Liability Protection for Alpaca and Llama Owners
This article originally appeared in the March 1992 RMLA Newsletter. This law is still relevant for anyone who owns camelids in Colorado. Other states have similar laws.
On Friday, January 3rd, 1992, Representative Ken Chlouber introduced House Bill 1064 to the Colorado House of Representatives. Basically the "Llama Bill" states there are limited grounds for filing lawsuits against Llama owners when injury occurs during the following events or activities:
- Llama shows, fairs, competitions, performances, packing events, or parades
- Using llamas to pull carts or carry packs
- Using llamas during rescue or emergency situations
- Llama training
- Taking llamas on public relations trips such as schools or nursing homes
- Commercial packing trips
- Boarding llamas
- Riding, inspecting, or evaluating a llama belonging to another
- Using llamas in wool production
- Rides, trips or other llama activities of any type however informal or impromptu that are sponsored by a llama activity sponsor such as RMLA
- Trimming the nails of a llama
This legislation basically is an amendment to the Colorado Equine Law passed last year giving exemption from civil liability during equine activities. The bill defines llama meaning a South American camelid which is an animal of the genus lama, commonly referred to as a "one Llama", including llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicunas. This bill does require that every "Llama Professional" shall post and maintain signs clearly visible near stables and at events.
The sign shall state: Warning: under Colorado law, a llama professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in llama activities resulting from the inherent risks of Llama activities, pursuant to section 13-21-119, Colorado Revised Statutes. These signs will be offered for sale to all members for their farms in Colorado through RMLA.
The following has been the progress of the Llama Bill:
- January 15th: Chlouber and two llamas testified in front of the House Agricultural Committee. The bill received unanimous vote of approval 11-0.
- January 23th: HB 1064 passed the full House 39-22.
- January 29th: Senator Don Ament introduced Llama Bill to the Colorado Senate.
- January 30th: The Senate Agricultural committee gave unanimous vote of approval.
- February 17th: Senate to vote on the second
- February 18th: The senate voted approval and sent HB1064 to the Governor for signature.
We'll let you know the outcome of the Llama Bill in the next newsletter. One thing that ALL Colorado lama owners NEED to do is to PLEASE write a thank you to Representative Ken Chlouber at 220 West Eighth, Leadville, CO 80461 and thank him for all the help and work he has done on HB 1064, The Llama Bill. And also send a thank you to Senator Don Ament (for sponsoring this bill in the Senate) at Rt. 1, Box 142, Illiff, CO 80736. If you have any questions, please call Dee Goodman, 303·345·2927 anytime!
From the May 1992 RMLA Newsletter
Llama Bill It's Law
Colorado House Bill 1064 (the Llama Bill) was signed into law on March 16, 1992 by Governor Roy Romer. The law went into effect that date. This law "limits the liability for all llama professionals." (See "The .Llama Bill", March 1992, RMLA newsletter).
Without RMLA and most especially the Colorado members calling their representatives, senators, and Governor Romer's office, this bill would not have passed. You should all pat yourselves on the back! A BIG thank you to Representative Ken Chlouber for help getting this bill passed.
This law should decrease as well as make accessible for Colorado llama owners insurances, most especially for the commercial packers. Call your local insurance agent and let him/her know about the law. If you need a copy of the bill, then call Dee, 303·345·2927. The only requirement to be covered under this law in the state of Colorado is that the Colorado llama owner must have the law sign posted on their ranch(es). Or, if someone goes to any Colorado shows, make sure that the show grounds have the signs posted. If people go to nursing homes, schools, or other P.R. llama events, take a portable sign with you.
RMLA is selling these legal 18x24" weatherproof signs at a very discounted price to RMLA members. The cost is $1O.00 per sign plus S&H and 3% sales tax to RMLA members. Non-RMLA members can purchase the signs for $12.00 plus S&H and 3% sales tax. Stands can also be purchased for posting portable signs. With each order we will send a copy of the Equine/Llama Law. We will also sell Equine signs (for horses); please call for prices. An order form is located below.
One important thought about the Equine/Llama law is that this law will not guarantee you will not be sued! You still need to use common sense in your llama activities!
If you have any questions about the llama bill, feel free to call Dee Goodman1 303·345· 2927 anytime!
From the September 1992 RMLA Newsletter
Taking Advantage Of The New Liability Limitations For Llama Activities
by Mary Ewing, Bucboltz, Bull & Ewing, P.C.
Thanks to a new law, C.R.S. S 13-21-119 (as amended 1992), amending the Equine Liability Act to include llamas, there are now available significant limitations upon the potential liability until now associated with llama activities. These limits are available not only to any "llama activity sponsor" or "llama professional" as defined in the law, but also other persons involved with llamas.
- A "llama activity sponsor" includes "an individual, group, club, partnership or corporation," whether it operates for profit or not, "which sponsors, organizes, or provides the facilities for a llama activity…”
- A “Llama professional" is "a person engaged for compensation…in instructing a participant or renting to a participant a llama for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger upon the llama; ..in renting equipment or tack to a participant."
