Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Animal Law

People love their pets. However, sometimes things go wrong. In particular, dogs bite people, causing significant injuries.

In Illinois, and nationwide, dog-bite claims are on the rise. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than one third of homeowner insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015 ( In Illinois, this is due, in part, to the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/1, et seq.).

In some jurisdictions, there is the "one free bite rule" - a dog owner may not be liable for damages caused by a dog bite if the dog has never bitten a person before. Not so in Illinois. The Act creates heightened liability for dog owners. It provides that if a dog or other animal attacks, attempts to attack, or injures a person without provocation, then the owner is liable for the full amount of any injuries sustained (510 ILCS 5/16.5). This heightened liability is designed to "encourage tight control of animals in order to protect the public from harm." Hayes v. Adams, 2013 IL App (2d) 120681, ¶ 12.

This heightened liability naturally leads to more dog-bite claims. According to State Farm, it paid out $14 million across 323 dog-related claims in Illinois in 2016 ( Illinois ranked second only to California on the company's Top 10 list for dog-bite claims.

Find out more, including what the "reasonable dog" standard is, in the June Illinois Bar Journal.

Don’t miss ISBA’s 8th Annual Animal Law Conference in Chicago or via live webcast on March 3, 2017. It features not only the leading areas of interest in the day-to-day practice of law concerning animals, but also avails the attendee of some of the nation’s top experts in specific animal law areas. Family law attorneys, municipal law practitioners, local government counsel, and animal law lawyers – with all levels of practice experience – who attend this seminar will better understand: how animal law and environmental law areas intersect; what animal law can learn from environmental law; what Chicago Tribune reporters David Jackson and Gary Marx learned during their research on agricultural animal abuse in Illinois; the controversy between community cat advocates and environmentalists concerned with the predatory nature of cats; how mediation can help address the family pet and family farm issues that can arise during a divorce; the current state of affairs on animal crime prosecution in Illinois; how prepared Illinois is to protect our pets during a natural disaster, as well as the legal considerations of disaster response for animals; the ethical issues that can arise in animal law cases; and much more!

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Animal Law Section and qualifies for 7.0 hours MCLE credit, including 2.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Don’t miss this opportunity on June 7th to discuss the hottest topics currently under debate in the animal law arena – from the use of therapy dogs in the courts and methods for alternative dispute resolution, to animal shelter laws and some of the most high profile issues in animal advocacy, including puppy mills, farm animal welfare, and captive wildlife regulations. Attorneys with a strong interest in the growing area of animal advocacy and the practice of animal law – as well as practitioners who may find themselves with just one or two matters concerning a conflict involving animals – who attend this full-day seminar gain a better understanding of: how courts across the country have implemented the use of therapy dogs; which efforts should be implemented in an effort to stop the damaging practices of some animal breeding establishments; how alternative dispute resolution can help resolve animal conflicts with greater emotional comfort and stability; how the Humane Society of the U.S. has helped protect laboratory chimps; how the Zanesville incident influenced the enactment of Ohio’s new Dangerous Wild Animal Act; which laws and regulations apply to the various functions of local animal shelters, all-breed shelters, and breed rescues; the new developments in the farm animal arena, including egg production and swine gestation crates; and the unique ethical issues and concerns an attorney may face when representing an animal law case.

No matter what area of law you practice, animals are increasingly the subject of legislation and litigation. Join us in Chicago on June 8th for an opportunity to discuss the existing regulation of exotic animals in Illinois and neighboring states (especially in light of recent events in Zanesville, Ohio); recent developments in farm animal welfare; enforcing Illinois’ neglect/cruelty provisions in equine cases; estate planning for companion animals; procedural and substantive due process in animal regulation matters; and much more! Ethical considerations for animal law practitioners are also included. Attorneys working in the animal law, environmental law, agricultural law, and commercial transaction areas (with all levels of practice experience) will benefit from attending this full-day seminar. Can’t attend the live, on-site program in Chicago? Then join us on the web! This program will be broadcast live via the Internet so that attorneys can attend remotely.

The program is presented by the ISBA Animal Law Section and qualifies for 7.5 hours MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register for the program in CHICAGO.