Legal Question - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Legal Question

I had three horses boarded at a nearby barn. My mare was having a hard time due to abscesses and had to be put down a week ago. The prior weekend I was moving and did not visit her but called and was told by the owner she was doing fine. On Monday I received a panic call that she was laying down thrashing because she could not get up. A friend, the vet and I tried to save her, but the damage was already done. I then found out from other boarders that she had been laying down since Saturday, and they had repeatedly asked for someone to call me.

Week later the barn owner contacts me and told me they seized my other two horses, due to back board and that my daughters and I are banned from the property. If we attempt to enter the property the police will be called. For my TB I signed a stable agreement in May when I got him. We originally had a verbal agreement that I would purchase the QH's for a trail progam. I would pay for feed and she would board for free. At some point they decided this was not viable due to insurance restrictions.

As a result the stable agreement was not signed until September. She is claiming I owe her money prior to the signing of the agreement for the QH's. If the stable agreement is a legal contract and wasn't signed until September wouldn't anything prior to be hearsay? She has no accounting system, everything is on a peice of notebook paper. She has stable agreements on all of the other horses.

I was paying her every two weeks and had even arranged a lease for my horses in order to increase the money I could pay her. The only payment I did not make was the week I had to put my mare down because it cost me $700.

I need to get my horses back, she neglects her own and I fear for their well being. Plus my daughters are devastated!! What can I do??
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 04:15 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

It's really sad that we hear this all the time when there are no written contracts. In any case, btw, I'm not an attorney so this is just an opinion, it is a civil matter and not a police matter. She can threaten all she wants but if your horse is on her property, she can not stop you from getting her.

I would call the local police and let them know that you are going to her property to retrieve your horse and tack and that she has threaten you not to do so. Unless she went to the courts and legally seized your horse, she can't just say that and expect someone to obey. Owing for back board needs to be proven and she simply can't do what she seems to be trying.

You may also have a case for negligence on her part for what happened to your other horse. You really need to speak to an attorney about that.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #3 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by iridehorses View Post
Welcome to the forum.

It's really sad that we hear this all the time when there are no written contracts. In any case, btw, I'm not an attorney so this is just an opinion, it is a civil matter and not a police matter. She can threaten all she wants but if your horse is on her property, she can not stop you from getting her.

I would call the local police and let them know that you are going to her property to retrieve your horse and tack and that she has threaten you not to do so. Unless she went to the courts and legally seized your horse, she can't just say that and expect someone to obey. Owing for back board needs to be proven and she simply can't do what she seems to be trying.

You may also have a case for negligence on her part for what happened to your other horse. You really need to speak to an attorney about that.
To add to this, get statements fromthe other boarders recalling dates and conversations about your horse being ill previous to her calling you. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row, but go get your horses.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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I was told that they went to court and have legal documentation to siez the horses but Ihave not received anything.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:13 PM
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You would have to be notified. She would have to have shown evidence. Don't rely on what you hear, go get your horses.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:28 PM
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Since we don't know where you are located, there is no way we'd know what the particular laws are in your part of the country for this.

However, you can go to the police and explain everything and ask them if you can go and get your horses. She may be bluffing and hoping you won't look into this yourself.

I you've already paid her, did you pay with a cheque or do you have any receipts of money already paid her? These will help establish you have paid her in good faith.

I don't understand about the Quarter Horses. Did you buy them from her on trial?

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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I am in Florida, just spoke to the sherriff's office and they said if I have not received any papers from the court they are still mine and I can go get them. They said if I had a problem to call and they would send a deputy.

As far as the QH's I bought them and she was going to stable them for free. Therefore we never did a stable agreement. When she changed her mind I signed an agreement (in Sept) now she is saying I owe her from June through Sept ($2200), prior to the signing of the stable agreement. I think she knows she neglected the horse that died and to limit my contact with other boarders about the situation she is trying to have me banned from the barn. I just want to take my horses and move them ASAP.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by zara View Post
I am in Florida, just spoke to the sherriff's office and they said if I have not received any papers from the court they are still mine and I can go get them. They said if I had a problem to call and they would send a deputy.

As far as the QH's I bought them and she was going to stable them for free. Therefore we never did a stable agreement. When she changed her mind I signed an agreement (in Sept) now she is saying I owe her from June through Sept ($2200), prior to the signing of the stable agreement. I think she knows she neglected the horse that died and to limit my contact with other boarders about the situation she is trying to have me banned from the barn. I just want to take my horses and move them ASAP.
There you go! Go get them

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:50 PM
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Ouch, your having a rough time! I agree, get your horses out of there. You could also ask the police some questions about the law in Florida.

Verbal agreements can go either way depending on state. But it does seem that she hasn't actually seized your horses.

Good luck with everything :)

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-07-2011, 01:31 AM
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I'd take the sheriff up on the Deputy assistance and got get the horses. At that point you'll have the law on your side, since she apparently hasn't gotten a court order. Unless she can show proof the deputy should easily enforce your rights as the owner.
If FL is like most states they would then have to take the money issue to small claims court. Unless there's an agreement about when you were suppose to start paying rent the burden of proof should be on them. Of course checking with lawyer who has a license to practice in FL would be the only way to know what the FL law would be on the money issue.
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