NCR: Legal/Tresspassing question

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by horsewishr, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    I live a short distance from Lake Michigan. A VERY wealthy, very well known businessman owns 600 acres along the lakeshore. When said businessman ran for public office recently, signs were posted along the propery stating "No Trespassing Without Permission," even though this property has been used by dog walkers and horsemen for decades.

    I just called the corporation that Mr. Zillionaire owns, and asked about getting permission to walk my dogs and ride my horse on the property. The spokesperson told me that they would grant permission for walking dogs, but that they would "prefer" that horses not go there. I know (because the sherriff told me) that this is because of liability. I told the spokesperson that I would be more than happy to sign a legal document stating that I would not hold the owner responsible for any injury I sustained on his land.

    So here is my question: If I send a letter asking for permission to ride my horse on this property, and I get an OFFICIAL denial of permission, could I be in bigger trouble if I were caught trespassing there?? I'd love to have the owner's permission, so I can't get stung with a trespassing fine. But I wonder if I might regret giving the property owner my name and address.

    Any opinions??
  2. pipermark

    pipermark Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2007
    the law dose not require a denial of permission, the denial is understood, so the good news is that you would get in the same amount of trouble according to the law either way, HOWEVER,

    There is the thing about pressing charges, the owner might press charges quicker if he or she new you had already asked and were told no, especially when they were Kind enough to let you walk your dogs on their property.
  3. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    No idea what the law is in Michigan, but are there any public rights of way or bridlepaths across the land?
  4. jkcove08

    jkcove08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2007
    Why if they have said "no" are you still thinking of doing it? I can understand you wanting to ride on this property but it is not yours. If you wanted to do something on your property that others said they didnt want you to do I can see continuing but this is not yours. I think I would just settle with walking my dog there if they have given you permission for that. I think I would be pretty upset if I told people they could do one thing on my property and then found out they were doing something else. It is that persons property and even though they allowed it in the past doesnt mean they cant say no now. Also if you continue to ride there they might say the heck with it and say no to everything. They other dogwalkers would be upset that they cant even do that now. Either find a public place to ride or buy your own land to ride on, then there wont be any questions about liability or trespassing. Jenn
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    This is coming from a landowners perspective. We own a fairly large pasture and we don't allow anyone other than our children access to it. We got tired a long time ago of people acting like it was their right to trespass and do what ever they wanted. They are not the ones who paid for the land or continue to pay the taxes on it. When we started saying no to people and refusing access to them they acted like we had no right to do that. These are probably the same people who would sue us for our farm if they got injured on our property. My advise is to not trespass unless you want to be prosecuted for it when you get caught because they are within their rights to do that.
  6. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    Certainly it is within his rights to deny access. But obviously he doesn't want to do that, since he is fine with pedestrian traffic. I'm sure that his only concern is liability. Maybe I should just put my money where my mouth is: If I'm that sure about his motivation, I should just ask for permission to ride there, and reiterate that I'm willing to sign a liability waiver.

    FWIW, this is vacant, undeveloped land that the owner does not use. According to the Township officers where it is located, the property will eventually be given (or sold) to the Township. The owner is one of the "top 100 wealthiest Americans." He doesn't live here, does not use this land, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has never set foot on it.

    Obviously, due to his enormous wealth, he could be a huge target for lawsuits. But in a million years, I would never hold him liable for an injury I suffered on his land.
  7. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    I think you should take what he is giving you. It is his land and he gets to call the shots. It doesn't matter if he is richer than Midas. It is his property. If he made an exception for you, because you say you won't hold him liable (which is not legally binding), then he has to let everyone who wants to sign a paper onto his land. Then one person falls and regardless of the liability waiver, they (or you) sue.

    His concern may be liability, but it really doesn't matter. Maybe he is sick of dog poo and horse muffins. Maybe he just wants his land to be free of anyone.
  8. 2dream

    2dream Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2008
    Jackson MS
    I don't think his wealth or the amount of property he owns has anything to do with this. My major question to you is: If you told someone NO about something on your property how would YOU feel if they did it anyway?
  9. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    Quote:Yes. That's what I'll do. I asked his representative if I could sign a waiver for horseback riding, and she said to send her a letter so that they could review/consider it. They did not say no (yet).

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