Horses: Related Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
AR - Equine - Equine Activity Liability

This Arkansas statute provides that an equine activity sponsor, an employee of an equine activity sponsor, a livestock sponsor, an employee of a livestock sponsor, a livestock owner, a livestock facility, or a livestock auction market are not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of an equine activities activity or a livestock activity.   Liability is not limited when the equine activity sponsor or an employee of an equine activity sponsor, a livestock sponsor, an employee of a livestock sponsor, a livestock owner, a livestock facility, or a livestock auction market knows or should know the equipment or tack is faulty, fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant, was aware of dangerous latent condition on the land, committs an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, or when the participant is intentionally injured.  Warning signs alerting participants to the assumption of risk in equine activities are also required by law.

DE - Equine Activity Liability - § 8140. CHAPTER 81. PERSONAL ACTIONS. 10 Del.C. § 8140

This Delaware statute provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional or any other person shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities.  Liability is not limited, however, when the equine professional knowingly used faulty tack, failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage in the activity, owns or otherwise is in lawful possession of the land upon which the participant sustained injuries because of a dangerous latent condition which was known, commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, or intentionally injures the participant.  Equine professionals and sponsors are also required to post warning signs alerting the participants to the limitation of liability by law.

VT - Equine - § 1039. Equine activities; acceptance of inherent risks 12 V.S.A. § 1039

This statute represents Vermont's equine activity liability law. Under the Act, no person shall be liable for an injury to, or the death of, a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, insofar as those risks are necessary to the equine activity and obvious to the person injured. An equine activity sponsor may (it does not say "shall") post and maintain signs which contain the warning notice specified in this subsection.

US - Horse - Wild Horses and Burros Act 16 USC 1331 - 1340

The Wild Horses and Burros Act approved December 15, 1971, provides for protection of wild, free-roaming horses and burros. It directs the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior and Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture to manage such animals on public lands under their jurisdiction.

OK - Horse - § 6-192. Horse meat 2 Okl. St. Ann. § 6-192 (former repealed, 63 Okl.St.Ann. § 1-1135 - 1139) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer or exhibit for sale, or have in his or her possession with intent to sell, any quantity of horsemeat for human consumption in Oklahoma.
VT - Impound - Sub Chapter 2. Pounds and Impounds. 20 V.S.A. § 3381 - 3485

The following Vermont statutes require that each organized Vermont town maintain a pound or else the town will be fined $30.00. The statutes also provide provisions for impounding an animal, retrieving an impounded animal, failing to retrieve an impounded animal, and assessing damages of an impounded animal, amongst other topics.

ME - Horsemeat - § 2163. Sale of horsemeat 22 M.R.S.A. § 2163

This Maine statute provides that no person shall transport, receive for transportation, sell or offer for sale or distribution any equine meat or food products thereof unless said equine meat is plainly and conspicuously labeled, marked, branded and tagged “horsemeat” or “horsemeat products” unless such equine meat is conspicuously branded and labeled and a notice containing the words “horsemeat and horsemeat products sold here” is conspicuously displayed in said place of business. Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100 for the first offense and by a fine of not more than $200 for each subsequent offense, and the District and Superior Courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction of the offense.

IL - Horse Meat Act - Chapter 225. Professions and Occupations. 225 ILCS 635/1 - 18

This Act prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as importing, exporting, selling, giving, or even possessing horse meat if a person knows or should know that it will be used for human consumption.  Violation of this section of the Act is a Class C misdemeanor.  The Act does contain several exceptions. Notably, it does not apply to any commonly accepted noncommercial, recreational, or sporting activities.

PA - Humane Slaughter - Slaughter and Processing of Domestic Animals 3 Pa.C.S.A. § 2361 - 2362

These laws comprise Pennsylvania's humane slaughter provisions.  The section begins with the enabling statute that grants authority to the relevant state agency.  It then declares that humane methods shall be used in the handling of domestic animals for slaughter and in the actual bleeding and slaughter of domestic animals except in the cases of slaughter for ritual purposes or individual (e.g., non-commercial) consumption.  The law itself does not proscribe penalties for non-compliance (but such may be listed in departmental regulations).

PA - Equine - Chapter 13. Equine Activity. 4 P.S. § 601 - 606

These statutes comprise Pennsylvania's Equine Activity Act, which sent into effect on February 21, 2006. Under the law, liability for negligence shall only be barred where knowing voluntary assumption of risk is proven in a particular case. However, the Act provides immunity only where a sign that states, "You assume the risk of equine activities pursuant to Pennsylvania law," is conspicuously posted on the premises in two or more locations.

