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Horses are vicious beasts in Connecticut

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Labeling horses as vicious animals is not reasonable, despite the ruling of a Connecticut Appellate Court.

Horses bite. But they’re not pit bulls or gators.

Rewind to 2006: A toddler was bitten on the cheek by a horse at Glendale Farms, Milford, Conn., owned by Timothy Astriab. The little boy wasn’t provoking the horse — just trying to feed him. He was held up by one of his parents to feed the horse, despite the presence of “Do not feed; do not pet” signs. The horse, Scuppy, took a chunk of flesh out of the child’s face.

Forward to 2012: The Glendale Farms incident works its way to an Appellate Court that ruled horses are “a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious.”

According to the Connecticut Post: “Astriab won the initial case at a lower court in 2010, when a New Haven judge ruled the child's father, Anthony Vendrella Sr., failed to prove the owner knew of previous incidents of aggression by any of the horses at the farm. The state Superior Court judge said Astriab testified that in 28 years, none of the horses at the farm bit or injured anyone.”

Forward to 2013: The case is now before the Connecticut Supreme Court. If the state Supreme Court maintains horses as “vicious,” insurance rates and the horse industry would be turned upside down in Connecticut. As Doug Dubitsky, a lawyer for farmers and horse businesses, told the Associated Press: “You could not pair children and horses, the core equestrian business nationwide that it’s all about.”

From the Post: “The Connecticut Farm Bureau and Connecticut Horse Council filed a friend of the court brief saying that under common law, viciousness generally is judged individually, according to a horse's age, breed and gender -- not as an entire species.”

If the Supreme Court backs the Appellate Court, Connecticut would become the first state in American to categorize horses as inherently dangerous.

Deeming horses vicious based on an unfortunate incident at Glendale Farms is not reasonable. The biting incident should have been dealt with as a singular episode. There are enough judicial activism cases already in the United States without adding “vicious horses” to the roster.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @CBennett71

Email me: cbennett@farmpress.com

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 4

James Pritchett (not verified)
on Sep 26, 2013

Horses are NOT vicious animals.
Horses are how the - WEST WAS WON.
Give horses credit for the AMERICAN FARMER'S start to FEED THE WORLD.
Where would we be today in AMERICA if it were not for HORSES

James H Pritchett
Martin, Tennessee

Jamie Walker (not verified)
on Sep 26, 2013

I own 16 horses and have been around them my entire life. Horses are not vicious animals. However, they are still large animals that you need to be cautious around. Many times horses don't realize how large they are, such as stepping on toes or even nipping. Horses are herd animals and many times nipping,biting and kicking is seen in herds but to another horse the damage isn't great. But to a person, a lot greater. But horses majority of the time are not intentionally causing harm. But it's our job as humans to be smarter than horse and be aware of what's going on and the horses reactions.

Barbara Harding (not verified)
on Sep 29, 2013

If you applied the CT Appellate Court's logic to humans -- based on our boundless capacity for mayhem -- the only possible conclusion would be that we are an inherently dangerous species, subject to all the restrictions that classification entails. We'd be effectively uninsurable, and unfit to be around children. Somehow I don't see that happening ... and it shouldn't happen to horses, either!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

The parent is to blame for this incident, not the horse.

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