How to Safely Confront an Off-Leash Dog Owner in Chicago

Here's how you can safely confront an off-leash dog owner in Chicago.

Despite the prevalence of leash laws that require pet owners to keep their dogs on a leash, many Chicago residents fail to follow the rules. As a Chicago dog bite law firm, we understand the potential dangers posed by off-leash dogs. While many dogs are friendly and well-behaved, an off-leash dog can pose a risk to others, particularly if it’s aggressive or not under the owner’s control.

While confronting a pet owner who is walking their dog off-leash may seem like an easily avoidable situation, it is important for everyone’s safety that dogs remain on their leash. Here’s how you can safely confront an off-leash dog owner in Chicago.

Stay Calm and Collected

It’s crucial to remain calm and composed. Confrontation can be stressful, but showing anger or frustration may escalate the situation. Approach the dog owner in a non-confrontational manner, maintaining a polite and respectful tone throughout the conversation. Of course, if you have a dog or small children with you, it’s best to have them stay behind in case the owner’s dog is aggressive and decides to attack.

Use “I” Statements

People care how you speak to them, even when they are in the wrong. So, when expressing your concerns to someone with an off-leash dog, use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. This helps to prevent the dog owner from becoming defensive. For example, say, “I am concerned when I see dogs off-leash because it could potentially lead to an accident,” instead of, “You’re irresponsible for letting your dog off the leash.” The last thing you want is for the dog to mistakenly perceive you as a threat to their owner’s safety because it could prompt the dog to attack.

Know and Share the Law

In Chicago, the law requires dogs to be on a leash no longer than 10 feet when they’re not on their owner’s property. Familiarize yourself with these regulations so you can accurately inform the dog owner if they’re unaware. However, avoid coming off as confrontational or condescending. Instead, share the information as a concerned citizen looking out for the safety of the community. You can also frame your words to show you are looking out for them and their pet. For example, you might try politely explaining that you read that off-leash animals who bite can be put down.

Offer Solutions

If appropriate, offer solutions. Perhaps suggest nearby dog parks where dogs can legally run off-leash. If the owner is trying to get their dog on a leash but cannot, you could offer to help them if you trust that the dog won’t attack you. This shows that you’re not just criticizing but also providing helpful alternatives.

Avoid Escalation

Avoid escalating the situation if the dog owner reacts negatively or becomes aggressive. Your safety is paramount. If necessary, remove yourself from the situation and consider reporting the incident to local animal control or law enforcement.

Report to Chicago Authorities

If the off-leash dog poses an immediate threat or if the owner repeatedly disregards leash laws, report the situation to Chicago Animal Care and Control. Provide the operator with as much information as possible, such as the time, location, description of the dog, and owner’s identity if known.

Document the Off-Leash Dog Incident

If you feel comfortable, take photos or videos of the off-leash dog as evidence, especially if the dog is acting aggressively. This could be helpful if you need to report the incident or if a dog bite occurs. However, never jeopardize your own safety by taking photos of an off-leash dog.

Consult Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers Today

If an off-leash dog bites or otherwise hurts you, it’s crucial to consult with a dog bite lawyer. In Illinois, the Animal Control Act holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. A dog bite lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Confronting an off-leash dog owner can be challenging, but by staying calm, expressing your concerns respectfully, and knowing the law, you can navigate the situation effectively. Remember, the goal is to ensure the safety of all community members, including our four-legged friends.

Speak with an Experienced Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer to Learn More About Your Rights

As a Chicago dog bite law firm, we’re here to help if you or a loved one has been injured by an off-leash dog. Your safety and rights are our top priority, and we’re committed to helping you navigate the legal process following a dog bite incident. For more than 35 years, the dedicated dog bite attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg have been aggressively pursuing fair compensation on behalf of dog bite victims. We believe that these cases are important, not only to individual victims but also to encourage all pet owners to be more responsible in hopes of decreasing the rate of Chicago dog bites. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-595-4878. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

Comments are closed.

205 W Randolph St. Suite 925
Chicago, IL 60606

Phone: 312.222.0010
Fax: 312.222.1203


Two Northfield Plaza, Suite 385
Northfield, IL 60093-4126

Phone: 312.222.0010
Fax: 312.222.1203


Phone: 312.222.0010

175 N. Chicago St.
Joliet, IL 60432-4126

Phone: 312.222.0010
Fax: 312.222.1203



PODCAST: Our podcast covers personal injury topics and cases.

Chicago Injury Alert by Briskman Briskman & Greenberg

© 2023 Briskman Briskman & Greenberg All rights reserved.
Disclaimer | Sitemap | Privacy | Accessibility Statement

The law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg also represents injured people throughout Wisconsin, including Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Madison.

Custom Legal Marketing | Law Firm SEO That Works