US - Food Animal - Twenty Eight Hour Law of 1877 49 USC 80502

This Federal law addresses the transportation of animals, including those raised for food or in food production, across state lines. The statute provides that animals cannot be transported by "rail carrier, express carrier or common carrier" (except by air or water) for more than 28 consecutive hours without being unloaded for five hours for rest, water and food.

VT - Humane Slaughter - Humane Slaughter of Livestock 6 V.S.A. § 3131 - 3134

These statutes comprise Vermont's humane slaughter provisions.  The law requires the humane slaughter of all commercial livestock with a "humane method" defined as a method whereby the animal is rendered insensible to pain by mechanical, electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut (with exemptions for religious ritual slaughter).  A person who violates this chapter shall be fined not more than $100.00 nor less than $50.00 or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both, and in addition, the secretary may seek an injunction against a slaughterer.

ME - Equine Liability - Chapter 743. Equine Activities 7 M. R. S. A. § 4101 - 4103-A

This act stipulates that an equine sponsor, equine professional, or any other person engaged in an equine activity, is immune from liability for the death or injury of a participant, as well as property damage, which resulted from the inherent risks of equine activities.   However, there are exceptions to this rule:   A person will be held liable for injuries of an equine activity participant if he or she displays a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if he or she fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant.   In addition, a person will also be held liable for the injury of an equine activity participant if he or she is injured on the land or at a facility due to a dangerous latent condition of which was known to the equine sponsor, professional or other person.

US - Food Animal - Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter 7 USC 1901 - 1907

These statutory sections comprise what is commonly termed the Humane Slaughter Act.  Included in these sections are Congress' statement that livestock must be slaughtered in a humane manner to prevent needless suffering, research methods on humane methods of slaughter, the nonapplicability of these statutes to religious or ritual slaughter, and the investigation into the care of nonambulatory livestock.

IL - Equine Liability Act - Equine Activity Liability Act 745 I.L.C.S. 47/1 - 47/999

This act stipulates that an equine sponsor or professional, or any other person, is immune from liability for the death or injury of a participant, which resulted from the inherent risks of equine activities.   However, there are exceptions to this rule:   a person will be held liable for injuries of an equine activity participant if he or she displays a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if he or she fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant.   In addition, a person will also be held liable for the injury of an equine activity participant if he or she is injured on the land or at a facility due to a dangerous latent condition of which was known to the equine sponsor, professional or other person.

OK - Equine Activity Liability - Title 76. Torts. Livestock Activities Liability Limitation Act. 76 Okl. St. Ann. § 50.1 - 50.4

The Oklahoma Livestock Activities Liability Limitation Act provides that it is the intent of the Oklahoma Legislature to encourage livestock activities by limiting the civil liability of livestock activities sponsors, participants and livestock professionals involved in such activities.  A livestock activity sponsor, a participant or a livestock professional acting in good faith and pursuant to the standards of the livestock industry shall not be liable for injuries to any person engaged in livestock activities when such injuries result from the inherent risks of livestock activities.  Oklahoma also has a unique provision that explicitly states that two or more persons may agree, in writing, to extend the waiver of liability pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Livestock Activities Liability Limitation Act.

AZ - Equine Activity Liability Statute A. R. S. § 12-553

This Arizona statute provides that an equine agent or owner is not liable for injury if the participant took control of the equine prior to injury, if a parent or guardian signed a release on behalf of a minor, if the owner or agent has properly installed suitable tack or the participant has personally tacked the equine, or the owner or agent assigns a suitable equine based on a reasonable interpretation of the person's representation of his or her skills, health and experience with and knowledge of equines.  Liability is not limited, however, when an equine owner or agent is grossly negligent or commits willful, wanton or intentional acts or omissions.

AZ - Humane Slaughter - Slaughter of Animals A. R. S. § 3-2001 - 2017

This Arizona statutory section covers the slaughter of animals.  Among its provisions include license requirements for the slaughter meat, recordkeeping requirements, and a section relating to humane slaughter.  The humane slaughter law requires that a livestock animal is rendered insensible to pain prior to being hoisted or shackled; however, none of the provisions apply to one who slaughters an animal for his or her own uses.  Interestingly, while the other provisions relating to adulterated meat and licensing requirements describe the penalty for violation, no penalty is listed under the humane slaughter statute.

