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Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh My!)

Steve Wagner

In terms of wildlife, Indiana, like most of the Midwest, is pretty tame. Hoosiers don’t typically meet lions, tigers, or bears (oh my) walking down main street. Typically. In terms of exotic animal law, Indiana is fairly lenient about what Hoosiers can keep at home. While at least 21 states have banned exotic animals, Indiana allows Hoosiers to apply for a permit to keep their exotic pet at home. At least, that was the law until a few weeks ago.

A new ruling in a recent lawsuit over the Indiana Department of Natural Resource’s power to regulate the captive hunting of deer has stripped the Indiana Department of Natural Resources of its ability to regulate “wild animals as well as administrative rules on cage sizes, veterinary, and food requirements.” Consequently, the permits the Indiana Department of Natural Resource had been issuing are no longer valid along with the restrictions the department imposed on the permit holders. The result is, as Linnea Petercheff, Operations Staff Specialist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, puts it, there is a growing concern “primarily toward public safety and the more dangerous animals that a person can now have as a pet.”

The concern extends towards exotic pet owners as well. In Indiana, under current case law, wild animal attacks are strict liability torts. Irvine v. Rare Feline Breeding Ctr., 685 N.E.2d 120 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997).In a strict liability case, fault is not assessed. Id. If an owner’s exotic pet injures another person, the owner is exposed to liability. Without the regulations imposed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, exotic pet owners may find it harder to draw the line between a safe activity and a potential lawsuit.

Wagner Reese – Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured by an exotic or wild animal owned by an individual, the attorneys of Wagner Reese can answer your legal questions. To find you how we can help, give us a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consult with one of our personal injury attorneys.


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