Kentucky Supreme Court Reverses Landlord Liability in Tenant Dog Attacks

Kentucky Supreme Court Reverses

In 2012 the KY Supreme Court ruled that landlords may be subject to liability in incidents where a dog owned by their tenant bites someone. The decision includes the property landlord as a “dog owner” in such cases, even if they were unaware of the presence of a dog on the property. This week that ruling was reversed, limiting liability to solely the owner of the animal. Supporters of the reversal cited that landlords were unfairly being subjected to increasing liability insurance costs. In addition, they felt it was encouraging landlords to prohibit their renters from having dogs, which led to greatly limited housing options available for them to rent. The leading sponsor of the bill was Rep. Stan Lee who applauded the senate ruling for applying liability in dog attack cases exclusively to the lawful owner of the animal.

Colorado Dog Owner Liability

  • A “dog owner” is defined as an entity with ownership, possession, custody, or some financial responsibility for a dog.
  • An individual or representative of a person who is injured or killed by a dog while lawfully on a property may take civil actions for damages from the dog owner.
  • If it is proven that the owner knew of the vicious or dangerous nature of the animal before the attack, the victim may enter a motion to have the dog euthanized by a licensed entity.
  • Liability does not apply when:
    • The victim is unlawfully on the property
    • The victim is on the dog owner’s property and signs are clearly posted with warnings relating to the dog.
    • If the dog is working with peace officers or military personnel
    • When the victim provokes the attack
    • If the victim is working in a professional capacity i.e. veterinary worker or dog groomer
    • If the incident occurred while the dog is working under the owner’s supervision i.e. herding, hunting, or predator defense

Colorado Dog Impoundment

A dog may be impounded by an agency in cases of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, abandonment, or for owning a dangerous dog. The owner has the right to contest the reason for impoundment; however, must pay for the costs of care for the impounded dog. If an impounded dog is not claimed within five days, the owner essentially relinquishes ownership it. If the owner contests the reason for the impoundment and a judge or jury rules in his or her favor, the costs of care may be refunded to the dog owner from the impounding agency. If an impounded dog is determined by a licensed veterinarian to be in extreme pain, suffering, or afflicted with a terminal condition, the animal may be euthanized without a court order.

If you or a loved one sustained injuries inflicted by a dangerous dog, you may be entitled to pecuniary compensation. Please contact the personal injury attorneys at the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal at (303)825-2223 to coordinate a consultation.

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