AZ - Horse slaughter - Article 4. Horsemeat. A.R.S. § 3-2121 - 2132

This Arizona article deals with horsemeat. A license shall be obtained from the division before slaughtering a horse for human consumption. There shall be an antemortem and a postmortem inspection of each horse slaughtered. All horsemeat food products shall be conspicuously branded, marked, tagged or labeled, “horsemeat” or “horsemeat product.” It is unlawful to offer horsemeat for sale for human consumption unless there is prominently displayed in conjunction therewith a sign bearing the words, in letters not less than eight inches in height and three inches in width, “horsemeat for human consumption.”

AL - Equine - Immunity of those involved in equine activities. Ala. Code 1975 § 6-5-337

This Alabama statute embodies the legislature's recognition that persons who participate in equine activities may incur injuries as a result of the risks involved in those activities.  This statute provides that for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, and to encourage equine activities, civil liability of those involved in equine activities is limited by law.  Liability is not limited when the equine sponsor intentionally injures a participant or engages in willful or wanton behavior that causes injury or death. 

AK - Bite - Killing dogs annoying or evincing tendency to bite animals or fowls. AS § 03.55.030

This Alaska statute provides that any dog that habitually annoys any wild deer, reindeer, sheep, cattle, horse, or other animal or bird either domestic or wild, or evinces a disposition which makes it likely that it will without provocation bite an animal or fowl, may be lawfully killed by any person when it is found at large. The owner or keeper of the dog, if known or reasonably identifiable, shall be notified and given reasonable opportunity to restrain the dog before it is lawful to kill it.

AK - Equine - Equine Activity Liability Statute AS § 09.65.145; AS § 09.65.290

Two Alaska statutes are provided here that relate to the limitation of liability for equine activities.  The first is the equine activity liability statute, which states that livestock are unpredictable and inherently dangerous and all persons who knowingly place themselves in proximity to livestock for any reason involving an activity that includes livestock are considered a participant in livestock activity and assume the risk.  Exclusions include gross negligence of the equine sponsor, knowledge of faulty tack or equipment, and failure to properly ascertain the level of competence by the participant.  The second statute reiterates that a person who participates in a sports or recreational activity assumes the inherent risks in that sports or recreational activity, including horseback riding.

AZ - Equine Transport - Transporting equine in a cruel manner; violation; classification; definitions. § 28-912. Vehicles transp AZ ST § 3-1312; § 28-912

These Arizona laws provide the requirements for transporting equines to slaughter. A vehicle used to transport equine for slaughter may have no more than one level or tier in the compartment containing the equine. Violation of the laws constitutes a misdemeanor.

CT - Horse Meat - § 21a-22. Sale of equine meat in public eating places C. G. S. A. § 21a-22

This Connecticut law states that a public eating place shall not sell or offer equine meat without without indicating such contents of each item in print. Any person, or the responsible agent of any firm or corporation, who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year or both.

CT - Equine Activity Liability Statute - Chapter 925. Statutory Rights of Action and Defenses C. G. S. A. § 52-557p

This unusually short Connecticut statute limits the liability of equine sponsors by providing that each person engaged in recreational equestrian activities assumes the risk for any injury arising out of the hazards inherent in equestrian sports.  However, if the the injury was proximately caused by the negligence of the person providing the horse or by the failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity, liability if not limited by law.

CO - Equine Activity Liability Statute - Article 21. Damages. C. R. S. A. § 13-21-119

This Colorado statute embodies the intent of the general assembly to encourage equine activities and llama activities by limiting the civil liability of those involved in such activities.  This section also contains specific provisions related to llama activities.  Liability is not limited by this statute where the equine or llama sponsor provided faulty equipment or tack, failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the activity, owned or otherwise possessed the land upon which an injury occurred where there was a known latent condition, or if he or she commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant or intentionally injures the participant. 

CO - Humane Slaughter - Article 33. Custom Processing of Meat Animals. C. R. S. A. § 35-33-101 to 407

This Colorado section includes both the meat processing laws and the humane slaughter provisions.  It covers livestock, which are defined as cattle, calves, sheep, swine, horses, mules, goats, and any other animal which may be used in and for the preparation of meat or meat products.  No processor shall shackle, hoist, or otherwise bring livestock into position for slaughter or shall slaughter livestock except by humane methods as defined by regulation; the use of a manually operated hammer, sledge, or poleax is not permitted.  Additionally, poultry shall be slaughtered in accordance with "good commercial practices" and in a manner that will result in thorough bleeding.  Any person who violates any provision is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $750 per violation for each day of violation and commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

CA - Burro - § 4600. Killing or capturing undomesticated burro; prima facie evidence CA FISH & G § 4600

This section makes it unlawful to kill, wound, capture, or have in possession any undomesticated burro. An undomesticated burro is a wild burro or a burro which has not been tamed or domesticated for a period of three years after its capture.

