Own Cows, Oxen or Buffalo? Tennessee Says You Get Special Legal Protection

Fortunately, things are so good in Tennessee that the General Assembly has seen fit to take time to limit the responsibility of bovine owners.  For you city folk, cows, buffaloes and oxen are known as bovines.  

The new law,  codified at T.C.A.Sec. 44-21-101 et seq,  provides that "no  person  shall  make  any  claim against,  maintain  an  action  against,  or  recover from  a  bovine owner for  injury,  loss, damage, or death of the person  resulting from the inherent risks of bovine activities" unless the bovine owner:
(1)  Fails  to  post  and  maintain  warning  signs  pursuant  to  §  44-21- 104(a); 
(2) Fails to maintain proper fences and  enclosures pursuant to Chapter 8 of  this title;  or 
(3)  Commits  an  act  or  omission  that  constitutes  willful  or  wanton disregard  for the  safety  of  the  person,  and  that  act  or  omission  caused  the injury, loss, damage, or  death.
The "inherent risks of bovine activities" include but are not limited to the following:
(A)  The  propensity  of  a  bovine  to  behave  in  ways  that  may  result  in injury,  loss, damage or death to  persons on or around the bovine; 
(B)  The  unpredictability  of  a  bovine’s  reaction  to  sounds,  sudden movements, and  unfamiliar objects,  persons, or other animals;
(C)  Certain  hazards  on  the  property,  such  as  surface  and  subsurface conditions;  or 
(D) Collisions with other bovine or objects.
I have not seen a surge of lawsuits in this area, but I my guess is that the purpose of this statute is to provide jobs for Tennesseans.  To be sure the link between protecting bovine owners and jobs is weak, but no weaker than the link between the notion that restricting the right to trial by jury creates jobs.

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