- A "llama" is defined as a South American camelid of the genus lama and includes llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and
- ln addition to the immunity granted to llama professionals and llama activity sponsors, the law extends its protection to "any other "
In order to take advantage of the protection provided by the statute, a llama professional must post and maintain a specified warning sign in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals, pens, or arenas where llama activity is conducted, if the stables, corrals, pens, or arenas are owned, managed or controlled by the llama professional. This law specifies that the sign shall contain the following notice in clearly readable black letters a minimum of one-inch in height:
Under Colorado Law, a llama professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in llama activities resulting from the inherent risks of llama activities, pursuant to section S 13-21-119, Colorado Revised Statutes.
In addition to the signage requirements, if written contracts are used by a llama professional for the providing of professional services, instruction or the rental of equipment or tack or a llama to a participant, the contracts are also required to contain the above warning language.
Subject to certain exclusions, the Law provides that “a Llama activity sponsor or llama professional; or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership", shall not be liable for injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of llama activities. "Inherent risks of llama activities" means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of llama activities and includes:
- The propensity of the animal to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm, or death to persons on or around them;
- The unpredictability of the animal's reaction to such things as sounds, sudden movement, and unfamiliar objects, persons, or other animals;
- Certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions;
- Collisions with (other animal or objects); and
- The potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control over the animal or not acting within his or her ability.
The protections offered by the law do not apply to persons who:
- Provide equipment or tack and knew or should have known that the equipment or tack was faulty, and such equipment or tack was faulty to the extent that it did cause the injury;
- Provide the animal and fail to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the llama activity, and determine the ability of the participant to safely manage the particular animal based on the participant's representations of his ability;
- Own or control land or facilities upon which a participant was injured because of a dangerous latent condition which was known [to the party] and for which warning signs have not been conspicuously posted;
- Commit an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that act or omission caused the injury; or,
- Intentionally injure the
The definition of "llama activity" is quite broad. It includes llama shows, fairs, competitions, performances, or parades that involve all breeds of llamas. It includes using llamas to pull carts, to carry packs, to pull travois-type carriers for rescue emergency situations, llama training or teaching activities, taking llamas to nursing homes and other public relations trips, commercial packing trips, boarding llamas, riding, evaluating or inspecting a llama, using llamas for wool inspection, any type of activity using a llama for an activity sponsored by a llama activity sponsor, and trimming the nails of a llama.
"Engages in a llama activity" means "riding, training, assisting in medical treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon a llama, whether mounted or unmounted or any person assisting a participant or show management." It does not include "being a spectator at a llama activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself in an unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to the llama activity.
Strict Compliance Necessary
Because the law is contrary to established common law, its protection may be available only if the requirements of the statute are complied with strictly. The signage and contract language provisions of the law are addressed specifically to llama professionals; accordingly, there seems to be an ambiguity as to whether others engaged in llama activities are required to comply with the warning requirements. The law excludes from immunity those persons who own or control land which does not have conspicuously posted warning signs if a participant is injured because of a known dangerous, latent condition. Because of that provision in the law, it is recommended that ALL persons involved with llamas post warring signs. Warning signs should be posted in sufficient locations so that one cannot come into contact with a llama without having first seen a posted warning sign. Following the same reasoning, contracts should be modified to contain the warning language.
Gaps In The Law
The law does not specifically address the situation in which complying warning signs are not posted or the situation in which a contract fails to contain warning language. One interpretation of the law is that the immunity fails absent the warnings. Another interpretation is that a separate cause of action may be created for "failure to warn." Most worrisome is the fear that the Supreme Court of Colorado will deem the law vague and ambiguous and therefore unconstitutional and unenforceable. The law also fails to address the situation in which the participant makes a frank representation of a lack of knowledge and experience with llamas. Nevertheless, the person providing the llama provides a dangerous animal and the participant is injured. Is the llama provider legally responsible for the participant's injuries or does the immunity of the law cover this situation? Until the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court addresses this question, the answer will not be known.
The protection of the law does not apply to persons providing "faulty" tack or equipment that causes injury. The law does not define what constitutes "faulty." Presumably, one could be held legally responsible for an injury resulting not only from a rotten or broken girth or other piece of equipment, but also for tack which is ill-fitting or poorly adjusted and, therefore, "faulty."
The law excludes from immunity intentional acts and acts constituting a willful and wanton disregard for safety. Generally, if an injured person claims the wrongful act was "willful and wanton," a trial court may ask a jury to determine whether the allegedly wrongful act was simply a negligent act or a willful and wanton or intentional act. An even more worrisome problem arises when an act is claimed to be willful and wanton or intentional; most insurance policies exclude from coverage claims arising as a result of such acts.
This article contains only a general description of the requirements of the law. Each person involved in llama activities is strongly encouraged to consult with legal counsel regarding the full scope and detailed requirements of the law and to have all operations and contracts reviewed by legal counsel.