Are Horses 'Vicious'? Court to Decide
Upholding the classification could jeopardize Connecticut's equine industry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 24, 2013 8:29 AM CDT
A horse shows his teeth through a barn door on Aug. 31, 2010 at the Elko County Fairgrounds in Elko, Nevada.   (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson)

(Newser) – After a horse named Scuppy bit a boy in the face, a Connecticut court came to a conclusion that threw animal lovers: Horses are a naturally vicious species. Now, horse owners and farmers are mobilizing as the state Supreme Court hears an appeal in the case today. Such a classification—America's first, if it stands—would make owning horses uninsurable and jeopardize the state's sizable horse industry, farmers and horse owners say. "You could not pair children and horses, the core equestrian business nationwide that it's all about," said Doug Dubitsky, a lawyer who represents farmers and horse businesses.

When the boy tried to pet the horse at Glendale Farms in 2006, according to court papers, the animal stuck his neck out and bit the child on his right cheek, "removing a large chunk of it." In February 2012, the mid-level Appellate Court said that testimony by Timothy Astriab, whose family owns the farm, demonstrated that Scuppy belongs to "a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious." Although he had no knowledge of Scuppy biting anyone before, Astriab testified that Scuppy was no different than other horses that would bite if a finger was put in front of him. "Significantly, Astriab acknowledged his concern that if someone made contact with Scuppy, whether to pet or feed him, they could get bit," the justices said. Horse enthusiasts are asking the state Supreme Court to throw out the decision, arguing that under common law viciousness is judged individually according to age, breed, and gender, not as an entire species.

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Showing 3 of 52 comments
HANKHILL
Sep 25, 2013 7:40 PM CDT
just eat scuppy and move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HMD-SMD-ITY
Sep 25, 2013 7:07 PM CDT
It can happen, I've witnessed and felt it myself. A neighbor trained her horse to hate men. Even women dressed too manly would get trampled. I didn't believe her and I went up to the horse who was standing in the coral. It bucked up and then charged me and I was on the dirt in no time. It then made several passes as it tried to repeatedly trample me. It finally gave up and I made my escape. Her German Shepard did the same thing. It got loose one day and attacked my brother. Dad got his dirty Harry .44 and blew him to pieces. We soon moved away about 90 miles. It was Christmas morning and we were in our car on the way to grandma's. All we had was a radio back then and soon the music stopped and then, "This is special report from the Oklahoma News Network. A boy has been killed by a horse in xxxx, Oklahoma. Police are investigating the incident with a reported savage horse." We later found out it was the same horse and the boy killed was the family who bought our home. There was a lawsuit and it ruined our former neighbors. They lost their ranch in the judgement. So take that as a lesson.
justreading1
Sep 25, 2013 2:32 PM CDT
Horses are destructive by chewing wood, kicking etc. But not vicious.