Sun, Mar 18, 2018 04:21 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2004-01-09 opinion
Residents should observe law concerning pets
Guest commentary
by Michael Hogan | Lawrence County Attorney

LOUISA — Dogs — many people call them man's best friend. And that is true most of the time. But occasionally, dogs can get their owners into trouble. Sometimes even the gentlest of dogs can turn on a stranger.

Dogs can be unpredictable and dangerous, and that makes the owner liable for the dog's actions.

Kentucky law states clearly that if a dog injures or kills livestock or a person, the dog owner is Iiable. The law, KRS 258.275, does not mention that the owner must have been negligent or that the dog had shown vicious tendencies.

The law simply states that the dog owner is liable for all damages and costs when the dog gets loose and injures a person or livestock/poultry.

To put this in everyday terms, this means if a dog is chained up, but manages to break the chain and subsequently bites a person, the dog owner is liable for all damages. Even though the owner attempted to keep the dog chained, he or she is still liable for the dog's actions.

If the dog escapes from his boundaries-a fence, chain or a houses for example—the owner is responsible for any damage or injury the dog inflicts.

There are some limits to this law, though. In some instances, people are held accountable for their actions as well.

For example, if a dog is chained up and a person walks within reach of the dog and is bitten, then the person must take some responsibility for his or her injuries.

Likewise, if a person lets a dog loose from a chain or fence, and the dog then chases and bites that person, the injured party is responsible, at least in part, for his or her own injuries.

Are dogs worth the risk? Most dog owners would say yes.

However, we must remember the unpredictable nature of any animal and do our best to keep them on our own property at all times.

This will keep man's best friend and his owner out of a lot of trouble.

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