Louisville, KY asked in Animal / Dog Law for Kentucky

Q: I live in Kentucky and I am not clear about the laws here. A friend of mine got a dog for free

He leaves her with me and will call occasionally if the kids want to play with the dog. This has gotten confusing to her. Recently I was called one hour after she got over there to come get the dog because they wanted to play with their friends and didn’t want to deal with potty breaks. and the last time she got loose while she was over there. If something happens to her it will kill me. Do I have any legal rights to her at all? I don’t want her going back over there. I am her primary provider. I've spent over 1000 dollars on vet bills, grooming bills and food. This has been going on since February of this year and I am deeply attached. Shes been registered in my name after i got her vaccines that they failed to ever get done for her.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Roach
Christopher Roach
  • Covington, KY
  • Licensed in Kentucky

A: You may or you may not have any rights. You providing care for her seems to indicate ownership. On the other hand, you believe that the dog belongs to your friend and you will bring the dog over to their house at their request. Payment of those bills could indicate you own the dog, but could also indicate a gift. Dogs are viewed as property in Kentucky, so you either own the dog or you do not. It really comes down to why your friend is leaving her with you? Does your friend refer to the dog as as his dog? It sounds like you are both in a tenuous spot if either of you try to claim ownership. It sounds like your friend doesn't really want a dog. You could refuse to give the dog back and make him file a small claims complaint. You could also call him and see if he is okay with you adopting the dog, since you are paying for his care. Unfortunately, the law views animals as property and your care or love for the dog will likely have little impact on any court's decision (If it got that far).

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