Man Sued After His Donkey Bit a Sports Car

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. flaked / fleɪkt / (adj) – chipped and falling into small pieces

    The paint of the old building is already flaked.

  2. paddock / ˈpæd ək / (n) – a small field surrounded by a fence where animals are kept

    He keeps several horses and donkeys in his paddock.

  3. sided with / ˈsaɪ dɪd wɪð / (phrasal) – to support someone

    The court sided with the driver after proving that he did nothing wrong.

  4. inadmissible / ˌɪn ədˈmɪs ə bəl / (adj) – not allowed or valid in a legal case

    He lost the case after giving an inadmissible reason for his reckless driving.

  5. reckless / ˈrɛk lɪs / (adj) – careless and unconcerned with the results of one’s actions

    He broke several plates because he was so reckless.


Read the text below.

A man was sued in Germany after his pet donkey bit a businessman’s sports car, causing some damages to the expensive vehicle.

Businessman Markus Zahn was about to drive his parked car when he saw a donkey biting its fender. When he inspected his car, he saw flaked paint and damages in the part bitten by the donkey.

Zahn’s car is a McLaren 650S Spider, a luxury sports car that can cost up to £280,000 (around $371,000). Authorities said that the donkey may have confused the orange car with a carrot.

The damage cost £26,000 (around $34,000). According to Zahn, his insurance would not cover the full amount, so he asked the donkey’s owner to pay for the remaining fee amounting to around £5,200 (approximately $6,800). However, the owner refused to pay and said that Zahn should have parked away from the paddock.

Because of the donkey owner’s refusal, Zahn sued him. The court sided with the businessman and the donkey’s owner had no choice but to pay.

Meanwhile, in another incident, two pet snakes have caused their owner to receive a traffic violation ticket. Angel Rolon was driving in Connecticut / kəˈnɛt ɪ kət / with his pet snakes inside his pocket. His pet snakes crawled out of his pockets, causing him to panic. His passenger tried to catch them but failed. Angel lost control of his car and hit some parked cars, causing multiple damages on them.

During the investigation, the animal control personnel did not find any snakes in his car. Because of this, the police considered Rolon’s story as inadmissible and ticketed him for reckless driving.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think the court sided with the car owner?
• If you were the donkey owner, would you be willing to pay the fee? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How do you think animal owners can prevent damages caused by their pets?
• What would you do if an animal has damaged one of your things?