Is it provocation when walking my dog on the sidewalk, if a jogger came from behind us which caused my dog to bite.

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Is it provocation when walking my dog on the sidewalk, if a jogger came from behind us which caused my dog to bite.

If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself 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. Provocation is a question of whether the plaintiff’s actions would provoke the dog, in the mind of the dog. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove lack of provocation and not on the defendant to prove provocation as an affirmative defense.

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Personal Injury, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, jogging would almost certainly NOT be considered provocation: the jogger is simply exercising his/her own right to use the streets, and has a reasonable expectation to be free from animal attacks. Provocation is typically teasing the animal; attacking the animal; touching or grabbing it without permission; etc. If you dog is so unpredictable or viscious that it may bite someone simply jogging by, then you likely would be liable for bringing it out in public without a muzzle, since such would be negligent or careless behavior, in addition to the normal grounds for which a dog owner may be liable.


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