chapter  8
16 Pages

Shaw v McCreary

ByEdward Mussawir

The matter arises from a decision of the Chancery Division of the Supreme Court of Ontario to extend liability for the injurious action of a bear to the owner of the property from which the bear had escaped, the owner of the property being the wife of the keeper of the bear. The legal doctrine that constructs the person of the 'keeper' of a wild animal, for the purposes of civil liability, is not the same as that which constructs the 'owner' or the 'possessor' of property. The primary problem is rather to address the centrality in which the animal finds itself in the judicial reasoning in question: a reasoning that attempts solely to consider whether the defendant Mary McCreary is liable for the harm occasioned by the bear. The solution preferred by the Divisional Court on the other hand is to divide the keeping of the bear between two owners.