Horse Dangerousness Before State Supreme Court

Sep 25, 2013

Credit Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Supreme Court justices heard an appeal Tuesday that all started with a horse named Scuppy. He allegedly bit a boy, and the family sued. An attorney representing horse owners in Connecticut asked the justices to overturn an appellate court ruling. That court found Scuppy's owner to be liable, saying the species is naturally vicious.

Attorney Doug Dubitsky, who represents horse owners, said the appellate's decision would make Connecticut the first state in the nation to view horses as inherently dangerous. "For centuries in Connecticut," Dubitsky said, "the law has always been that the viciousness of a horse is judged by that specific horse, not horses as an entire species. There is no state that says horses are inherently dangerous, like tigers, or cobras, or wild animals that are widely recognized as being inherently dangerous."

A decision affirming dangerousness, Dubitsky said, could jeopardize the horse industry in Connecticut. "It would be devastating," he said. "Connecticut has the highest density of horses of any state in the nation. If you own a small boarding and training facility, and your bread and butter is teaching 12- to 17-year-old girls how to ride horses, you can just imagine how it would affect your business if suddenly horses were considered inherently dangerous. It would be exceedingly difficult to get insurance for horses if they were considered under state law to be inherently dangerous animals, like wild animals."