A petting zoo donkey is causing a legal stir after biting a rider and her horse. Now the owner of the animal has been sentenced to pay a considerable amount of damages.

A rather unusual court hearing recently took place in Styria (Austria), reports the “Kleine Zeitung”. At the center of the legal dispute was the dwarf donkey Fridolin, who behaved anything but peacefully in November 2022. 

According to the “Kleine Zeitung”, Fridolin attacked a 42-year-old rider and her Icelandic mare after jumping over a fence in his enclosure. The miniature donkey, which usually lives in the petting zoo of the farmer who owns it, not only bit the mare, but also the rider. The woman then demanded compensation of 8,000 euros from the farmer.

The trial was quite unusual as it took place in the paddock where the incident occurred. 

The rider reported that Fridolin had bitten her horse on the neck and she had tried to scare the donkey away by screaming loudly. However, the attacks continued. After the woman fell from the horse, the donkey bit her thigh. 

The farmer admitted in his statement that he initially did not understand what had happened when the panicked woman came running towards him. When she told him she needed help and implied she wanted someone to shoot the donkey, the farmer called emergency services. 

The expert Johann Wieser explains to “Heute.at” that donkey stallions have a pronounced territorial character and they defend their territory against supposed intruders. This could explain Fridolin’s aggressive behavior. After all, the horse and rider were in “his” paddock. 

Nevertheless, the bite attack was incomprehensible for the farmer, who describes Fridolin as “very well-behaved”. The court ultimately ordered the farmer to pay 4,700 euros in compensation to the bitten rider. 

In Germany, according to SWR, animals have no right to sue in court. Animals are therefore usually only the subject of negotiations and do not end up in the dock themselves, reports SWR. 

When German courts do deal with four-legged friends, dogs are often involved. There are always bizarre judgments.

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