Silvia Lugo, a recent North Carolina resident, now living in Elgin, IL, has been fined $2,200 by the City of Elgin and her two pitbulls have been declared “dangerous dogs.”
Lugo’s dogs became loose and chased a man lawfully walking his dog. That man happened to be Elgin mayor, Ed Schock. The animal control law in Elgin allows for a dog to be declared dangerous even if it doesn’t bite anyone. The law also allows owners to be fined $1,000 if a dog is declared dangerous, and another $100 if the owner cannot immediately provide proof of a current rabies vaccine. In addition to the $1,100 per dog fine that was issued to Lugo, she is also required to obtain a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance, register her dogs, muzzle the dogs when outside, and have them microchipped.
In North Carolina, a “dangerous dog” is one who has killed or severely injured a person without provocation, or has been declared a dangerous dog by the county. Once a dog in North Carolina has been declared a dangerous dog, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for any injuries to person or property inflicted by his dog. In Mecklenburg County, the owner of a dangerous dog may be required to contain the animal in a secure fence, purchase liability insurance, install warning signs on property, muzzle the dog when off property, and tattoo the dog to identify it as dangerous.