CA - Slaughter - Part 3. Slaughtered Animals. Chapter 6. Slaughter CA FOOD & AG § 19501 - 19503

These sections enumerate the prescribed methods for slaughtering cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, goats, fallow deer, and poultry.  The regulations adopted under this chapter are required to conform as far as possible to the regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture governing methods of slaughtering.

CA - Humane Slaughter - Chapter 6. Slaughter CA FOOD & AG § 19501 - 19503

This California section constitutes the humane slaughter provisions for cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, goats, fallow deer, and poultry.  The law provides that the animal shall be rendered insensible to pain by a captive bolt, gunshot, electrical or chemical means, or any other means that is rapid and effective before being cut, shackled, hoisted, thrown, or cast, with the exception of poultry which may be shackled.  Note that despite the section covering poultry, it does not apply to the slaughter of spent hens and small game birds, as defined by the department by regulation. 

CA - Rodeos - § 596.7. Rodeos; veterinarians present at performances; violation of section CA PENAL § 596.7

This statute regulating rodeos requires that animals involved have access to veterinary care and mandates treatment of injured rodeo animals. This statute forbids the use of  an electric prod once an animal is in the holding chute, unless necessary to protect participants or spectators. Violations of this section are infractions punishable by a fine.

CA - Abandonment - § 597.2. Equines; abandoned or relinquished; auction and adoption programs CA PENAL § 597.2

This California statute sets forth the requirements for the sale of equines at a private or public auction and that the minimum price must be above the animal's slaughter price.  It also provides that a sale to an individual who buys an equine under the personal use provision shall submit a written statement declaring that the person is adopting the equine for personal use and not for purposes of resale, resale for slaughter, or holding or transporting the equine for slaughter.

CA - Horse Tripping - Poling or tripping a horse; offenses; exceptions CA PENAL § 597g

This section makes it a misdemeanor to pole or trip a horse for entertainment or sport. Poling is a method of training a horse to jump by forcing, persuading, or enticing a horse to lift its legs higher over a jump by hitting its front legs with a pole, rope, stick, etc. Tripping a horse is using a wire, pole, stick, rope, etc. to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

CA - Horse tack - § 597k. Bristle bur, tack bur, etc.; use on animals CA PENAL § 597k

This section makes it a misdemeanor to use a bristle bur, tack bur, or similar device, to be used on a horse or any other animal. A violation is punishable with imprisonment and/or imprisonment.

CA - Docking - § 597n. Docked horses; prohibition of docking; importation or use of unregistered animals CA PENAL § 597n

This law was amended in 2009 to prohibit the docking or cutting of the solid part of any horse or cattle. Violation of the law constitutes a misdemeanor. The new law does provide an exclusion for the docking of any cattle's tail in an emergency for the purpose of saving the cattle's life or relieving the cattle's pain provided that the emergency treatment is performed consistent with the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

CA - Horse slaughter - § 597o. Humane transportation of equine to slaughter; vehicle requirements; segregation of animals; viola CA PENAL § 597o

This statute outlines the requirements for transporting equine to slaughter, including, but limited to, proper ventilation, sufficient space for equine to stand, and the use of ramps and floors with nonskid surfaces.

CA - Horse docking - § 597p. Docked horses; registration; time; fee; certificate CA PENAL § 597p

This statute requires every owner, or user of any docked horse, within the State of California, to register his or her docked horse.

CA - Horse docking - § 597q. Docked horses; unregistered; prima facie evidence CA PENAL § 597q

This statute provides that driving, working, keeping, racing or using any unregistered docked horse 60 days after the passage of this act is prima facie evidence of the fact that the party engaged in such activity docked the tail of such horse.

CA - Horses docking - § 597r. Docked horses; exception of imported stock; registration CA PENAL § 597r

This statute makes it a misdemeanor to violate any of the horse docking provisions, but creates an exception from the provisions of Sections 597n, 597p, and 597q, to persons owning or possessing any docked purebred stallions and mares imported from foreign countries for breeding or exhibition purposes only.

