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Farmer found liable for injury by cows

Shirley McKaskie v John Cameron His Honour Judge Howarth, Blackpool County Court, 1 July 2009

Counsel for Claimant: Christopher Purchas QC

The claimant was seriously injured when attacked by a herd of cows when crossing a field with her dog on an unmarked footpath. The judge held the farmer liable firstly under the Animals Act on the ground that the damage was due to characteristics not normally found in cattle except in particular circumstances such as when the cows had calves at foot; secondly for breach of a duty of care in failing to take steps to avert the risk either by removing the cows to a different field or by fencing off the footpath. Although the claimant had unknowingly strayed from the route of the designated footpath the farmer was estopped from contending she was a trespasser because he had acquiesced in walkers using the route she took. Also the designated route was obstructed with nettles which entitled her to deviate around them.

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