A Connecticut appellate court in the case of Anthony Vendrella v. Astriab Family Limited Partnership issued an opinion that horses are naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious to human beings. In other words, the appellate court found that horses are inherently dangerous. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 on this issue and is expected to decide soon whether the appellate court is right.
The case arose out of an incident during which a 2 year old boy was bit in the face by a horse and brought a lawsuit against the owner for damages. The child and his family were visitors at the time at Glendale Farms in Milford, and just before the incident, the boy’s father petted the horse, Scuppy. The trial court dismissed the case, finding there was no evidence that the owner knew or should have known the horse would bite anyone. The appellate court disagreed with the trial court and found that there was sufficient evidence from which a jury could find that horses generally have vicious tendencies including a “natural tendency to bite” and thus the injury was reasonably foreseeable. 133 Conn. App. 630
Once again, an entire group of animals is vilified and condemned because parents failed to take responsibility for their small child.
Connecticut residents who keep horses and the horse industry are taking issue with the appellate court ruling. Horses especially those involved with children could become uninsurable. If the ruling stands, it could become untenable because of the lack of affordable insurance and potential liability for people to keep horses. It is estimated the horse industry contributes about $221 million annually to the state’s economy.