2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Owner liable for damages caused by pet goat

A Small Claims Court in Nova Scotia has awarded a woman $1,500 in damages after her neighbour's goat rammed her car.  At first, the goat had chased the woman's young daughter who had exited the vehicle.  When the daughter managed to get back into the car, the goat rammed the side of the car and then climbed on top of it.  The goat was being "goatsat" while the owner was away.

The Small Claims adjudicator ruled that the goat was to be considered a wild animal rather than a domesticated one for the purposes of the case:
The law divides animals into one of two categories.  The first category is wild by nature known as ferea naturae The second category would be those considered domesticated by nature and this category is known as mansuetae naturae.  I grant you it is sometimes difficult to categorize animals as wild by nature versus domesticated by nature. For example, is a cow a domesticated animal or a wild animal?  Is a Rottweiller or a Pitbull a wild animal or a domesticated animal?  These are questions that face the Small Claims Court on more than one occasion.  I think it is safe to say the goat would fit in to the first category of an animal that is wild by nature.  No doubt they can be trained to a certain extent but when you have an animal like a goat would you allow it to live in your home.  I suggest there is only so far you can go to training an animal like a goat.  The same could be said for a tiger.  While they may be well trained they are wild animals.  As such the law imposes a very high duty on the owner to prevent any kind of injury from such animals even if the owner believes in his own mind that the animal is harmless.  The owner of such an animal will be strictly liable for any injury caused by that animal, which is the case here.
Read the decision at: Pittman v. Morin.