The killing of an animal that has killed a human being (Exo. 21:28-29) is not a punishment to the animal, but it is a fine imposed on the owner of that animal. For the same reason the use of its flesh is prohibited. The owner of an animal will, therefore, take the greatest possible care in guarding it; he will know that if any person is killed by the animal, whether that person be grown up or young, free or in bondage, he forfeits at least the animal; and in case he has already received a warning concerning it, he will have to pay a ransom in addition to the loss of the animal. This is also the reason why a beast is killed that has been used by a human being for an immoral purpose (Lev. 20:15-16); its owner will be more careful as regards his beast, will guard it, and never lose sight of it, just as he watches his household: for people fear the loss of their property as much as that of their own life: some even more, but most people hold both in the same estimation, e.g. " and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys " (Gen. 43:18).
- Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, Friedländer tr. , 342, at http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp176.htm#page_342.