell or give away the dog without approval from the Administrator or court. Whenever an owner of a vicious dog relocates, he or she shall notify both the Administrator of County Animal Control where he or she has relocated and the Administrator of County Animal Control where he or she formerly resided.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any dog which has been found to be a vicious dog unless the dog is kept in an enclosure. The only times that a vicious dog may be allowed out of the enclosure are (1) if it is necessary for the owner or keeper to obtain veterinary care for the dog, (2) in the case of an emergency or natural disaster where the dog's life is threatened, or (3) to comply with the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that the dog is securely muzzled and restrained with a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length, and shall be under the direct control and supervision of the owner or keeper of the dog or muzzled in its residence.
Any dog which has been found to be a vicious dog and which is not confined to an enclosure shall be impounded by the Administrator, an Animal Control Warden, or the law enforcement authority having jurisdiction in such area.
If the owner of the dog has not appealed the impoundment order to the circuit court in the county in which the animal was impounded within 15 working days, the dog may be euthanized.
Upon filing a notice of appeal, the order of euthanasia shall be automatically stayed pending the outcome of the appeal. The owner shall bear the burden of timely notification to animal control in writing.
Guide dogs for the blind or hearing impaired, support dogs for the physically handicapped, accelerant detection dogs, and sentry, guard, or police-owned dogs are exempt from this Section; provided, an attack or injury to a person occurs while the dog is performing duties as expected. To qualify for exemption under this Section, each such dog shall be currently inoculated against rabies in accordance with Section 8 of this Act. It shall be the duty of the owner of such exempted dog to notify the Administrator of changes of address. In the case of a sentry or guard dog, the owner shall keep the Administrator advised of the location where such dog will be stationed. The Administrator shall provide police and fire departments with a categorized list of such exempted dogs, and shall promptly notify such departments of any address changes reported to him.
(c) If the animal control agency has custody of the dog, the agency may file a petition with the court requesting that the owner be ordered to post security. The security must be in an amount sufficient to secure payment of all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred by the animal control agency or animal shelter in caring for and providing for the dog pending the determination. Reasonable expenses include, but are not limited to, estimated medical care and boarding of the animal for 30 days. If security has been posted in accordance with this Section, the animal control agency may draw from the security the actual costs incurred by the agency in caring for the dog.
(d) Upon receipt of a petition, the court must set a hearing on the petition, to be conducted within 5 business days after the petition is filed. The petitioner must serve a true copy of the petition upon the defendant.
(e) If the court orders the posting of security, the security must be posted with the clerk of the court within 5 business days after the hearing. If the person ordered to post security does not do so, the dog is forfeited by operation of law and the animal control agency must dispose of the animal through adoption or humane euthanization.