All animals except those that belong to a dangerous species (all non-dangerous animals) are governed by the same rules. There is sometimes strict liability for injuries caused by those animals, but only where special conditions are met. Unfortunately, the conditions are difficult to interpret.
Animals do not belong to a dangerous species if they are commonly domesticated. Most animals, including cats, dogs, cows, sheep and horses, are non-dangerous animals because they are often tamed or kept under human control.
Conditions for strict liability
Where damage is caused by an animal which does not belong to a dangerous species, three conditions must be satisfied:
the damage is of a kind which the animal, unless restrained, was likely to cause or which, if caused by the animal, was likely to be severe; and
the likelihood of the damage or of its being severe was due to the characteristics of the animal which are not normally found in animals of the same species or are not normally so found except at particular times or in particular circumstances; and
those characteristics were known to that keeper or were at any time known to a person who at that time had charge of the animal as that keeper’s servant, or where that keeper is the head of a household, were known to another keeper of the animal who is a member of that household and under the age of sixteen.
Who is responsible?
The keeper of the animal is usually the responsible party. However, there is often difficulties here, as keepers of non-dangerous animals are often not insured. We must make initial enquiries to establish whether the keeper has proper and valid insurance prior to bringing any claim.
Why Beacon Law?
If you have suffered an injury as a result of an attack from a non-dangerous animal, then you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation. Contact us today and speak with one of our specialist solicitors to see if we can help.