Need legal horse advice

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by s6bee, May 13, 2008.

  1. s6bee

    s6bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Please feel free to PM me. I have some issues with a horse I'm leasing and need to find out my best way to resolve this mess.

    I'll do my best to make it short.

    Back in November after many, many , many discussions with the owners, I made the decision to head to Maine, and pick up a horse and bring her back to NY for an off farm lease with the option to buy.
    Well, we knew when we got her home she wasn't quite what they said she was but figured we'd work with her etc. and see where it went. Well to say the least she was the most unwilling horse I've ever seen. Super green and super Pain in the butt!!! Nice on the ground though. So we hired a John Lyons certified trainer to come in ( this was after we had an experienced trainer/friend work with her ). Bottom line, we were dealing with 6+ yr.old mare that was more like a 3 yr. old and had gotten away with everything.. Ok, so we go back to the owners passing along this info. saying we would consider buying her for half of the orinially agreed amount. They replied back and ageed but I never got any paperwork with these changes, or heard from them afterwards. Then something happened back at the end of March that just pushed us over the edge. This made it clear that she needed to be returned to the owners. I wrote them stating all of this and asked for a location to haul her to, etc. I expressed my sincere apologies and disappointment that it didn't work ( I put a ton of $$ into the horse ) but felt she was much too dangerous for us. Still no reply. It's now been almost 6 wks. and no reply, no contact, etc. The only thing I know is that my lease expried in April and I'm still paying for her. To date in the last 6 wks. I have put almost $700 into the board and care. I have no problem taking care of her, I will not neglect her. We even still ride her when the chance and courage comes along.
    Now I did notice that she is listed for sale again on line. Yet, no contact from the owners. What do I do? Where are my legal rights in this? I guess I wouldn't even be too upset if I "aquired" her through abandonment if that's what this is, but I need to know legally what can and should I do? I'm sure if I write a registered letter I'll finally hear from them ( which I'm working on ) But now I'm putting money into her and I know I won't get it back if they sell her. Can I put a lien on her? How does that work. I have asked a ton of people but no one knows what to do? What should my letter say? Any useful advise would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

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    San Antonio TX
    You can't claim a lien on her. With most lease agreements, it's clearly stated that any costs incurred will be the responsibility of the lessee(you), not the lessor(them). That includes health care, board and feed.

    Send her a certified letter stating that your lease agreement has ended and that they need to come and pick up the horse or you will be sending her a bill for the boarding/vet/etc charges and reporting the horse as abandoned. Have the letter notarized and keep a copy. Keep the card they return to you. Take the copy of the notarized letter and the certified card with you to your local police department, they will know the laws regarding animal abandonment in your area.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. s6bee

    s6bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Ok, so even if the lease agrees to take care during the time of lease ( from Nov. to April as stated ), anything past the date of the expired lease is still my financial obligation? I mean I'll do it.
    Ok, thanks
     
  4. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    s6bee, I'm sorry you are going through this. It's very honorable for you to continue to take care of the horse so well, and to have given it superior training in an effort to make her an asset instead of a liability to whoever owns her. I hope the outcome is favorable to you.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yeap, I think unfortunately that you just are kind of screwed on this one, although if you really really wanted to you could wait til the horse is finally gone and then take the owners to small-claims court to try to recoup expenses. (Although that depends somewhat on the exact way the lease contract is worded).

    Hopefully the horse WILL be sold soon, especially if you put some official-sounding pressure on them as ksacres suggests.

    Some people would just quit paying board and make it the boarding barn owner's problem... but that would be extremely obnoxious and rude, IMO, not to mention making it real difficult to board your horses there or anywhere else in the area in future [​IMG]

    Leases are always such a risk...

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Newman Lake, WA
    Why don't you just drive her back to the owners house and leave her there????
     
  7. @migocontodos~

    @migocontodos~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Did you send your letter prior to your lease expiring?

    If so, I'd send another letter, certified of couse detailing the expenses and requesting payment in a certain amount of days, as well as informing them they need to PICK up their horse because they failed to inform you where to take her.
    In the letter, I'd also point blank say that if the hourse is not picked up by a certain date you will be selling it yourself to get your money back that you have invested AFTER your lease agreement expired.

    This puts the ball in their court to act. And if they do not respond, go talk to a lawyer and get the ball rolling to acquire ownership of her.
    It's all legal, You just have to follow the legal procdure!
     
  8. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I think you have gotten some good advice here. I just want to add that you are unlikely to get a resolution that will make everyone happy - ie you are probably going to lose the relationship you have (if any) with the horse owner over this situation unless they step up very quickly to the plate and take responsibility for their share of this mess.

    If you sort of accept that up front - that they will probably be upset with you, and trying to be friendly is not going to help you - then it makes it easier to go ahead and write the letter with the strong language and proper wording. I don't mean be rude, just be factual and word it very clearly what the problem is and what you are willing to accept.

    I'd also not feel a bit bad about sending them a bill for you food/board since the lease has ended and they have not informed you of what to do with the horse.

    Document EVERYTHING - feed receipts, certified letter posage receipts, log any phone calls and contact you ahve with them - even just a quick note of when and what a call was about.

    If you end up taking them to small claims OR making an abandonment claim, the more documentation you have supporting your side of the story, the more likely you are to come out with a win.

    good luck!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    @migocontodos~ :

    In the letter, I'd also point blank say that if the hourse is not picked up by a certain date you will be selling it yourself to get your money back that you have invested AFTER your lease agreement expired.

    I don't offhand know of any US states where a boarding barn owner can legally do this -- there is a much much more complex procedure that must be followed, generally culminating in the horse being put up for public auction. I am real skeptical whether a private citizen can do it, legally, either. I would certainly seek a formal legal opinion before trying to do anything like that... otherwise you could easily find yourself on the *receiving* end of a nasty lawsuit...

    Although I agree with pips&peeps that, if she was kept at HOME in Maine, rather than at a boarding barn, the idea of just trailering her up there and saying 'here's your horse back' would have a certain attraction to it, risky though it might be.

    Pat​
     
  10. @migocontodos~

    @migocontodos~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    This puts the ball in their court to act. And if they do not respond, go talk to a lawyer and get the ball rolling to acquire ownership of her.
    It's all legal, You just have to follow the legal procedure

    If you go talk to a lawyer, the first thing the lawyer is going to tell you is that his firm is going to make contact with the owner and this will 99% of the time by certified mail or carrier by way of a letter.

    Documentation is your best friend!
    And you will have to show you TRIED!​
     

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