CA - Horse transportation - § 597x. Disabled equine; sale or transport for commercial slaughter; misdemeanor CA PENAL § 597x

This statute makes it a misdemeanor to sell, load, or transport, any live equine that is disabled, if it is intended to be sold, loaded, or transported for commercial slaughter out of the state.

CA - Horse slaughter - § 598c. Horse slaughter for human consumption CA PENAL § 598c

This statute makes it unlawful to possess, to import into or export from the state, or to sell, buy, give away, hold, or accept any equine with the intent of killing it for the purpose of human consumption. Violations could result in a felony conviction with a prison sentence of up to three years.

CA - Horse slaughter - § 598d. Sale of horsemeat for human consumption CA PENAL § 598d

This statute prohibits the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. No  restaurant, cafe, or other public eating place may offer horsemeat for sale for human consumption. A first time violation is a misdemeanor.

CA - Euthanasia - § 599e. Killing unfit animals after notice by officer; offense of refusal to kill; killing by officer; excepti CA PENAL § 599e

This statute requires an owner of an animal deemed to be unfit for employment to kill the animal within 12 hours, after being notified by any peace officer, or be subject to criminal penalties.

CA - Slaughter - § 599f. Nonambulatory animals; slaughter houses, stockyards, auctions, market agencies, or dealers; transaction CA PENAL § 599f

 As used in this section, "nonambulatory" means unable to stand and walk without assistance.  This statute prohibits a slaughterhouse that is not inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture, stockyard, or auction shall buy, sell, or receive a nonambulatory animal.  Effective July 2008, the law also states that no slaughterhouse shall sell meat from non-ambulatory animals for human consumption. The penalty was also increased from an unspecified misdemeanor to a penalty of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $20,000 or both.

CA - Service Animal - § 600. Horses or dogs used by peace officers; willful and malicious harm or interference; punishment; rest CA PENAL § 600

This statute makes it an offense to willfully, maliciously and with no legal justification harm, injure, obstruct, or interfere with a horse or dog under the supervision of law enforcement in the discharge of official duties. Violations are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. Punishment depends on the seriousness of the injury to the animal. Upon conviction, a defendant must also pay restitution for damages.

CA - Horse - § 21759. Caution in passing animals CA VEHICLE § 21759

This California law provides that the driver of any vehicle that approaches a horse drawn vehicle, any ridden animal, or livestock must exercise proper control of his vehicle and shall reduce speed or stop as may appear necessary to avoid frightening the animal and to insure safety of the person in charge of the animal.

California General Laws of 1913: Title 14: Section 596-599f Cal. Penal Code §§ 597 - 599f (1913)

The General Laws of California from 1913, title 14, covers Malicious Mischief which includes sections concerning: Cruelty to Animals, Poisoning of Cattle, killing of birds in cemeteries and killing of gulls or cranes.  The Cruelty to Animal section describes laws concerning horses, abandoned animal, torture and maiming of animals, use of animals in fights, and arrest without warrants.  In addition, the section covers evidence, stallions, and impounding without food and water.  The section about the killing of birds in the cemetery concerns also killing and detaining of homing pigeons.  The last section about killing of gulls and cranes also concerns the destruction of eggs and nests.  In addition, the section covers killing of elk and prosecution for these offenses.

SC - Equine Activity Liability - Article 7. Equine Liability Immunity. Code 1976 § 47-9-710 - 730

This South Carolina section provides that an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from an inherent risk of equine activity.  The statute also requires the visible displaying of warning signs that alert participants to the limitation of liability by law.  Failure to comply with the requirements concerning warning signs and notices provided in this section prevents an equine activity sponsor or equine professional from invoking the privileges of immunity provided by this article.

Connecticut General Statutes 1918: Chapter 329: Section 6268 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 6268 (1918)

Section 6268 of Chapter 329 from the 1918 General Laws of Connecticut covers the unlawful injury to certain property of another.  Specifically, the statute states the punishment for hurting, maiming, poisoning anther's cattle, ox, horse, and mule.

DC - Horses - Chapter 20. Horse-Drawn Carriages. DC CODE § 8-2001 - 2013

This DC regulation makes it unlawful to operate a horse-drawn carriage trade without a license and an ID card. The regulations forbid certain types of bits and require that each horse wear a diaper. Horses may not be worked or driven for more than 8 hours a day. Horses must be rested, provided with food and water. A violation of the regulations may result in a fine of $300 (1st offense). A serious intentional injury to the horse by neglect or inhumane treatment shall be fined up to $2,500.

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