Why Velna Turnage sued Christy Brothers Circus

From the case Christy Bros. Circus v. Turnage heard in the Georgia Court of Appeals, dated Sep. 15, 1928:

Where a petition alleged that the plaintiff was an unmarried white lady, and that while in attendance as a guest of the defendant at a circus performance given by the defendant, and while seated in one of the seats provided by the defendant for the defendant’s guests at the circus, a horse, which was going through a dancing performance immediately in front of where the plaintiff was sitting, was by the defendant’s servant, who was riding upon the horse, caused to back towards the plaintiff, and while in this situation the horse evacuated his bowels into her lap, that this occurred in full view of many people, some of whom were the defendant’s employees, and all of whom laughed at the occurrence, that as a result thereof the plaintiff was caused much embarrassment, mortification, and mental pain and suffering, to her damage in a certain amount, that the damage alleged was due entirely to the defendant’s negligence and without any fault on the part of the plaintiff, the petition set out a cause of action and was good as against a general demurrer.

Velna Turnage was awarded $500 for her "humiliation and embarrassment".
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 13, 2022
     Category: Lawsuits | Excrement | 1920s

...fair enough.

I mean, embarrassed, OK. But being excreted upon by a horse, in what may well have been her tripping-out finery, and therefore having to pay at best a dry cleaner's, and quite possibly a completely new semi-fancy dress? Yeah, pay up.
Posted by Richard Bos on 04/13/22 at 01:42 PM
My parents had horses for a good number of years. The smell of excrement was just something you put up with, whether it was on your shoes or in your clothes. She must have been a real wimp.
Posted by KDP on 04/13/22 at 07:43 PM
One (of many) of my idiosyncrasies is I don't mind the smell of horse manure. To me, it's incredibly earthy, with no negative connotations. And because it's significantly drier than most animal manures, it easily washes out of clothes. Both are good points because it's one of the best fertilizers for a home garden.
Posted by Phideaux on 04/13/22 at 11:31 PM
Phideaux, I’m told that horse manure is now as good as cow manure. Cows have a very effective digestive system so all weed seeds they eat are destroyed. Horse manure is allegedly full of seeds.
Posted by ges on 04/14/22 at 03:20 AM
@ges -- Horse manure does contain weed seeds, but cattle manure contains more salts. Composting kills weed seeds, but it concentrates salts. Also, cattle these days are given all sorts of growth hormones. You don't have to be 'organic' or 'vegan' to not want some of those chemicals in your tomato patch.

Horse manure is higher in nitrogen, and being much drier, is far more pleasant to handle than cow manure. It's actually too 'hot' to put on a bed directly. Instead of composting, I put a layer of it down when I was double-digging, so it'd end up six inches or so below the surface. You have to let a bed rest for a while after that, so I never had a problem with burning or weeds.

I know fanatics . . . er . . . I mean 'enthusiasts' who insist on a 50/50 mixture of fresh horse manure and black loam to fill planting holes for roses. That seems to me to be a little extreme, but you can't argue with the results.
Posted by Phideaux on 04/14/22 at 09:47 AM
@KDP: Sure, if you go into a stable in your overalls. If you go for a night out in your new, pretty dress? No. The horsey boy has to pay up.

(I dislike horses rather less than I dislike horsey boys, and even less gals. I have bad experiences with those. At least the horses themselves are edible.)
Posted by Richard Bos on 04/14/22 at 01:18 PM
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