Deadly Snake on the Loose in Florida

It is being reported that a deadly king cobra recently escaped its home and is now on the loose. The snake escaped its cage in an Orlando, Florida home when the weather knocked a branch loose from a nearby tree that fell on the house. Then continued rain and flooding allowed the snake to escape his cage and be let loose in the local area.

Wildlife officials are now engaged in looking for and trapping the king cobra so it does not cause any injuries. King cobras can cause a lot of damage. This particular snake is over eight feet long, is green and white, and his bite contains enough venom to kill an elephant. These types of snakes are also shy of people and will not likely bite anyone.

On question being asked is how is it possible that a private person could own a king cobra in Orlando, Florida? The answer is that under Florida law there are a number of wild animals that anyone can own as long as he or she takes out the proper permit for that animal. Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a list that details all the animals that do and do not require a license to keep.

Even if a Florida resident has a license to own a wild animal, it does not mean they are absolved from liability if the animal escapes or causes problems. Florida has a history of laws that deal with owner liability for wild animals that get loose.

Owner Liability for Dangerous Animals

Under Florida law the owner of a dangerous animal is responsible for ensuring that the animal does not escape and that it does not cause harm to another person. This is an extension of the common law that long held that owners of dangerous animals should bear the cost of any injury they cause.

Florida courts first addressed this issue in 1972 in the case of Isaacs v. Powell, 267 So. 2d 846 (Fla: Dist. Ct. App, 2nd 1972). In the Isaacs case, the court had to decide whether the owner of a chimpanzee was liable for the damage that it inflicted on a man whose arm was seriously injured when he was trying to feed the chimp. In this case, the owner was never negligent because nothing he did caused the chimp to attack the man.

At trial the court held that the injured man had to show some amount of negligence before he could be held liable for the damage his chimp caused. The appeals court reversed that decision and established the rule that owners of wild animals are strictly liable for the damage they cause to another. This means that an owner of a wild animal can take all the reasonable precautions available to keep a wild animal away from people, but if the animal nonetheless escapes and hurt another person, the owner will be liable for the damage.

Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney

When it comes to animal-caused injuries in the Panama City area, the The Pittman Firm is there to help protect victim’s rights. We sue on behalf of victims of all accidents and injuries, from car accidents or to wild animal bites. We are here to fight for you. Contact us so we can review your case.

See related blog posts: Florida Dog Attack Getting National Attention; A Look Back on Florida Dog Bite Laws.
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