Full Ordinance Name:  City of Covington, Kentucky. Code of Ordinances. Title IX. General Regulations. Chapter 90. Animals. General Provisions.

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Primary Citation:  COVINGTON, KY., CODE OF ORDINANCES §§ 90.01-90.03, 90.09-90.11, 90.15 (1999) Date Adopted:  1999 Jurisdiction Level:  Kentucky Last Checked (local ordinances are no longer checked and are kept only for archival and example purposes):  June, 2012

In Covington, Kentucky, it is not permitted to keep vicious dogs (including pit bulls and wolf-hybrids) unless certain conditions are met, such as proper registration and confinement (with warning signs) or the use of a leash and muzzle. Owners of such dogs must submit photographs and have a microchip implanted in the dog for identification purposes, show proof of rabies vaccination, sterilization, and $100,000 liability insurance. A vicious dog found to be in violation may be seized and impounded. Police dogs, dogs participating in exhibitions and receiving veterinary treatment are excluded from the ban.

90.01     Definitions

90.02     Agreements; enforcement

90.03     Applicability of state law

90.09     Registration of vicious dogs

90.10     Keeping and maintaining animals and vicious dogs within the  city

90.11      License required to raise animals

90.15      Breeding vicious dogs, exotic animals, and wild animals



     For the purpose of this chapter the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

     ANIMAL.  Any living creature, domesticated and wild, male and female, except humans.
     ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER.  The city official designated as animal control officer as well as the animal control officers of Kenton      County.

     ANIMAL SHELTER. The Kenton County Animal Shelter or a facility authorized by an animal control officer for confinement,     maintenance, safekeeping, and control of animals that come into custody of the animal control officer or enforcement agent in the performance of his or her official duties.

     AT LARGE.  On or off the premises of the owner and not under the immediate effective control of the owner or custodian, either by leash, cord, chain, or other restraint, or effectively confined within a fenced area on the owner's premises. It shall be presumed that a dog is at large if it is not licensed or not registered under this subchapter.

     BIRD OF PREY.  Any variety of predatory bird, including eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and vultures.

     CAT.  Any member of the feline species, male or female, of any age.

     CITY.  The City of Covington, Kentucky, a municipal corporation of the second class, and including any departments, divisions, boards, or agencies thereof.

     CITY LICENSE.  The license issued by the city or its designated agent by appropriate municipal order, and required to be worn as hereinafter stated.

     COLLAR.  Any band, chain, harness, or suitable device worn around the neck of a dog to which a license may be affixed.

     COUNTY LICENSE.  The license or tag required by Kenton County, Kentucky.

     DOG.  Any member of the canine species, male or female, of any age.

     ENFORCEMENT AGENT. Any person designated by the city to enforce the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to animal control officers, city police officers, and county police officers.

     EXOTIC ANIMALS.  Any of the following described animals: all animals, including snakes and spiders, whose bite or venom is poisonous or deadly  to humans; apes, including chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans; baboons; bears; cheetahs; crocodilians and alligators; constrictor snakes; coyotes; elephants; gamecocks and other fighting birds; hyenas; jaguars; leopards; lions; lynxes; ostriches; pumas, also known as mountain lions and panthers; wolves; raccoons; skunks; and tigers.

     FALCONRY.  The art of training raptors for the pursuit of game and the sport of hunting with raptors.

     FOWL.  Any and all fowl, domesticated and wild, male and female, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigeons, and geese.

     KEEP.  Possessing, controlling, exercising, or allowing to run at large.

     LEASH or LEAD.  Any chain, rope, or device used to restrain an animal.

     MICROCHIP.  A tiny, passive electronic device implanted under an animal's skin that serves as a permanent identification marker.

     OWN. To own, have a property right in, keep, care for, or harbor a dog, cat or other animal, or permit a dog, cat or other animal to remain on or about premises owned or occupied by him or her, whether or not the person has an actual ownership interest in the dog or animal.

     OWNER.  Any person who owns, has a property right in, keeps, cares for, or harbors a dog, cat or other animal, or permits such dog, cat or other  animal to remain on or about premises owned or occupied by him or her, whether or not the person has an actual ownership interest in the dog, cat,  or other animal. If a dog is owned by a family, all adult members of the family, individually and jointly, shall be deemed owners for the purposes of this subchapter.

     PERSON. Any individual, firm, corporation, limited liability company, association, or partnership.

