Many Kentucky residents have pet dogs that are well-trained, responsive and gentle. However, even the most well-behaved dogs could end up biting, especially if they feel frightened or think that their owners are under threat of attack. In many cases, injuries from dog bites are relatively mild and heal quickly. However, severe bites may have significant long-term consequences, including scarring, nerve damage and infection. Kentucky law generally holds a dog’s owner liable for an attack, but it is important for all individuals to know how to avoid dog bites.

The CDC states that about 20% of people who receive dog bites require medical attention. Children, elderly people and individuals with compromised immune symptoms may be more likely to sustain serious injuries in a dog attack. While some dog bites occur because the animal is legitimately dangerous and/or aggressive, many attacks happen due to human error.

Individuals may be able to avoid dog attacks by staying a safe distance away from unknown dogs and avoiding threatening and aggressive actions. It is also important to get permission from an owner before interacting with a dog. Parents should supervise young children who may not know how to treat animals with respect and gentleness.

FindLaw states that when dog attacks lead to injuries, owners are liable under Kentucky law. Penalties may include fines and/or jail time. However, a court may take the victim’s behavior into account when awarding damages for a dog attack. If the attacked individual was negligent around the dog, the court may reduce the damages awarded for the claim. Some examples of negligent behavior include approaching a snarling dog and engaging in aggressive behavior. Even in cases where negligence exists, owners are still liable for injuries in a dog attack.