Opinions wanted concerning owner liability of horses getting loose. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 09:17 PM
Green Broke
 
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In the UK the horse owner is Liable (in law) for thier horses actions at all times, even if some moron has cut your fencing down, you are still responsible if the horse gets out. We found this out when a car plowed into our fencing at 2 am in the morning, the police came, fire service removed the car from the fencebut it left a massive great big hole. Thankfully the police noticed horses in the field and knocked on our door, but I can tell you that doing fencing at 3am in the morning when it is -5C outside is not pleasent!

That's what 3rd party liability insurance is for. You basicly absolutly MUST Have some form of cover for your horse/horses because not having it leaves you liable for unlimited laims against you.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT


Last edited by faye; 10-27-2010 at 09:21 PM.
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 10:07 PM
Green Broke
 
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It doesn't sound nice, but I think a good way to regulate would be to impound the horse if caught. The local ranger can take it to headquarters/some kind of yard. It must be claimed by the owner for a fee, and all fees such as transport, feeding etc. be reimbursed. If not the horse is sold at public auction in 30 days.

Perhaps they can have a "one-off" thing, where the first time it is free. Or if the horse is registered with the council (microchipped?) the ranger or whatever calls the owner.

If someone neglects to provide adequate fencing then they should maybe be liable or something? But there needs to be flexibility - if a tree comes down and knocks a fence at night and the horse escapes its not really fair.
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Faye my understanding , though I've never had this happen first hand, is that the owner is always liable. However, if a town employee acting for the town is involved and the horse runs into a vehicle and does bodily damage to the inhabitants of the vehicle, is the town liable, even along with the owner?

Saskia, the whole "adequate" fencing brings up another whole issue. Who determines what is adequate fencing. I've seen horses go through wooden fencing, something I certainly would have considered adequate. And yes, there is also the whole circumstances scenario. Very good point. What if a moose (very real happening around here, as one comes through my back fence once a year!) breaks the fencing and horses get out. Certainly another side to the issue.

Right now I'm waiting to here back from the selectman. I'm hoping he will pursue the avenues that I laid out and find out what is and isn't in this issue. Interesting any way you slice it!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 10:44 PM
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Here's a partial thought. In regards to fines for inadequate fencing and how to determine if it's inadequate. If the horses get out, it's inadequate. My horses need one little thin electric wire and if it's messed up they won't leave anyway. My neighbour has four boards about 4 ft high, another has one strand of electric with flagging, another... and on and on.

We had an episode here with my neighbour's dogs. We have no bylaw to deal with this properly so I had to call the provincial police. The officer said that, in his experience, if the owners know that they will be fined every time the township is called, they will take more care and control over their animals. Especially if the fine escalates with each call. So, if my neighbour's dogs keep me up at night again, they might, for example, get a $100 fine. Another call, it might be $150, then $300. Maybe at some point they will decide they can't afford to keep the dogs because they can't afford the fines. (and can't train the idiotic dogs -- they are soooo annoying! -- the dogs AND the people).

Now, in the case of a lady calling the township for help because she can't catch her own horses-- well, she'd better fix her fencing, or train her horses, or get some friends, or figure out how to catch them by herself.

If she has to call the township it should be the same as if the neighbour a mile down the road called. She should be fined. If the fines continue and escalate something has to break somewhere. Then she either has to get rid of the horses or make the improvements. If the township can't collect the fines, then they get tacked on to the property tax bill at the end of the year. Three years of unpaid taxes in this province equals TAX SALE!

I do think the township/county/state has an obligation to catch the horses if they are aware of them being free because of the danger and hence the liability. Hopefully some or all of the cost could be recouped in fines overall. The biggest part of the fine revenue from the biggest offenders of course.
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernMama View Post
Here's a partial thought. In regards to fines for inadequate fencing and how to determine if it's inadequate. If the horses get out, it's inadequate. My horses need one little thin electric wire and if it's messed up they won't leave anyway. My neighbour has four boards about 4 ft high, another has one strand of electric with flagging, another... and on and on.

We had an episode here with my neighbour's dogs. We have no bylaw to deal with this properly so I had to call the provincial police. The officer said that, in his experience, if the owners know that they will be fined every time the township is called, they will take more care and control over their animals. Especially if the fine escalates with each call. So, if my neighbour's dogs keep me up at night again, they might, for example, get a $100 fine. Another call, it might be $150, then $300. Maybe at some point they will decide they can't afford to keep the dogs because they can't afford the fines. (and can't train the idiotic dogs -- they are soooo annoying! -- the dogs AND the people).

Now, in the case of a lady calling the township for help because she can't catch her own horses-- well, she'd better fix her fencing, or train her horses, or get some friends, or figure out how to catch them by herself.

If she has to call the township it should be the same as if the neighbour a mile down the road called. She should be fined. If the fines continue and escalate something has to break somewhere. Then she either has to get rid of the horses or make the improvements. If the township can't collect the fines, then they get tacked on to the property tax bill at the end of the year. Three years of unpaid taxes in this province equals TAX SALE!

I do think the township/county/state has an obligation to catch the horses if they are aware of them being free because of the danger and hence the liability. Hopefully some or all of the cost could be recouped in fines overall. The biggest part of the fine revenue from the biggest offenders of course.
I think that's what bothers this selectman most. She can't catch her own horses!

