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Horses are not ‘vicious’ rules US court

A bill has been passed in Connecticut, US, which prevents domesticated horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from being classified as inherently vicious (6 May).

The new legislation refutes 2 court decisions relating to a horse that bit a child in 2006. First, in 2010, the court sided with the horse’s owner, due to the horse’s lack of biting history.

However, that decision was appealed and overturned in 2012, because “horses belong to a species that is naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious, and that the owners may be held liable to negligence”.

The new bill was welcomed by Connecticut’s lucrative horse industry, which could be threatened by skyrocketing insurance rates if horses were ruled to be dangerous animals.

Governor Dannel P Malloy said: “Connecticut’s laws must encourage agriculture, which contributes $3.5billion [£2.1billion] to our economy, accounts for 28,000 jobs in our state and is an industry with tremendous growth potential.”

When Governor Malloy signs the bill into law, future court cases will be based on the presumption that domesticated horses, ponies, donkeys and mules are not inherently dangerous, which could then be rebutted by evidence pertaining to particular examples.

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