A recent state Supreme Court ruling that affirms a lower court decision branding horses as “inherently dangerous” animals intensifies the need for the legislature to pass legislation that will protect horse owners in Connecticut from the precedent this court decision sets,” said state Rep. Whit Betts (R-Bristol, Plymouth) in a press release from his office.
The ruling by the state Supreme Court, deeming horses a “species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious” provides further proof that legislation is needed to ensure the safety and well-being of horse owners throughout Connecticut, present and future, said Betts in his release.
The proposal (H.B. 5044) is born from a court case involving a 2006 incident where a horse bit a child when he attempted to pet it, said the release. An appellate court in 2012 found that the horse’s owner was at fault because horses are mischievous and vicious creatures. This broad description of all horses as a result of one action has the effect of changing liability for all horse owners, along with those that board or permit the riding of horses.
Members of the Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court decision, reported the press release, a move that horse owners fear could cause their insurance costs to skyrocket.
“The unintended consequence of this Supreme Court decision is that small business owners that provide horse boarding, riding, care and other services, would be negatively impacted by rising insurance costs,” said Betts, a co-sponsor of the bill, according to his release. “In a state that is already unwelcoming to business, this ruling is yet another signal that Connecticut does not support small business owners. I’m hopeful that the legislature will pass this proposal and help to protect horse owners and enthusiasts.”
The proposal received unanimous approval in the Environment Committee. It awaits action by the legislature’s full membership.