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Law School Case Brief

Pierson v. Post - 3 Cai. R. 175, 1805 N.Y. LEXIS 311

Rule:

Occupancy of beasts feroe naturoe is defined as the actual corporeal possession of them. A wild beast mortally wounded or greatly maimed, cannot be fairly intercepted by another, whilst the pursuit of the person inflicting the wound continues.

Facts:

Lodowick Post, the plaintiff, was out with his hounds chasing a wild fox when Pierson, the defendant interceptor knowing that the fox was being chased, shot and killed it. Post brought an action against Pierson for trespass, and the trial court ruled in his favor. Pierson appealed, arguing that Post had no rights in the fox merely because he was chasing it.

Issue:

By the pursuit with his hounds of a wild fox, did Lodowick Post acquire such a right to, or property in, the fox as will sustain an action against Pierson for killing and taking the fox away?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the mere pursuit of the wild fox did not give Post a legal right to the animal. The Court further ruled that the fox became the property of Pierson, who intercepted and had successfully killed the fox. The Court concluded that however uncourteous or unkind Pierson’s conduct was toward Post, it produced no injury or damage for which a legal remedy could be applied.

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