You could receive a dangerous dog complaint if your dog bites someone or attacks an animal, including another pet or livestock. The injured person or pet owner may file a complaint and ask for your dog to be declared dangerous. There is the risk you could lose your dog to an animal shelter or he could even be euthanized.
What Is Deemed Dangerous Behavior?
In Kentucky, a dog can be deemed dangerous if he attacks without cause when off the premises of his owner. In Kentucky, just a single bite can lead to a dog being declared dangerous — there’s no need for multiple incidents.
Contesting a Designation
It is of utmost importance that you attend the hearing of the complaint. Failure to do so will mean you automatically lose the case.
At the case, you’ll need to present as much evidence as possible to contest the dangerous dog designation. For instance, you may be able to argue that it could have been another dog rather than your own involved in the attack or that the bite was less severe than contended.
You can also exculpate yourself from liability by contesting your percentage of fault. This requires demonstrating that the harm caused by your dog was the victim’s fault. For example, the victim could have been provoking your dog or trespassing on your property.
Every case is unique, due to factors like the victim’s behavior and your knowledge of the dog’s tendency to attack. This means every case requires careful examination by the court and outcomes can differ widely.
Requirements for Owners of a Dangerous Dog
If your dog is deemed dangerous, you may need to keep him in a locked enclosure that is at least 7 feet high or in a locked kennel run with a secure top. You will only be allowed to remove the dog from the enclosure to visit a veterinarian or to turn him over to an animal shelter. Whenever the dog leaves his enclosure, he must wear a muzzle.
In some cases, the court may order euthanasia of the dog. This will happen if a dog that is deemed vicious is found running at large. Animal control or a peace officer can kill the dog without liability.
There are also penalties for you as an owner. If you fail to appear for the hearing of the complaint or if your dog is found to have viciously attacked without cause when off your premises, you will be subject to a fine of between $5 and $200, imprisonment of between 10 and 60 days in county jail, or both. You will also need to pay for any damages your dog caused any people, livestock, or property.
To avoid losing your dog to an animal shelter or euthanasia, you need to do everything in your power to avoid a dangerous dog designation. Kentucky is a strict liability state, meaning you — as the owner — are liable regardless of other factors. The law is also favorable to the injured party. To improve your chances of winning the case, hire an attorney who specializes in animal law.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a dog bite or an animal bite, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Fleck Firm today.