Under Illinois state law, people are generally responsible for any harm that their pets cause to others. Whether a person has a dog, cat or a less conventional type of pet, he or she can be held legally accountable if that animal bites or attacks another person. This is true as long as the victim was in a place that he or she had a right to be and was acting peacefully at the time of the incident.
In a fairly recent case that took place in Godfrey, Illinois, a pet monkey bit a young child on the arm. The 6-year-old boy did recover from his injuries, and the pet’s owner is being held accountable.
The boy was bitten by the animal in a park in June 2012. According to a news report, the monkey was actually walking a dog in a park shortly before attacking the child. The boy tried to pet the dog, and the monkey then bit the child.
The owner of both the monkey and the dog later told a sheriff’s sergeant that the monkey had bitten her several times in the past..
Late last month, a Madison County Circuit Court ruled that the monkey had to be turned over to the state under Illinois’ Dangerous Animals Act. The St. Louis Zoo is apparently going to assist in transporting the monkey to a facility.
In addition to this consequence, the pet owner is up against a personal injury lawsuit from the injured boy’s parents. When people are bitten by pets in Illinois, it is often possible to hold the pet’s owner accountable for medical expenses, pain and suffering and any other damages.
While this case is somewhat unusual, it shares similarities with very typical dog bite cases. Children are the most common victims of dog bites, and they are often attacked when they are trying to pet dogs that are unknown to them. Parents should discourage their children from petting strange dogs, but it is often ultimately up to dog owners to control their pets and ensure that anyone who encounters them will be safe. When people are injured by dog bites or animal attacks, they generally have the right to pursue compensation.
Source: Herald Review, “State takes control of monkey that bit 6-year-old,” Paul Hampel, July 1, 2013