Legislation Filed in Response to Connecticut Horse Bite Case

Connecticut’s governor introduced legislation that would prohibit horses from being considered vicious.
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Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy has introduced legislation that would prohibit domestic horses from being considered vicious. The bill comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the father of a toddler bitten while petting a pastured horse at a farm in Milford, Conn., in 2006.

The initial court ruling in 2010 sided with the horse’s owner due to the horse’s lack of a biting history. However, that decision was appealed and overturned in February 2012, resulting in a pending Supreme Court case, reasoning that the horse belongs to “a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious.” 

The new legislation, introduced Feb. 11, would nullify that claim. “This legislation will protect owners of domesticated horses from a precedent-setting state court decision that unfortunately used too large of a brush to paint an entire species of animals as wild, threatens an industry, and would treat these owners unlike any other state in the nation,” said Malloy.

If this legislation passes, future lawsuits would be based on the presumption that a horse, pony, donkey, or mule is not inherently dangerous and “does not possess a vicious propensity.” That presumption could then be rebutted by evidence pertaining to a particular animal of the equine species

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Diane Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then married her education with her lifelong passion for horses by working in editorial positions at Appaloosa Journal for 12 years. She has also served on the American Horse Publications’ board of directors. She now freelances in writing, editing, and proofreading. She lives in Middleton, Idaho, and spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and spending time with her daughters, their families, and a myriad of her own and other people’s pets.

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