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Robinson v. Meadows - 203 Ill. App. 3d 706, 148 Ill. Dec. 805, 561 N.E.2d 111 (1990)

Rule:

Section 16 of the Animal Control Act, codified at Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 8, para. 366 (1985), states if a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in damages to such person for the full amount of the injury sustained.

Facts:

Plaintiff filed an action against defendant dog owner to recover damages for her injuries based on § 16 of the Animal Control Act. Plaintiff accompanied her mother when her mother paid a social call to the dog owner's home. Plaintiff was attacked by defendant’s dog viciously after her frightened scream, leaving her with serious scars and a permanent shortening of her lip. The jury entered a verdict in favor of the defendant. Plaintiff sought review.

Issue:

Does plaintiff’s scream constitute provocation that preclude her from recovering damages from the defendant dog owner?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that the evidence so overwhelmingly favored the injured that no contrary verdict based on it could ever stand. The court held that no "provocation" existed within the meaning of § 16 of the Animal Control Act because the vicious attack was out of all proportion to the unintentional act involved. While the injured's frightened scream certainly triggered the attack, that scream could not be regarded under any reasonable standard as sufficient to account for the savagery of the dog's assault.

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