Kentucky is an interesting state. It is one where dog bites fall under strict liability. The owner of the dog is completely liable for whatever the dog does. If a dog bites a person, then the owner is responsible for that person’s medical bills and other losses. Similarly, if a dog attacks an animal, the owner is responsible for any vet bills.
While Kentucky is a strict liability state, the interesting thing is that the courts don’t always treat these cases as if the owner is 100 percent responsible. Instead, some courts look at the cases as comparative negligence cases.
For example, if you are walking a dog that gets off its leash and gets into a fight with another dog who bites it, you may be seen as partially responsible for the incident. That isn’t how strict liability is supposed to work.
How can you protect yourself against liability as the victim in a dog bite case?
Initially, you will want to call the police. Call 911 or animal control depending on the situation. If there are injuries to an animal, you should call animal control and also take your animal to the veterinary office nearest you. If there is an attack that involves a human, then you need to call 911 immediately and wait for emergency care.
After the aggressive dog is contained, you may wish to take time to take photos of any injuries you have suffered or that your pet has suffered. These photos may be necessary in court. It is important that the medical facility that treats you also contact the health department to report the injury.
The importance of containing the dangerous animal cannot be overstated. If the animal has no medical records, it will need to be quarantined for illness. You may end up having to receive several vaccines after a bite, like rabies vaccines or tetanus shots, because of the risk of serious illnesses carried by animals.
While Kentucky does not automatically seek the removal of an animal from the home, it is typical to provide the owner with the option to surrender the dog. If they do so, it does not automatically mean the dog will be euthanized, but it does mean that it will be off the premises and quarantined until a hearing with the owners. The owners will face a charge, which may vary in severity based on the facts of the case.