     PIT BULL DOG.  Any dog which exhibits those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or substantially conform to the standards established by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers, including any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or American Pit Bull Terrier.

     PUBLIC NUISANCE.  Any dog, cat, or other animal or animals, which: (1) chases passersby or passing vehicles; (2) attacks other animals; (3) is at large three or more times within a year's time; (4) damages private or public property; (5) barks, howls, cries, or makes other loud noises, or runs at large, so as to disrupt the peace of the neighborhood; or (6) is kept, housed, or harbored in such a manner so as to present unsanitary conditions, or causes offensive, obnoxious, or foul odors which impair the reasonable use and enjoyment of surrounding properties.

     STATE.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky, and its departments, divisions, boards, and agencies thereof.

     VACCINATION.  An anti-rabies vaccination using a type of vaccine approved and administered by a veterinarian.

     VETERINARIAN.  Any veterinarian licensed by the state to practice veterinary medicine or employed by a governmental agency.

     VICIOUS DOG.  The following are considered vicious dogs under this subchapter: (1) a pit bull dog; (2) a wolf-hybrid; (3) any dog that has caused death or serious injury to a person engaged in a lawful activity or has attacked or bitten without provocation a person engaged in a lawful activity; or which has killed or seriously injured another animal after an animal control officer or enforcement agent has issued, based upon the vicious or predatory nature of the dog, a written or verbal notice to the owner or custodian of such dog to keep it confined or muzzled and leashed in accordance with this subchapter; or which has been declared to be vicious by the attending physician of the victim of an attack or an animal control officer or enforcement agent, taking into consideration the nature and severity of the incident and whether the dog has displayed dangerously aggressive behavior and is likely to inflict injury on another person or animal. A vicious dog does not include a dog that bites or attacks a person or other animal that provokes, torments, tortures, or treats an animal cruelly.

     VICIOUS DOG TAG.  A tag issued by the city upon registration of vicious dogs.

     WILD ANIMAL.  Any animal that is not a domesticated companion animal, or any crossbreeds of these animals with domestic animals, or any descendant of any crossbreed. Such animals include, but are not limited to, any venomous snake, python or constrictor snakes, porcupines, monkeys, raccoons, skunks, leopards, lions, tigers, lynx, bobcats, badgers, fox, coyote, wolves, wolverines, squirrels, bears, deer, chipmunks, moose, elk, opossum, beavers, ground hogs, moles, gophers, prairie dogs, bats, sugar gliders (petaurus breviceps), kangaroos, and wallabies. An animal that has traditionally, through long association with humans, lived in a state of dependence upon humans or has been traditionally kept as a household pet, including dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, hamsters, gerbils, domesticated rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, parakeets, parrots, cockatiels, cockatoos, canaries, love birds, finches, and tropical fish, will not be considered "wild animals" for purposes of this chapter.

     WOLF-HYBRID.  Any domesticated dog that has in its known genetic history and/or formal pedigree crossbreeding with the wolf species to include, but not be limited to, animals referred to as wolf-hybrids or wolf-mix breeds or the breed known as Tundra Shepherd.

(`77 Code, § 840.1(a))  (Am. Ord. O-50-85, passed 8-6-85; Am. Ord. O-47-94, passed 12-13-94; Am. Ord. O-14-97, passed 6-10-97; Am. Ord. O-33-99, passed 9-14-99; Am. Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03; Am. Ord. O-49-03, passed 8-19-03; Am. Ord. O-23-05, passed 5-17-05 )


     (A)     Agreements. The city is authorized to enter into any necessary and proper agreements for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter.  Any such agreement shall be recorded in writing with the City Clerk and available for inspection by the public.

     (B)     Enforcement.  It shall be the duty of the animal control officers and enforcement agents to enforce this chapter.  Upon the receipt of a complaint from any person that an animal is present within the city in violation of this chapter, an animal control officer or enforcement agent shall forthwith investigate the complaint and shall require the person in possession of such animal to comply with the provisions of this chapter or to safely remove such animal from the city.  Upon failure of the person in possession of the animal to comply with such order, an animal control officer or enforcement agent shall forthwith cause the animal to be seized and impounded.  If such animal constitutes a serious threat of harm to humans, property or other animals, it may be rendered immobile by means of tranquilizers or other drugs, or if that is not safely possible, then such animal may be destroyed.

