CT Supreme Court Stops Short of Classifying Horses as Vicious

Will there be a day when children will not be allowed to ride horses?

No longer are they “herds” of horses…they are now “gangs” – from Jerry. So watch out! Gangs of horses could be roaming *your* “neigh”borhood. Sorry about that. This is actually a serious issue for people running riding stables and others in the equine community ~ HfH

From: Groton Patch
By: Gary Jeanfaivre

Will there be a day when children will not be allowed to ride horses?

Will there be a day when children will not be allowed to ride horses?

It was the decision horses owners and industry representatives feared — the Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld an Appellate Court’s ruling that puts the onus on a Superior Court to determine if horses are in a class of animals having naturally dangerous propensities.

“The majority did not rule that horses have dangerous propensities or are naturally inclined to cause injuries,” according to a summary of the court’s opinion. “It did rule, however, that the question of whether an animal has dangerous propensities or is naturally inclined to cause injuries must be made on a case-by-case basis before the trier of fact in the Superior Court.”

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers boils it down this way:

“The primary issue that we must resolve in this case is whether the keeper of a horse has a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the horse from causing injuries to others when the particular horse has not previously exhibited mischievous propensities, but the trier of facts reasonably could find that horses as a species have a natural propensity to bite.”

After a lengthy analysis of case law and the facts of this particular case, Rogers states:

“We therefore conclude that ‘one who possesses or harbors a domestic animal that he does not know or have reason to know to be abnormally dangerous, is subject to liability for harm done by the animal if, but only if . . . he is negligent in failing to prevent the harm…’”

In other words, the owner of a horse must prevent it from hurting people. And any case that claims damages as a result of such an instance, like the one at hand, should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, the court ruling states.

Read the court’s opinion in its entirety.

The court’s decision stems from a case that dates back to 2006, when a boy was bit in the face by a horse named Scuppy at Glendale Farms in Milford, Conn.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
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