Is there a perceived dangerous dog in your neighborhood? Perhaps your neighbor has a dog that strains at his tether and snarls when people walk by. Maybe the dog growls and bars his teeth when guests come to the door. Both these behaviors can be viewed as threatening, but are they dangerous?

Under Illinois dog bite law, there are two ways a dog can be considered a “dangerous dog" in Illinois:

  • While the dog is off the owner’s property and unleashed, unmuzzled, or otherwise not under control of its owner, the dog behaves in a way that would make a reasonable person believe there is a serious threat of injury or death to a person or animal.
  • An unprovoked dog has bitten a person without causing serious physical injury.

In the Village of Gurnee, any adult may call the Gurnee police department to report a dangerous dog. Lake County residents outside of Gurnee may call Lake County Animal Care and Control at 847-949-9925. The police department will investigate the report and interview the owner. If there is a reason to believe the dog is a threat, the officer may impound the dog at the owner’s expense until there a hearing about the dog’s status. Both the owner and the person filing the complaint may participate in the hearing.

If the dog is determined to be dangerous, the owner must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog from the Village of Gurnee. The registration must be renewed every year. In order to receive the certificate, the dog owner must show that he has a proper enclosure for the dog and that the premises have been posted with signs warning of the dangerous dog. If unaltered, the dog must be spayed or neutered at the owner’s expense and fitted with an identifying microchip. State law requires that the dog owner also pay a $50 public safety fine to be deposited into the Pet Population Control Fund

There may be additional requirements such as obedience training or muzzling the dog. A dog determined to be dangerous under Illinois law may not leave the premises of the owner unless the dog is leashed or otherwise under owner control.

Illinois dangerous dog laws are minimum standards; cities and villages may have additional requirements. If you are bitten by a dog, it’s important that your attorney be familiar with dog bite ordinances in Lake County and the Village of Gurnee as well as Illinois dog bite laws.

The lawyers at Hupy and Abraham have the experience you need. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 866-625-2299. Learn more about dog bites in our free dog bites brochure.


Jason F. Abraham
Connect with me
Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.