Farm Animal Owners Take Note: Your Animals Have Greater Protection Than Many Kids

The story today is about an Ohio pit bull owner whose dogs killed two miniature horses and mauled a third. Law enforcement officials are recommending two counts of improper confinement of a vicious dog, and two counts of failure to have the required liability insurance for such animals. Each count is a misdemeanor with a possible penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. (Read the article.)

There are greater civil and criminal penalties for attacks on horses and farm animals than attacks on humans, in many cases. When considering what to do after such an animal is attacked by a dog, do not get confused by the one-bite rule or anything else that applies to attacks on humans. You should review the codes of your state that pertain to agriculture, food and game, and provisions of the civil code relevant to animals other than dogs and cats. Furthermore, check the county codes and even the city codes too.

Our laws pertaining to animals originated in 17th century England. In such times, the courts were more concerned about property rights in general, and income-producing (and life-sustaining) animals such as sheep, goats, cows and the like. Injuries to any of those animals could severely impact the finances of their owners. Consequently, a dog that “worried” sheep, for example, could be killed without fear of civil or criminal liability.

The human race had not invented pit bulls yet. People were not participating in the sport of watching dogs kill other dogs. There was no utility or financial advantage in having a killer dogs, in those days. Accordingly, society was intolerant of them. Worry a sheep, die. Hurt a sheep, die. We have come a long way since then. Whether up or down, you decide.