A horse named Justice is trying to sue its former owner for neglect

Animal Legal Defense Fund

A horse in Oregon is attempting to sue its former owner for neglect. No, you've read that right. A horse is suing a human being.

While that might sound like an amusing headline, the reality is a lot more harrowing and highlights the abuse that some animals can be put through.

The 8-year-old American quarter horse, formerly known as Shadow but is now fittingly called Justice, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Gwendolyn Vercher.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Justice is seeking $100,000 in compensation for the severe neglect that he suffered during her care, which left him suffering from weight loss, a prolapsed penis from frostbite, lice and rain rot, which means he will require medical care for the rest of his life.

The 14-page lawsuit filed by the organisation on Tuesday claims that Oregon courts recognise animals as victims and they have a right to seek legal remedies against this abuse.

According to the New York Post, the lawsuit reads:

As a result of this neglect, Justice was left debilitated and emaciated. These injuries will require special and expensive medical care for the remainder of his life.

Justice is asking the Court to take these well-established rules to the logical next step and recognise that as a member of the class intended to be protected by Oregon’s anti-cruelty statute, Justice may bring a negligence per se claim based on the standard of care in the [state’s] anti-cruelty statute.

If the lawsuit is successful, it will be the first time that an animal has been able to sue an abuser in a court of law and could transform the rights that animals have in the future.

Previous hearings, such as the chimpanzee who was kept as a prisoner in a trailer, have been unsuccessful in helping animals earn 'basic human rights.'

Speaking to The Oregonian, Sarah Hanneken, who is one of the attorneys helping Justice, said that state case law has shown that animals have legally protected rights.

She adds:

The Oregon legislature clearly established an anti-cruelty statute for the safety and protection of animals.

Victims of crimes can sue their abusers and animals are sentient beings that are recognised as victims under Oregon law.

So with that premise, we've come to the conclusion that animals can sue their abusers and we're confident of our stance in this case.

HT New York Post

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