Does Dog Biting a Man Who Pulled Its Tail Constitutes ''Provocation Defence'' ?

In VonBehren v. Bradley, 266 Ill. App. 3d 446, 640 N.E.2d 664, 203 Ill. Dec. 744 (1994), the two-year-old plaintiff pulled the dog's tail and ears and hit the dog several times in order to get a bird out of its mouth. The dog bit the plaintiff in the face. This court held that a dog owner has no common law duty to control the dog's response to acts of provocation directed toward it. The court stated that since provocation is measured solely from the perspective of the animal, the evidence showed that the striking of the dog and the plaintiff's attempts to remove the bird from its mouth constituted provocation and not contributory negligence. Hence, no breach of the defendant's duty occurred. VonBehren, 266 Ill. App. 3d at 450, 640 N.E.2d at 667.