June 18, 2020 | Oklahoma Law
NOTE: WE ONLY HANDLE CASES INVOLVING ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES. THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. INFORMATION FOUND IN THE ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. WE CANNOT HELP YOU BEYOND THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BELOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING A PET SLOTH.
Sloths appear to be cuddly creatures that are perfect for snuggling with at home. However, sloths are wild animals. They are not domesticated, even though some people own sloths in the United States.
There is not a law prohibiting a person from owning a sloth in Oklahoma. However, Title 29 of the Oklahoma statutes does require licenses to own some wildlife. Therefore, it is best to check with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to ensure that you do not need a license to own a sloth in Oklahoma.
Furthermore, local ordinances could restrict the private ownership of sloths without a license or other requirements. Before purchasing any exotic animal or wildlife, it is best to check with local government officials to ensure that you do not violate any local ordinances related to owning wildlife.
Do Sloths Make Good Pets in Oklahoma?
Most sources do not recommend sloths as pest no matter where you reside. Even though a sloth is about the size of a small dog and is one of the slowest-moving animals on earth, a sloth is not without defenses.
Sloths are mammals. Their family tree includes armadillos and anteaters. They spend 15 to 18 hours a day sleeping in trees.
Sloths spend the majority of their time in the trees of tropical rainforests. They eat, sleep, mate, and even give birth in a tree hanging upside down.
A sloth is typically a docile animal. However, sloths do not long for human contact. Sloths prefer to be left alone.
If a sloth feels threatened or anxious, it could lash out. Sloths use their teeth and their claws, which are three to four inches long, to defend themselves.
In addition to being solitary creatures, sloths also require special diets and care. It can be very difficult to find a veterinarian near your home that would be willing to provide care for a sloth. Therefore, having a sloth as a pet could be expensive.
Am I Responsible for Injuries Caused by My Sloth?
Pet owners are liable for damages caused by their pets. If you are bitten or injured by a sloth, you could sue the owner for damages. A premises liability lawyer could help you file a claim for damages.
Premises liability claims generally must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. Proving that the sloth’s owner or the property owner is liable for your damages can be tricky, especially if the sloth’s owner is renting the property. You would likely need to prove the legal elements of a premises liability claim or general negligence claim to recover compensation for an animal attack.
In most cases, the person suing for damages needs to prove:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the injured party;
- The defendant breached the duty of care;
- The defendant knew or should have known about a hazardous condition or dangerous condition but failed to do anything about it;
- The dangerous or hazardous condition was the cause of the person’s injury; and,
- The person was injured and sustained damages because of the breach of duty.
An attorney needs to conduct a thorough investigation to determine if you can prove your case. Your attorney also needs to gather evidence to prove the owner or other party is liable for your damages.
What if You are Partly to Blame for Your Injury?
The sloth’s owner may claim that you were told not to touch the sloth or that you were warned of the risks before you were injured. If so, the owner may claim that you contributed to the cause of your injury. Under Oklahoma’s comparative fault standard, you could be barred from receiving compensation for your damages.
Your percentage of fault determines whether you receive compensation for damages. If a jury finds that you were 51 percent or more at fault for your injury, you cannot receive any compensation for your damages.
On the other hand, if your percentage of fault is 50 percent or less, you can recover compensation for your injuries. Your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the injury.
Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me File an Injury Claim?
If you are injured by someone’s pet or while on someone’s property, it is a wise decision to consult with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer evaluates the situation to determine if you have a cause of action to recover compensation for damages.
Animal attack laws and premises liability laws can be confusing. Depending on the situation, your case could fall within one or more areas of law. You could have several causes of action.
By developing all causes of action, you increase your chance of recovering compensation for injuries, losses, and damages. An attorney with experiencing handling injury cases understands the various areas of law and causes of action. You benefit from having a legal team with the resources, skills, and knowledge to help you with your injury claim.