The Moral and Legal Responsibilities of Bringing a Wild and Dangerous Animal Into Your House

by Bob Schwartz

No one can force you to adopt a wild and dangerous animal as your pet. To bring it into your house. To make it your own. If you do go ahead, against all advice, know the responsibilities.

Some animals are so inherently dangerous that they are not even allowed to be adopted at all. In other cases, if the animal harms or looks like it might harm neighbors, or gets loose and does more widespread damage, you will be blamed. Here is a very rough statement of part of the general law on the subject:

The owner or keeper of a domestic animal has a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries that are foreseeable because the animal belongs to a class of animals that is naturally inclined to cause such injuries, regardless of whether the animal had previously caused an injury or was roaming at large and, accordingly, the owner may be held liable for negligence if he or she fails to take such reasonable steps and an injury results.

Some will say, oh, but it’s so cute and exotic and interesting. It’s the talk of the town. It may seem relatively normal, even lovable, at times. It may even be featured on the local news.

But eventually, neighbors will say: stay away from that house. And will tell others to stay away from your house. And if it does the kind of serious damage you know it is capable of, how will you live with yourself?

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