2012 0-7734-3081-4 In Europe as early as the thirteenth century and as late as the sixteenth century, non-human animals including rats, pigs, horses, and dogs were tried for criminal activities. Such trials were not sacrificial in nature; neither were they mock trials for entertainment. Rather, such trials were undertaken with great seriousness with appointed legal counsel for prosecution and defense, at some times before a judge and at other times before a judge and jury.
This phenomenon would strike modern sensibilities are being somewhere between eccentric and completely mad, and no one today believes that animals are capable of forming criminal intentions. This book answers the question of how this rather arcane practice is to be understood because it is true that today no animals are formally prosecuted for crimes in courts of law.