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Liability for Animals

Liability for Animals

In this article we discuss about liabilities for animals & relevant case laws.
  • Liability for keeping animlas 'ferae naturae'.
  • Liability for keeping animals 'mansuetae naturae'.
  • Death or injury caused by wild animals.

Liability for keeping animals 'ferae naturae':

Ferae naturae is a Latin word meaning wild, referring to all animals that are not allowed to be kept as pets. In natural law it is generally accepted that no one owns property, but a person can acquire property by seizing a natural right as a natural right.

As stated above, there is a firm and irrefutable presumption that doe naturae custodians are aware of their dangerous nature and if an animal gets out of control and causes damage." , then he will be held legally responsible. The guardian holding this animal is at his own risk and responsibilities are very strict. Liability arises even when there is no evidence of negligence. therefore, if the respondent's pet monkey bites the plaintiff, the respondent will be liable even if there is no evidence of the defendant's carelessness in handling the monkey. It is not an excuse to say that the animal in question, although of the fairae naturae category, is in fact an animal that has been tamed or even trained in a circus or that the animal acts for fear rather than evil.

Case law: Behrens v. Bertram Mills Circus Ltd.
there, the defendants ran a circus. A circus-trained Burmese elephant was frightened by the barking of a small dog. The elephant chased the dog towards a cabin, the cabin overturned and the applicant staying in the cabin, although not physically injured, was in shock and was bedridden for a week. the elephant is an ordinary natural animal and the court does not consider the Burmese elephant to be a different kind. The court also did not consider that the fact that the animal did not act violently but out of fear had any effect on the legal liability of the defendants.

Liability for keeping animals 'mansuetae naturae':

Mansuetae naturae means natural gentleness. It refers to animals that are naturally docile and easy to handle. These animals are not aggressive and are usually calm around humans. Examples of animals are mansuetae naturae which includes cows, sheep, and horses.

In order to hold the defendant liable for damage caused by a pet animal or harmless pet, two things must be proven:
  1. that the animals in question have an uncommon evil disposition towards animals of that species; And
  2. that the defendant actually knew about the crime.

The position was explained by Bankes, LJ in Buckle v. Holmes therefore:
This group includes dogs, cows and horses, which are not dangerous to humans. Individuals of this type may develop predispositions, but unless and until they do, they are not considered to be animals of which the owner is at his own risk and danger; and omitting trespasses for the time being, the owner is not responsible for any damage these animals may cause in the absence of infringement.

However, an individual of this type may cease to be a person for whom damage is not liable to its owner, if he gives him signs of an evil or dangerous disposition. When an animal is found to be of such a nature by its owner, it switches to an animal category at the owner's own risk.

Case Law:
Buckle v. Holmes
In Buckle v. Holmes, the defendant's cat entered the plaintiff's land and there killed thirteen pigeons and two of the plaintiff's bantam hens. Since the cat did so according to the common instincts of the species and there was no evil disposition towards this cat, its owner was not held responsible. Likewise, if the plaintiff was bitten by the respondent's dog that was previously prone to attacking humans and the respondent knew about it, the respondent would be held liable.

In Manton v. Brocklebank, the respondent's mare and the plaintiff's horse are in the field with the permission of its owner. The defendant's horse kicked and injured the plaintiff's horse. Since the tendency to kick and bite other horses is common to all horses, the defendant is not liable.

Death or injury caused by wild animals:
In the State of Himachal Pradesh v. Halli Devi, plaintiff/defendant, resident of Rohla village, Chamba district, on his way to the cowshed to feed the cows on March 27, 1989, was attacked by a wild animal, a black bear. fractures in various parts of the body and complete loss of vision in the left eye.

She was granted Rs. 5,000/- as exgratia relief

She filed a lawsuit to claim back Rs 1,000,000 as compensation for the injuries she suffered. She claimed that divisional forestry staff, as part of a wildlife protection program, released bears and other protected animals into the forest.

It was held that killing wild animals alone is Prohibited by law does not mean that the state assumes ownership of the animals, nor does it create state liability for death or injury resulting from such animals.

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