I like the escalating fine theory. I think that's along the lines this selectman would like to go too.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-28-2010, 03:47 AM
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Your OP about the cost to your local government made me very curious, so I talked to a couple friends that work for the county and in our area. If the horses were continually getting out, it would be considered a public nuisance. Here is the applicable ordinance from our county...


Sec. 4-45. - Public nuisance.
It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to permit an animal to create a public nuisance, or to maintain a public nuisance created by an animal. Compliance shall be required as follows:
(1)
When an animal control officer or law enforcement officer observes a violation, the owner or keeper will be provided written notification of such violation and be given 24 hours or less to abate the nuisance.
(2)
Upon receipt of a written detailed and signed complaint alleging that any person is maintaining a public nuisance, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be
notified that a complaint has been received, and shall cause the situation complained upon to be investigated and a written report to be prepared.
(3)
If the written findings indicate that the complaint is justified, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be notified in writing, and shall order abatement of such nuisance within 24 hours or such lesser amount of time, which shall be designated on the abatement order.
(4)
If, after 24 hours or such lesser time as is designated in the abatement order, the nuisance is not abated, the animal creating the nuisance may be impounded or a civil penalty may be issued and/or a criminal summons may be issued.

(Ord. Of 6-16-1987, XV, eff. 1-1-1988; Ord. Of 11-1-1995, eff. 1-1-1997)


Sec. 4-48. - Penalties.
The following penalties shall pertain to violations of this article:
(1)
The violation of any provision of this article shall be a misdemeanor, and any person convicted of such violation shall be punishable as provided in G.S. 14-4, or other applicable law. Each day's violation of this article is a separate offense. Payment of a fine imposed in criminal proceedings pursuant to this subsection does not relieve a person of his liability for taxes, fees or civil penalties imposed under this article.
(2)
Enforcement of this article may include any appropriate equitable remedy, injunction or order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to G.S. 153A-123(d), (e).
(3)
In addition to and independent of any criminal penalties and other sanctions provided in this article, a violation of this article may also subject the offender to the following civil penalties:
A.
The animal control director may issue to the known owner or keeper of any animal, or to any other violator of the provisions of this article, a ticket or citation giving notice of the alleged violation(s) and of the civil penalty imposed. Tickets or citations so issued may be delivered in person or mailed by first class mail to the person charged if that person cannot readily be found. The following civil penalties shall be assessed for each violation of this article:
Mistreatment of animals (section 4-45) $200.00

The civil penalty for a nuisance violation (section 4-45) shall be as follows: Number of Prior
  Nuisance
  ViolationsAmount  1$ 50.00  2 100.00  3 200.00   4 300.00  5 400.00


This civil penalty shall be paid to the animal control director or his or her designee within 14 days of receipt. This civil penalty is in addition to any other fees or costs or fines imposed that are authorized by this article.
b.
If the applicable civil penalty is not paid within the time period prescribed, a civil action may be commenced to recover the penalty and costs associated with collection of the penalty, and/or a criminal summons may be issued against the owner or keeper or other alleged violator of this article; and upon conviction, the owner shall be punished as provided by state law. Failure on the part of the owner or keeper of an animal or other alleged violator to pay the applicable civil penalty within the time period prescribed is unlawful and a violation of this article. The civil penalty for violation of this subsection is $25.00 except where the original violation was for failure to vaccinate for rabies, in which case the civil penalty for violation of this subsection is $100.00.

(Ord. Of 6-16-1987, XXI, eff. 1-1-1988; Ord. Of 3-1-1988, eff. 3-1-1988; Ord. Of 11-1-1995, eff. 1-1-1997; Ord. Of 12-3-2007)

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.

Last edited by PaintHorseMares; 10-28-2010 at 03:51 AM.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-28-2010, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkamile View Post
Faye my understanding , though I've never had this happen first hand, is that the owner is always liable. However, if a town employee acting for the town is involved and the horse runs into a vehicle and does bodily damage to the inhabitants of the vehicle, is the town liable, even along with the owner?
Nope In the UK even if the police are handling your horse the owner is still liable for any damage.
The police/fire service don't charge over here but you can get a fine if they are loose.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #18 of 21 Old 10-28-2010, 07:01 AM
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Interesting issue for sure. I ALWAYS carry liability on my horses which covers them getting out and someone getting hurt, amongst other things, and mine are boarded, not even at my house. It also covers me if someone at the barn handles them and gets hurt. Not sure why your insurance agent said you couldn't get it. Just google equine liability and it is there. Mine is about $500/yr for both of them, more than average, but I have one in a therapeutic riding program and wanted extra coverage.

I would agree that a fence is inadequate if a horse keeps getting out, and that the public nuisance law should be in play with escalating fines.

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post #19 of 21 Old 10-28-2010, 08:21 AM
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I can't get liability specifically on my horses unless I pay working farm insurance, which I can't get unless I have farm revenues. Which I don't. I'm pretty sure I was told that somehow or other though, this would be covered under my home insurance, same as if my dog bit someone. Now I think I'm going to call my broker just to make sure.

I also can't get medical/life insurance on my horses because they aren't *worth* anything in dollars since they were rescues. Even though both are registered.
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post #20 of 21 Old 10-28-2010, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernMama View Post
I'm pretty sure I was told that somehow or other though, this would be covered under my home insurance, same as if my dog bit someone.
Liability for our horses is covered under our homeowners policy, and they actually consider horses less of a risk than dogs.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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