Connecticut Supreme Court Deciding if Horses are Innately Vicious

A vicious species? I think not. (photo by Kate Samuels)

In Connecticut right now, the State Supreme Court is debating what I honestly feel is one of the most absurd equine accusations ever. The hearings on September 24th laid out an argument that horses are an innately vicious species, and thus must be regulated in a different manner than they are now. The implications of such a decision could impact not only equestrians in Connecticut, but from the whole United States. While we as equestrians understand this to be positively absurd, it is a real concern for the future legal status of equine related businesses, as it would make owning horses uninsurable.

In 2006, a boy of about one and a half was buying plants with his father at Glendale Farms in Milford, Connecticut. During this time, according to court papers, a horse known as “Scuppy” put his head through the fence nearby and bit the boy’s cheek, “removing a large chunk of it”. The boy’s family has now been pursuing legal action against horses as a species since that time.

Timothy Astriab, the owner of Scuppy’s farm, testified that there were in fact signs posted visibly warning visitors not to pet or feed the horses in the paddocks. In addition, he says that neither he nor anyone else has ever seen Scuppy or any of the other farm horses bite another person in the previous 28 years.

An initial 2010 court ruling favored Astriab in the proceedings, ruling that the boy’s father, Anthony Vendrella Sr., failed to prove that Astriab had any previous knowledge of aggressive behavior from Scuppy. However, the Vendrella family appealed the case in 2012 and has since that time taken it to the State Supreme Court.

Should Connecticut rule that horses are a naturally vicious species, they will become the first state to deem equines as a hazard. Not only is this the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, but this also has ramifications for businesses that pair children with horses, a large part of the equine industry. Horses are absolutely not naturally inclined to be aggressive, but due to the overwhelming ignorance of certain humans they have had these absurd aspersions cast upon their entire species. Frankly, Anthony Vendrella, you should watch out for horse people coming after you with pitchforks.

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