Thursday, January 21, 2016

‘Dog bite bill’ passes out of Senate

The state Senate passed legislation today that supporters say will put a leash on frivolous dog bite litigation in Kentucky’s courts.

Senate Bill 68, known as “the dog bite bill,” was introduced by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester. He said it would protect landlords from being held liable when a negligent tenant’s canine bites someone. SB 68 would do this by amending the current statute to modify the definition of persons who would qualify as the owner of a dog.

Alvarado said the legislation was prompted by a 2012 Kentucky Supreme Court opinion that a landlord could be considered a dog owner of his tenant’s dog for the purposes of legal liability. He said that opinion puts unfair pressure on property owners who may not even know that a dog is living on their property.

Sen. Robin L Webb, D-Grayson, was one of six Senators who voted against SB 68. A roll call vote was not available at the time of this post.

“It would totally take the landlord out of any potential recovery, whether they knew, not knew, promoted, or encouraged any activity,” she said. “It would fully insulate the landlord regardless of conduct.”

SB 68 now goes to the state House of Representatives for further consideration.