     (C)     Consultation. An animal control officer or enforcement agent, in investigating any person registering under this section or in the enforcement of this chapter, is authorized to consult with and seek the advice of any individual, agency, organization, or society which may be able to provide information and advice concerning animals regulated hereby.

(`77 Code, §840.1(b),(c))  (Am. Ord. O-33-99, passed 9-14-99; Am. Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03)


     No person owning any animal shall violate any laws, rules, or regulations of the state applicable thereto.  These state laws, rules, and regulations are included herein by reference.  Where the provisions of the state regulations are less restrictive than the provisions of this chapter, the latter shall govern.

(`77 Code, § 840.1(d)) (Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03)  Penalty, see § 90.99

Statutory reference:
     Disposal of dead animals, see KRS Chapter 263
     Dogs, see KRS Chapter 258
     Stockyards, see KRS Chapter 261
     Strays and animals running at large, see KRS Chapter 259


     (A)     Registration, photographs, and proof of vaccination required. Every owner of a vicious dog (which includes pit bull dogs and wolf-hybrids) in the city shall annually register the animal with the City of Covington. This registration shall state the name, address, and telephone number of the person possessing the animal, the address where the animal is harbored, if different from the possessor's address, completely identify the animal, including genus and species, his or her common name, gender, color, and other distinguishing physical characteristics, including size and weight. An owner of a vicious dog shall also submit two color photographs showing the color and approximate size of the animal with the registration and obtain from the city a vicious dog tag. In the case of dogs or other animals required by law to be vaccinated for rabies, proof of rabies vaccination shall also be provided. Registration shall be completed for all animals that are located or kept within the territorial limits of the city for a period exceeding 24 hours. The registration period shall run from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

     (B)     Proof dog or animal has been spayed or neutered. Every owner of a vicious dog in the city shall submit with its initial registration written proof from a veterinarian that the animal has been spayed or neutered, or a written statement from the veterinarian why the animal cannot or should not be spayed or neutered.

     (C)     Microchip identification required. Every owner of a vicious dog in the city is required to have a microchip installed or injected in the animal. Proof of microchip installation or injection is required at the time of registration of the vicious dog. The microchip shall be installed or injected under the skin of the animal by a veterinarian, or other properly trained and authorized individual, and shall be designed so that, when scanned by an electronic reader, it is capable of providing the identification of the dog's owner. If such a dog is impounded, the microchip shall be installed or injected prior to its release. The owner or possessor of such a dog shall be responsible for payment of the costs associated with the installation or injection of a microchip in the animal.

     (D)     Insurance. An owner of a vicious dog must produce evidence that he or she has the ability to respond in damages up to and including the amount of $100,000 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property that may result from the ownership, keeping, or maintenance of such animal. Proof of financial responsibility may be in the form of a certificate of insurance, or in the form of a surety bond conditioned upon the payment of such damages. If such insurance or surety bond is changed, altered, or terminated after registration of the vicious dog, the owner of such animal shall provide evidence to the city of insurance or surety bond complying with the terms of this provision.

     (E)     Reporting requirements. Every owner of a vicious dog in the city is required to report the following information in writing to an animal control officer:

          (1)     The removal from the city or death of the animal; or

          (2)     The birth of offspring of the animal;

          (3)     The new address of the animal if it is relocated within the corporate city limits; or

          (4)     When the animal is running at large, has been stolen, or has attacked a person or another animal.

     (F)     Failure to comply. It shall be unlawful for any owner of a vicious dog in the city to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this chapter. A vicious dog found to be in violation of this chapter shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. In addition, failure to comply with this  chapter will result in the automatic revocation of the license of such animal.

(Ord. O-33-99, passed 9-14-99; Am. Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03; Am. Ord. O-49-03, passed 8-19-03; Am. Ord. O-18-05, passed 4-26-05)  Penalty, see §90.99


     (A)     Manner of keeping dogs, cats, or other animals.  No person shall keep or maintain any dog, cat, or other animal in the city in such a manner so as to become a public nuisance or to disturb the peace, comfort, or health of any person residing within the city.  The keeping of all animals within the city shall be subject to all pertinent regulations of the state and local Health Department.

