Hays v. Miller

Decision Date08 May 1907
Citation150 Ala. 621,43 So. 818
PartiesHAYS v. MILLER.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Appeal from City Court of Hadsden; John H. Disque, Judge.

Action by E. T. Miller against John R. Hays and another. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant Hays appeals. Affirmed.

This was an action for damages resulting from the bite of a ferocious wolf. Counts 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the complaint allege in effect that plaintiff was attending to his own business in the streets of Attalla, and defendants had in their possession, tied with a chain, a wolf of a canine species, a ferocious wild animal, and negligently allowed said wolf to bite and wound plaintiff, from which plaintiff suffered great physical and mental pain. There was a claim in the ninth count for special damages of $10 expended in employing a physician to attend and dress said wound caused by said bite. Numerous demurrers were interposed, raising the question as to special damages and as to the rights to recover for mental anguish, and for that it does not appear from the counts whether plaintiff suffered injury from the bite of one or three animals, nor whether the animal which bit plaintiff was a wolf, or a canine, or a ferocious animal. These demurrers being overruled, plaintiff set up by way of pleas that one of the defendants, Kelly, had the wolf securely tied by a chain and was managing him with all due caution, and warned plaintiff not to approach; but plaintiff did approach and tease said wolf, and was injured while fretting or teasing him. Plea 8 was as follows: "For further answer to the complaint, defendant says that he did not own, nor was he in possession or control of, the animal when the plaintiff received the injury complained of, and avers that said animal was not known to be fierce, dangerous, and irreclaimable, but had been domesticated to such an extent as to lead those acquainted with its habits to believe that no harm would come from contact with it; that this defendant had known the animal for some weeks before the alleged injury to plaintiff and had never known it to harm or attempt to harm any one although it had been brought constantly in contact with other people." The plaintiff moved the court to strike all of plea 8 from the words, "and avers that said animal," and all other words to the end thereof. Before the trial of the cause the defendant Kelly died, and the defendant Hays objected to judgment being rendered against him alone. There was judgment for plaintiff as against the defendant Hays for the sum of $50, and defendant appeals.

Boykin & Brindley, for appellant.

Cato D Glover, for appellee.


There is, and properly so, a recognized distinction between the liability of the owner for damage done by wild animals, or animals feræ naturæ, and by those classed as domestic animals. The gist of the action as to damage done by the latter is the keeping of the animal with knowledge of its vicious propensities. On the other hand, the owner of wild animals feræ naturæ is as a general rule liable for injuries done by them. It...

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23 cases
  • Union Indemnity Co. v. Webster
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • October 25, 1928
    ... ... 654, 45 So. 653 (ex delicto); ... Montgomery G.L. Co. v. M. & E.R. Co., 86 Ala. 372, 5 ... So. 735 (ex delicto); Lovelace v. Miller, 150 Ala ... 422, 43 So. 734, 11 L.R.A. (N.S.) 670, 14 Ann.Cas. 1139 ... (damages for assault and battery); and Crawford v ... Mills, 202 ... ...
  • Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Nami
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • June 24, 2016
    ...animal [ferae naturae ] in places of public resort is or may be liable for the injuries inflicted by it on a party.”); Hays v. Miller, 150 Ala. 621, 43 So. 818, 819 (1907) (recognizing a distinction between liability for owners of domestic animals and that of those who possess animals ferae......
  • Tipton v. Town of Tabor
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • August 28, 1997
    ...not fit in this category as they are considered unsafe no matter how "domesticated" their owners may consider them. Hays v. Miller, 150 Ala. 621, 43 So. 818 (1907); Collins v. Otto, 149 Colo. 489, 369 P.2d 564 (1962)(coyote, or "prairie wolf," Canis latrans ). Can wolfdogs be included in th......
  • Boswell v. Bethea
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • January 29, 1942
    ... ... Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Co. v. Hunnicutt, 3 ... Ala.App. 448, 57 So. 262; Hayes v. Miller, 150 Ala ... 621, 43 So. 818, 11 L.R.A.,N.S., 748, 124 Am.St.Rep. 93; ... Barnett v. Freeman, 197 Ala. 142, 72 So. 395; ... Alabama Fuel & Iron ... ...
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