Palos Heights Dog Bite Attorneys

The Dog Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of Palos Heights’ detailed Animal Ordinance, and encourage residents to do the same.

With a small population of approximately 12,500 residents, Palo Heights is a picturesque community located in Cook County, Illinois, known as one of the most desirable places to live in Chicagoland, due to its ‘quiet, tree-shaded neighborhoods of well-kept homes and lush parklands.’ As stated on the city’s website, ‘[f]rom its name to its designation as an official Tree City, Palos Heights personifies peace, serenity and beauty.’ Given the unique splendor of this quaint community, it is no surprise that the city is strictly governed so as to preserve its many wondrous characteristics.

In addition to licensing, vaccination, leashing, and limitation to four domestic pets, Palos Heights’ Code of Ordinances sets forth stringent regulations concerning specific classifications of domestic animals, such as dangerous or vicious dogs. While there is only a slight variation from other Chicago suburbs, in the manner in which a ‘dangerous dog’ is defined in Palos Heights (given that it cites to state law- ILCS Ch. 510 Act 5, § 15), there are notable distinctions in Palos Heights’ classifications of ‘vicious dogs.’

In understanding this distinction, it is helpful to begin with the definition of ‘dangerous dogs,’ provided with §91.02 of Palos Heights’ City Ordinance:

DANGEROUS ANIMAL.  An animal meeting any of the following criteria:

  1. Any animal that bites, inflicts injury on, kills, or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on any public or private property;
  2. Any animal that, without provocation, chases or approaches any person in an apparent attitude of attack, on any public property or in any place outside or over the boundaries of its owner's property;
  3. Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog or other animal fighting or any animal trained for dog or other animal fighting;
  4. Any guard dog that is used to watch public or private property, except those owned by a governmental or law enforcement unit; or
  5. Any dog that has been found to be a vicious dog under the provisions of state, county, or city law.

Where Palos Heights differs from many other Chicagoland communities (and state law), is that a dog may be designated as a ‘vicious dog’, even if it has not been deemed ‘dangerous’ on prior occasion(s). Rather, a ‘vicious dog’ determination may result upon a single instance in which a dog demonstrates aggressive or menacing behavior towards humans or other domestic animals. As defined in §91.02 of Palos Heights’ City Ordinance:

VICIOUS DOG.  Any individual dog that exhibits extremely aggressive, menacing behavior toward humans or domestic pets and must be kept or confined to prevent injury or death to humans or pets.

Although the owner of a dog that is subject to a vicious dog classification, as a result of an request submitted by either an officer or adult person, is entitled to a hearing prior to such designation, it is important to observe the criteria to be considered at the hearing, as set forth in 91.41(D)(2), which provides:

Criteria to be considered at the hearing shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Provocation;
  2. Severity of attack or injury to a person or domestic animal;
  3. Previous aggressive history of the dog;
  4. Site and circumstances of the incident; and
  5. Statements from interested parties.

As animal lovers, the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. can certainly understand where the designation of a vicious animal may not be appropriate based upon a single instance. However, we also recognize that it only takes one dog attack incident to cause serious injury to either a human or another animal. Consequently, it is necessary to appreciate that the ordinance serves the ‘greater good’ of the community by preserving the safety of its residents.

By placing yourself in the position of a victim to a dog bite or dog attack, it is easier to acknowledge the overall benefits gained by Palos Heights’ residents in the stringent manner in which this 3.88 square mile city is governed. As Palos Heights dog bite attorneys, we have witnessed the unfortunate consequences that can result in a dog attack. Beyond enduring the initial attack, victims often suffer scarring, disfigurement, infection, in addition to a life-long fear of dogs prompted by the sheer emotional trauma of the incident. We sympathize with these victims, and we want to help seek the justice and compensation deserved.

When a victim of a dog attack sustains serious injury or fatality, it is important to discuss your legal rights and options with a personal injury or wrongful death attorney that is experienced in handling cases associated with animal attacks.

Contact the Palos Heights Dog Bite and Animal Attack Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. today, online or at 773-516-4100, to set up your FREE personal injury consultation.

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