Can I Sue A Landlord For A Dog Bite In Kentucky?

The answer to this simple question is not so simple — the answer is “maybe.” Whether or not you can sue a landlord for a tenant’s dog depends on a couple of factors.  However, the Kentucky Supreme Court made it a little bit easier to hold a landlord responsible for a tenant’s dog in a 2012 ruling. In Benningfield v. Zinsmeister (2012), the court held that a dog bite victim may hold the landlord liable for a tenant’s dog in certain circumstances. Ultimately, the landlords in this case were not found liable for the damages caused by the dog attack. However, the decision did broaden a landlord’s liability by holding a landlord can be considered an “owner” of the dog by allowing the dog to “remain on or about premises owned or occupied” by the landlord. (See KRS 258.095(5)). This is important when you review Kentucky’s strict liability statute regarding dog attacks (KRS258.235(4)). The law reads that a dog owner “whose dog is found to have caused damage to a person, livestock, or other property shall be responsible for that damage.” If a landlord can be found to be the “owner” for statutory purposes, the landlord can be held liable for any damages caused by the dog. […]