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Malloy Looks To Shield Horse Owners

by Hugh McQuaid | Feb 7, 2014 6:04pm
(11) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Agriculture, Civil Liberties, Courts

Arnold Gold — New Haven Register

Shannon Pleines is photographed with a fourteen-year-old miniature pony, Sparkles (left), and Cash (right), a six-year-old paint horse at Shannon Equine in Woodbridge on 11/14/2013.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed a bill designed to shield horse owners from the potential consequences of a state Supreme Court case weighing whether horses are inherently “vicious” animals.

The bill would clarify that domesticated horses in general are not “inherently dangerous” and do not “possess a vicious propensity.” Under the legislation, individual horses may be found to be vicious on a case-by-case basis. The bill also applies to domesticated ponies, donkeys, and mules.

Malloy’s legislation comes as the state’s highest court is considering a lower court decision pertaining to a lawsuit stemming from a 2006 incident when a horse bit a young child at a farm in Milford. In 2012, a state Appellate Court concluded that horses were both viscous and inclined to mischief. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case in September, but has not yet issued a decision.

Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy, said the governor has spent a lot of time with the state’s agriculture industry and saw an opportunity to protect Connecticut horse owners and businesses.

“He thought it was a good idea to take action and not devastate this industry in our state,” Doba said.

Should the court decide that horses are vicious, it would have a big impact on horse owners and businesses related to horses.

“If that is so, then the whole world just changed for everybody with a horse,” George Krivda, public information officer at the Department of Agriculture, said.

Horses would become more difficult and expensive to insure. Krivda said that would put every equine business in the state in big trouble.

State Rep. Diana Urban, a North Stonington Democrat and horse owner, said Connecticut tends to rank highly in terms of horse ownership compared to other states. She said that the boarding and training of horses, in addition to riding lessons for equestrians, are a lucrative business in the state.

According to an amicus brief in the case filed by the Connecticut Horse Council, horse-related businesses generate almost $39 million in annual income and employ more than 1,100 full-time equivalent employees.

Urban said the court decision could be disastrous.

“If something like this came to fruition, liability insurance would basically decimate the horse industry in Connecticut. It would be insurmountable for most barns,” she said. “I think it would filter down to the back yard horse owners too. It would create an opportunity for litigation.”

Urban said she was surprised when she heard Malloy would be proposing the bill, but thought it was a good idea.

“I don’t think he’s going to lose any votes doing this,” she said.

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(11) Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | February 7, 2014  7:14pm

Is there any segment of the population that hasn’t had a gift from Santa Malloy’s grab bag of public policy? How about owners of pink long haired Siamese cats who are triplets and were born on a Tuesday?

posted by: art vandelay | February 8, 2014  1:40am

art vandelay

Will Pit Bull owners be next?

posted by: Lawrence | February 8, 2014  7:37am

Is there any public policy initiative—ANY AT ALL—that right-wingers won’t ascribe a campaign motive to this year?

Really, you are just embarrassing yourselves.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | February 8, 2014  9:04am

DrHunterSThompson

This is good legislation. For the uniformed, like the supremes, horses are not inherently dangerous. And Connecticut has the highest per capita horse ownership in the nation. It is an important industry. And that ain’t horsesh!t.


HST

posted by: Historian | February 8, 2014  10:27am

Add in chimpanzee - political correctness nonsense and a judicial waste of time and money..

posted by: StanMuzyk | February 8, 2014  1:51pm

This is just another ploy to realistically “horse-collar-votes” by Gov. Malloy at taxpayer expense. DrHunterSThompson says “That ain’t horseshit”—but he should look again!

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | February 8, 2014  2:30pm

Dr. HST is spot on. The Gov and GA should pass this legislation, just in case the Supremes are just as off the wall as the Appellate judges. There are many, many more dog bites and cat bites/scratches than there are horse bites, and because one horse bit one kid, it’s horses that might be declared “inherently vicious”? Ludicrous!

posted by: Chien DeBerger | February 8, 2014  3:07pm

@Lawrence -

The short answer: NO!!! The democratic party continues to drive this state and country into the toilet with utter stupidity. You can continue to sit in your basement dressed in your underwear and wearing your tin foil hat oblivious to what is happening. By the way, isn’t time for your next dose of your medically prescribed cannabis?

posted by: dano860 | February 8, 2014  10:12pm

Ms. Urbana’s statement in the last sentence essentially tells us of her first concern.
Danger and death are around us constantly, it can not be legislated away. I would offer that any animal goes to its first line of defense mechanism whenever they feel threatened or cornered. Some bite, some scratch, some kick others swing their head and send you flying, some spit, others will ram you into the next town and some may stomp you to death. That won’t be legislated away but it can cost the owner dearly. In this State it usually finds its way to be a “revenue producer” and a job killer.
We have a plaque in our barn that simply states the feelings of many seasoned horse owner and lover “,Some bring joy to this barn when they arrive and some when they leave.”

posted by: StanMuzyk | February 9, 2014  1:17pm

@Chien: I agree with your assessment blaming the Democratic Party continuing to drive this state and country into the toilet—but it isn’t because of “utter stupidity.”  The Democratic party obviously has succumbed to the alleged control of Pres. Barack Obama by his billionaire backers. Gov. Dannel Malloy is unfortunately a loyal Democrat and reflects the controlled leadership of his party.

posted by: S.A. | February 13, 2014  8:53pm

Animals are animals, and owners are owners. Domestic animals are not inherently violent. To judge all good owners, by a FEW bad or uninformed owners, is disastrous!!! Horses are NOT inherently vicious! I think Malloy is on the righ track.