Oak Park Dog Bite Attorneys
The Oak Park Dog Bite Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. represent the victims and family members of those injured as a result of being attacked by a dog or other animal. Located to the immediate west of the city of Chicago, Oak Park is a community known for its most compelling asset—its people. With more than 13,000 families residing in village of less than 52,000 residents, Oak Park has become a desirable place for those wishing to raise a family outside the hectic city-life, while still maintaining close proximity and ease of access to downtown Chicago. Given its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, where neighbors help and look after one another, it is no surprise that child-rearing, senior living, and pet ownership are some of the most common pleasures enjoyed by residents.
Pets in particular, are important part of many of Oak Park’s 22,000 households. However, as noted on the village website, “along with the companionship they provide come responsibilities for the owner to ensure the health and safety of the pet and the community.” Like most other family-friendly Chicago suburbs, Oak Park has detailed regulations regarding the ownership of dogs, and other animals. Consequently, while Oak Park invites its residents to partake in the joys of pet ownership, it also encourages responsible ownership. As stated in Oak Park’s Village Code:
“It is the purpose of the Village of Oak Park to protect animals from neglect and abuse, to protect residents from annoyance and injury by animals, to assist in providing housing for animals in the custody of the Village, to cover the cost of licensing and caring for animals and to establish a program to discourage the excessive multiplication of animals.”
As personal injury attorneys, we find that educating the public, by ensuring that residents know their right, duties, and obligations of pet ownership in Oak Park, is an essential component to the prevention of dog bites and animal attacks. Outlined below are some key portions of Oak Park’s Animal Ordinance:
- License: The owner of a dog, aged 4 months or older, or of a cat that is permitted to run at large, must obtain a license within 10 days of becoming a resident of Oak Park, which requires written application, proof of rabies vaccination, and payment of license fee.
- Non -Resident Exception : Animals belonging to nonresidents are exempt from the licensing requirement, provided that (1) the animal is not a vicious or dangerous dog; (2) the animal’s presence is only temporary; (3) the animal is licensed in the jurisdiction where the owner resides, if required; and (4) all other provisions of Oak Park’s animal ordinances are complied with.
- Leash: Dogs must be controlled by a leash, which is no longer than 8 feet, whenever upon any public street, sidewalk, parkway, public area or unenclosed premises within the village. The Park District of Oak Park offers two areas—Maple Park Dog Park and Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex Dog Park—where dogs can run off a leash. [Note: Dog Park Pass required].
- Limitation on Quantity of Animals: The maximum number of animals that may be lawfully kept or permitted in a particular household depends on the type of residence, as follows:
- Single Family Residence: 3 dogs / 2 cats (if allowed to run at large) / 4 cats (if not allowed outdoors) /10 animal max (excluding fish)
- Dwelling of a 2 or 3 Flat Residential Building: 2 dogs / 1 cat (if allowed to run at large) / 2 cats (if not allowed outdoors) / 5 animal max (excluding fish)
- Multi-Family Residential Building of 4 or more Units: 1 dog / 1 cat (if allowed to run at large) / 2 cats (if not allowed outdoors) / 5 animal max (excluding fish)
- Animals Prohibited in Certain Places: With the exception to service animals; animals used by law enforcement; animals presented in exhibit; and animals participating in obedience training, Oak Park prohibits any animal, even though on a leash to:
- Be in or enter any public building, food establishment, or any store within the village whenever said places are open for use by the public (except a store for the sale or treatment of animals)
- Go or be upon any school premises or Village maintained playground, including a path or sidewalk extending through or within these areas.
- Miscellaneous Prohibitions: No dog owner shall permit their animal to (1) Run at large, except where permitted (dog parks, outdoor cats that have been licensed); (2) Deposit excreta outside the owner’s premises, unless such excreta is removed and disposed sanitarily; (3) Molest persons or vehicles by chasing, barking, or biting; (4) Attack other animals; (5) Damage property other than that of the owner; (6) Bark, whine, or howl excessively; or (7) Create noxious or offensive odors.
In addition to the regulations discussed above, Oak Park also places restrictions on dangerous and vicious dogs, as set forth in the Village Code, including special license, identification and signage conditions, as well as enclosure, tethering, liability insurance requirements. When necessary to protect the safety of the public, the Village may seek to have a vicious dog euthanized.
It is important that animal owners, particularly those with dogs, understand the legal distinction between code violations and civil liability, in terms of potential consequences. Failure to comply with the Village Code can result in the imposition of fines/fees, special conditions, and/or the animal being euthanized. However, where a dog causes injury or damage to a person, property, or animal of another, the owner can be held civilly liable for the attack, in addition to the penalties imposed by a municipality.
If you or a loved one were bitten or attacked by a dog, your property was destroyed, or you have questions or concerns over a dangerous or vicious dog in your community, the Oak Park Dog Bite Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. encourage you to contact us, either online, or by calling 773-516-4100. As always, we offer Free personal injury consultation in all personal injury matters.