For dog bite prevention week, State Farm Insurance and the US postal service release dog bite statistics and each year, Illinois and Chicago are at the top of those lists.
According to the postal service, Chicago ranks third on the list of worst cities for postal service dog attacks. Last year, Chicago ranked 13th.
Illinois ranks second to California on State Farm's top ten states for dog bite insurance payouts, a place it held last year as well.
However, with a population that is roughly a third of California's, Illinois' payout is 37% larger than California's when adjusted for population, putting Illinois solidly in the number one payout position. On top of that, Illinois is among the bottom 10 states on the AVMA's list of state dog ownership rates with just 32.4% of Illinois households owning dogs.
Why has Illinois been at the very top of the worst places for dog bites with such a low dog ownership rate?
Could it be because a pit bull advocate wrote Illinois dangerous and vicious animal control laws which includes a ban on BSL and makes it easy for owners of dangerous, biting, and vicious dogs to keep them?
It turns out that pit bull and dangerous dog advocates participated in crafting, to varying extents, the dangerous dog laws in all five of the top five worst states for dog bite insurance payouts and 7 of the top 10. Of the top five, all states except Ohio have a ban on BSL. In Ohio, there is no ban on BSL, but pit bull advocates wrote a complicated system for designating a dog dangerous or vicious that is very similar to Illinois' laws and which essentially works to make it easier for owners to keep their dangerous dogs. The laws in both Ohio and Illinois include an elaborate appeals process for the owners of dangerous and vicious dogs to revoke that designation including a stipulation that the burden of proof falls on the city and calls for "expert" testimony that the dog is dangerous or vicious.
After an attack or series of attacks, several Illinois towns have claimed, sometimes incorrectly, that their hands are tied and they cannot remove a dangerous dog because of the complexity of the animal control legislation. Still other towns have been prompted to craft their own dangerous and vicious dog legislation to buttress the state laws after an attack or series of attacks. In every instance, the attacks that prompt new ordinances in Illinois are all or in large part pit bull attacks, but the only tool communities have available to them are breed neutral ordinances and communities are forced to effectively use a screwdriver to pound a nail. Cities all over Illinois are attempting to enact legislation that can prevent pit bull attacks and are hampered by being prohibited from regulating pit bulls in any way.
May, 2013 Peoria is discussing ways to make the streets safe again from pit bulls and other stray and dangerous dogs. Last year 102 of the 332 reported dog bites in Peoria county were caused by pit bulls. The police chief states the obvious when he says that pit bulls pose more of a threat than other dogs.
May, 2013 Bloomington is trying to require liability insurance for dogs designated dangerous after a serious attack on two people by a pit bull breeder's pit bull.
May, 2013 Macomb city leaders are trying to create new dog ordinances after they have had 5 dog attacks on people and pets in the last 6 months including a horrid attack by a neighbor's pit bull that broke through a fence and killed a woman's beloved yorkie. Macomb's mayor says they do not want to wait until there is a fatality to do something.
January, 2013 Lake county defined "animal aggressive" as a new category of dangerous dogs after a pit bull mauled a small dog owned by a county board member.
June, 2012 The village of Cary will look into dog ordinances after residents were attacked by an unleashed pit bull.
May, 2012 Carmi citizens want pit bull ban. They are afraid to go outdoors because of an ongoing problem with loose pit bulls.
May, 2012 Skokie considers stricter law after 3 separate pit bull attacks killed three dogs.
May, 2012 Waukegan approves pit ordinance. ACO Nicole Garza says, "We deal with dangerous dogs. Waukegan is known for them. Unfortunately, we are a town for pit bulls."December, 2011 Arlington Hgts. toughens penalties for dangerous animals following pit bull attack The attack that inspired this new dangerous dog legislation involved two unleashed pit bulls that attacked a leashed poodle/labrador retreiver mix off property and unprovoked.
Aug, 2011 Police want more teeth to proposed dangerous dog ordinance after a pit bull chased and attacked a resident and his dog
May, 2011 Wilmington eyes stronger animal control ordinance after repeated attacks by a pit bull mix.
Nov, 2010 Pit bull that inspired Machesney Park law faces euthanasia after it killed two dogs and attacked two people
Apr, 2010 Reaction to Ban on BSL in Streator, IL: This is Asinine
Daily Herald AVMA statistics
May 16, 2012 Illinois Ranks #2 in State Farm Dog Bite Report numbers and payouts
US Post Office