     (B)     Vicious dog to be properly confined or leashed. The owner or harborer of a vicious dog shall:

          (1)     When the dog is indoors secure all means of egress so that the dog may not exit;

          (2)     Leash and muzzle. No person shall permit a vicious dog to go outside of its kennel, pen, or the owner's residence unless such animal is securely restrained with a leash or lead no longer than three  feet in length and the leash or lead is physically controlled by a person 18 years of age or older who is in physical control of the leash. Such animals may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all such animals on a leash or lead outside of the animal's kennel, pen, or the owner's residence must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent the animal from biting persons or other animals.

          (3)     Confinement. All vicious dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leashed and muzzled, as provided in division (B)(2) above. Such pen, kennel, or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to its sides. A fenced-in yard by itself is insufficient to meet this standard. All structures used to confine such animals must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen, or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground to a depth of no less than two feet and be a minimum of seven feet above the ground to the top of the structure. All structures erected to house such animals must comply with all zoning and building regulations, and all such structures must be adequately lighted, ventilated, and be of appropriate size to allow the animal confined therein to move around, and must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. The house or shelter for said animal shall be totally enclosed within the confinement structure. When being transported, the animal must be muzzled or caged.

               (a)     Signs. All owners of vicious dogs shall display on the kennel or pen and also in a prominent place on the premises a sign easily read by the public from adjoining public roads or streets using a sign stating the presence of a vicious dog by both symbol and words.

               (b)     Inspection. All owners of vicious dogs shall allow animal control officers and enforcement agents the freedom to inspect the area as necessary to assure that the health and safety needs of the animals and the public are being met.

     (C)     Conditions precedent to vicious dogs being permitted to remain within the city's territorial limits. Vicious dogs shall not be permitted to remain within the city's territorial limits unless all of the following conditions are met:

          (1)     The animal is properly registered in the city;

          (2)     The animal is at all times kept or maintained in a safe manner and that it is at all times confined securely so that the keeping of such animal will not constitute a danger to human life or personal property;

          (3)     Adequate safeguards are made to prevent unauthorized access to such animal;

          (4)     The health or well being of the animal is not in any way endangered by the manner of keeping or confinement;

          (5)     Keeping of such animal does not constitute a public nuisance and will not harm the surrounding neighborhood or disturb the peace and quiet of the surrounding neighborhood;

          (6)     Keeping of such animal will not create or cause offensive odors or constitute a danger to public health;

          (7)     The quarters in which such animal is kept or confined is adequately lighted and ventilated and are so constructed that it may be kept in a clean and sanitary condition;

     (D)     Police dog exclusion.  It is not the intent of this section to prohibit the Police Department from using any trained dog that may attack on command, provided that each such dog must be in the presence of its handler or confined in accordance with Police Department policy at all times.

     (E)     Miscellaneous exclusions.  The provisions of this section shall not apply to the keeping of vicious dogs in the following cases:

          (1)     The keeping of such animals in zoos, bona fide educational or medical institutions, museums or any other place where they are kept as live specimens for the public to view, or for the purpose of instruction, study, or medicinal uses;

          (2)     The keeping of such animals for exhibition to the public of such animals by a circus, carnival, or other exhibit or show;

          (3)     The keeping of such animals in a bona fide licensed veterinary hospital for treatment or study.

(`77 Code, § 840.2, Sec. I(a)-(e))  (Ord. O-10-64, passed 2-20-64; Am. Ord. O-50-85, passed 8-6-85; Am. Ord. O-33-99, passed 9-14-99; Am. Ord. O-21-00, passed 5-16-00; Am. Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03; Am. Ord. O-23-05, passed 5-17-05)   Penalty, see §90.99


     (A)     Any person engaged in raising or breeding any animals for commercial purposes or otherwise shall obtain a license from the city and comply with all applicable zoning regulations.  Each application for a license shall state the number and kind of animals to be raised, and the location of the premises to be used for that purpose.

     (B)     The Finance Director shall issue the license for raising animals.

(`77 Code, § 840.2, Sec. I(f),(g)) (Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03; Am. Ord. O-23-05, passed 5-17-05)    Penalty, see §90.99


     The breeding of vicious dogs, exotic animals, and wild animals within the boundaries of the city is strictly prohibited and enforcement agents may impound such animals when they are pregnant or any litter these animals may produce. This prohibition shall not apply to persons owning and/or breeding birds of prey for the purpose of falconry in compliance with all state and federal regulations.

(`77 Code, §840.2, Sec. I(l))  (Ord. O-33-03, passed 6-24-03) Penalty, see §90.99

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