Exotic Pet Injuries

In February of 2009, a Connecticut woman was mauled by her friend’s pet chimpanzee, causing serious injuries, leaving her in critical condition. Chimpanzees, like many other exotic pets, may look harmless or cute, but actually have the potential to cause a great deal of harm. But to what extent is someone who owns an exotic animal liable for the actions of that animal?

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. Most states have their own laws regarding animal liability, and few states specifically define what are considered “exotic pets”, much less outline special liabilities. However, even if a state does not specifically lay out laws regarding exotic pets, one can examine laws regarding all pets to determine liability. Many states, including Indiana, have “strict liability” statutes which basically state that an owner is liable for any injury caused by his or her pets, regardless of whether or not the owner is being negligent.

There are, however, numerous exemptions to these liabilities. If the victim was trespassing or otherwise committing a crime against the owner, there is typically no liability. Additionally, if the victim is consenting to a risky situation, such as a veterinarian or a groomer treating the animal, there is generally no liability. If the victim provoked the animal, many states exempt the owner from liability, although this can be difficult to prove.

Contact Us

If you have been injured by someone else’s exotic pet, contact the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers of the Hankey Law Office, at (800) 520-3633.