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.
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