How Many Dogs Can You Have in Kentucky?

While Kentucky state law does not limit the number of dogs one person can own, cities, counties, and neighborhoods may impose their own restrictions.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Is there really such a thing as having too many dogs? Not according to
state law there isn’t—but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can adopt as many as you want, as cities, counties, and even neighborhoods are capable of putting restrictions on the number of dogs living on a single property.
If you’re someone who loves dogs and wants to adopt as many as feasibly possible, Kentucky may be the place for you, especially if you live in a rural area; though, you’ll still have to comply with the statewide legislature regarding leashing and containment practices.
Trying to navigate Kentucky’s almost non-existent dog ownership laws can be a real challenge, making it a chore to try and figure out how many dogs you can legally have. That’s why
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Does Kentucky have laws limiting how many dogs you can own?

At the statewide level, Kentucky does not have any specific laws dictating the number of dogs one person can own—but restrictions at the city and county level do exist, making your physical locale the determining factor in how many dogs are considered too many.
Take Kenton County, for example: if you live in a rural or semi-rural area, there isn’t really a limit on how many dogs you can own—but if you live within 100 feet of a neighbor, it is unlawful to own more than six dogs.
Lexington County, on the other hand, allows residents to own as many dogs as they want but requires those with more than eight to apply for a kennel license through Lexington-Fayette Animal Care & Control (LFACC). This license must be renewed annually, costs $135, and requires all dogs to be current on their city licenses and rabies vaccinations.
All in all, if you plan on adopting more than one dog in Kentucky, you’ll have to check the local laws regarding how many dogs you can legally own.

Are there any dog breeds outlawed in Kentucky?

Similar to laws regarding the number of dogs one can own, Kentucky does not have any statewide bans on certain dog breeds—but counties, cities, and even planned neighborhoods are capable of outlawing whatever breeds they see fit.
In many cases, these bans stem from outdated or biased stereotypes surrounding certain breeds, particularly rottweilers and pit bulls, the latter of which is banned in at least 10 Kentucky counties.
Neighborhoods and planned communities, however, are usually the worst offenders when it comes to breed restrictions—one neighborhood association in Lexington even went so far as to ban almost 12 breeds!
MORE: 8 steps to a perfect road trip with your dog

What are the leash laws in Kentucky?

While Kentucky doesn’t have any laws explicitly requiring dogs to be kept on leashes, there are a few related laws and associated penalties that certainly incentivize keeping your dog properly tethered—something all responsible dog owners should do anyway.
At the statewide level, Kentucky enforces the following statutes on proper leash practices:
  • An animal control officer or peace officer may seize or destroy any dog roaming unaccompanied or not under control by its owner if found between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
  • All female dogs in heat must be confined in a building or secure enclosure so as to prevent them from coming into contact with a male dog, unless for a planned breeding.
That said, counties, cities, homeowners associations, and planned neighborhood committees may have further legislation requiring stricter leashing practices, so it is always best to check your local guidelines before taking your dog out in public.

Penalties for breaking dog laws in Kentucky

Generally speaking, the repercussions for breaking dog laws in Kentucky—at a statewide level, anyway—fall under
Statute 258.235
and are as follows:
  • Any person who observes a dog attacking any other person may, without liability, kill or seize the dog.
  • Any livestock owner or their employee may, without liability, kill or seize a dog observed to be trespassing on the owner’s property and actively pursuing or wounding livestock.
  • Any owner whose dog has caused damage to a person, livestock animal, or other property, shall be considered responsible for the damage.
  • If a dog is determined to be vicious by the court but allowed to be returned to its owner, it must be confined to a locked kennel run with a secure top or an enclosure at least 7 feet in height. The dog may only leave confinement to go to the vet or be turned over to an animal shelter, in which case they will also need to be muzzled. 
Violation of any of the aforementioned points will result in legal action—you will be fined no less than $10 and no more than $100 per offense, with each day of violation considered a separate offense.
MORE: Can You Get Pet Insurance for a Pet with Preexisting Conditions?

How to find affordable insurance in Kentucky

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