The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

September 23, 2013

Conn. court weighs if horses are innately vicious

(Continued)

Horse farmers and equine enthusiasts, who cite 2005 statistics saying that the horse industry contributes about $221 million a year to the state's economy in boarding, training, lessons and breeding businesses, are asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the Appellate Court's decision. 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 age, breed and gender, not as an entire species.

"Here, there was no evidence that Scuppy was of a specific class of horse with a widely known propensity to cause mischief or be vicious," they wrote.

Astriab had won at a lower court in 2010, when a New Haven judge sided with the horse's owner and ruled that the child's father, Anthony Vendrella Sr., failed to prove the owner knew of previous incidents of aggression by Scuppy.

The Superior Court judge said Astriab testified that neither he nor anyone else had ever seen Scuppy bite a person before and that in 28 years, none of the horses at the farm bit or injured anyone.

"Cats have a tendency to scratch and horses have a tendency to bite, but the plaintiffs have failed to show, as they must, that the defendants were on notice that Scuppy specifically, and not horses generally, had a tendency to bite people or other horses," Judge Robin Wilson ruled.

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