Wild Animal Attack Laws

Unlike in dog bite and attack cases, “when a person is injured by an attack of an animal ferae naturae (a wild animal), the negligence of the owner or keeper thereof is presumed, because of the dangerous and ferocious propensities of a wild beast, such as a lion, tiger, leopard, bear, ape, baboon, and such like wild beasts, and the law recognizes that safety lies only in keeping such animals perfectly secure.” Candler v. Smith, 50 Ga. App. 667, 669 (Ga. Ct. App. 1934). The owner or keeper of such dangerous creatures is required to exercise that degree of care in regard to them which will absolutely prevent the occurrence of an injury to others through such vicious acts of the animal as he is naturally inclined to commit, provided of course that the injury is not brought about by the negligence of the person injured.

Under these circumstances, the act that produces an the injury is in itself sufficient evidence that the owner or keeper of the animal failed to exercise the degree of care required by law; and, therefore, to successfully set out a cause of action against the owner or keeper of an animal ferae naturae, it is not necessary to allege that the injury occurred by reason of the actual negligence of the owner or keeper, but an allegation that the owner brought such wild beast upon his premises and kept him there at his own risk in such a manner that the beast was able to escape and come upon the premises of the plaintiff and commit the injury complained of, is sufficient to make out a case against the defendant owner of such wild animal. Candler v. Smith, 50 Ga. App. 667, 669 (Ga. Ct. App. 1934).

This case creates strict liability for injury caused by wild animals, in other words, it does not have to be proven that the wild animal had bitten or attacked previously.

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