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"If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.
510 ILCS 5/16
In many cases, the owner of the animal can be held responsible. Liability for dog bites is usually covered by homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Even if the dog has never bit anyone before, the owner of the dog is liable for the injuries his animal causes under Illinois Law.
Under the common law, a dog owner would not be responsible unless he had advance knowledge that the dog might be dangerous. The became known as "The One Bite Rule." Under that rule of law, the first bite was "free," but after that the owner would then be on notice of the dog's dangerous propensities. Liability could then be imposed if the same dog bit somebody else.
Under current Illinois law, the dog owner can be held liable even for the first time it bites or injures someone. The Illinois Animal Control Act imposes liability upon the dog owner for any unprovoked attack or injury. Provocation is the only defense.