In class, we often discuss the limitations on suing children for torts, particularly children under seven. Now, an Australian case represents the problem in dealing with kids who cause destruction. In this case, a seven-year-old broke into a zoo, bludgeoned lizards to death and fed them to Terry, a large crocodile.
The rampage was caught on film. Expressionless, the boy methodically kills 13 animals in total, including a large turtle, bearded dragons, goannas and lizards including Thorny Devils and Western Blue tongues.
Children are liable for crimes in the United States, but unless they are legally treated as adults, they can be generally confined only until the age of majority (18). In torts, kids can be liable for intentional torts. However, in negligence, children below seven are often treated as incapable of negligence — lacking capacity. Even when subject to trial, the jury must determine what a child of this level of maturity, intelligence, and development would have done.
Obviously, this kid is pretty troubled and lack parental supervision. At a minimum, the parents can normally be (and should be) held liable.
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