Animal Rights

A young boy at the Cincinnati Zoo somehow managed to get into the gorilla enclosure, falling out of the reach of bystanders. A gorilla grabbed the boy and dragged him through part of the enclosure, including a moat. Fearing harm to the boy, zoo officials shot and killed the gorilla, who was named Harambe.

Though the boy was saved, some people were outraged that the 450-pound gorilla had to be killed, and they are pushing for changes to the law. Ohio lawmakers are now being asked to consider "Harambe's Law". If it is passed into law, those who are negligent and cause an endangered animal to die as a result could be charged.

Where Were the Parents?

No one is suggesting that the 3-year-old should be charged, but many people want someone to be responsible for the tragic accident, and some have asked where his parents were during the event. This law would likely say that the parents were negligent for allowing the boy to get close enough to the enclosure that he could fall in, and then they would be charged. Even if nothing could be done in this case, the law would be in place for future incidents and could help parents understand the seriousness of watching their children.

It could be argued that the zoo itself was negligent in not making it impossible for a young child to get into the enclosure.

Too Many Laws

However, not everyone thinks it is a good idea. Some opponents have pointed out that tragedies and accidents happen in life, suggesting that not every unfortunate event needs to be a crime. One man, Senator Bill Seitz, pointed out that American prisons are already overflowing, saying he thought laws like this were the reason so many people were locked up.

Your Rights When Accused of Negligence

As this proposed law shows, you don't always have to take intentional action to be charged; negligence is sometimes all it takes to face repercussions. It will be important for Ohio residents to keep an eye on this proposal; if passed into law, it could change the responsibility of parents in cases where their children cause tragic accidents.