A Chinese man identified only as Zhang, of Tunkou, has learned that he does not have a bad dog after all — he has a good Arctic fox. Zhang was unhappy that his dog could not be trained, repeatedly bit him, and smelled despite repeated shampooing.
He was sold the fox as an all-white Pomeranian dog for £60 a year ago. He first noticed that it would not bark. “It can’t bark but instead makes little ’em em’ noises, and its tail has been growing longer and longer,.” That there was the scent during the summer and the fact that it continued to bite him.
His account confirms the tort doctrine that animals are considered wild and subject to strict liability for if they lack animus revertendi, the habit of return. No matter how many times you shampoo a fox, it smells and remains a fox. The interesting question would have been if he was sued for a bite to someone else. Lack of knowledge or mistake is generally not a defense. It is the possession of a wild animal that triggers strict liability rather than negligence.
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