Is there any legal issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-25-2009, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Is there any legal issues

So recently a horse at our barn had to be put down (i have a thread about salmonella poisoning) with out the owner's consent. Both the vet and barn owner tried to get in contact with the owner of the horse to see what she wanted done with the horse (whether to transport her to a vet hospital or put her to sleep). Needless to say after several attempts to contact the owner at home, on their cell, and at work both the vet and barn owner decided it was best to put the horse to sleep.

My question is, if the owner wanted to, could there be any legal issues? If not what law protects vets/barn owners?

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post #2 of 5 Old 02-27-2009, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Jersey
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there might be something in the contract that states if owner was out of reach the barn owner makes the decision. Though it would depend on what was written in the contract and everything.

I would be very upset though.
I gave my BO an emergency contact list incase she couldn't get in contact with me and something happened to the horses (Like when my gelding cut his eyelid. She tried to get in contact with me, and then called the first person on my emergency contact list)
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-28-2009, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: East Texas
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Yes, it's very likely that the owner could file charges or place a complaint against the vet with the state board of veterinary medical examiners. Even with something being in the contract where the BO can make medical decisions if the owner can't be reached, euthanasia is a HUGE choice for someone not the owner to make.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-28-2009, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Horatio, SC
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Ouch.. Baaaad situation x_x

I agree with what has already been posted. I hope your boarding agreement covers it.

I have an air-tight Boarding Contract and I allow 5 slots for emergency contacts (and encourage more just in case). I encourage them to put numbers for their family, as their family members would also know what the owner would want for their horse. I require 3 Phone Numbers from my Boarders AND 5 emergency numbers. Its one thing if, like appylover said, the horse had an injury and you couldnt get a hold of the owner and you decided to let the vet stitch the injury up. Thats just a vet bill the owner would have to pay. But euthanasia.. i mean.. not only will the boarder have to pay the vet bill.. BUT they will also have to pay for removal/burial/cremation/etc, AND find and buy another horse if they are ready to move on. Not to mention, deal with the mental anguish of not having closure, especially if it was a sudden death like it seems your describing.

I would feel pretty upset and almost betrayed if i was boarding my horse somewhere and he/she was put down without me knowing. I would hope that if i was still boarding my horse somewhere, the Barn Owner would choose to ship the horse to the hospital rather than put it down. At least then i could call the hospital and say "Heck no, I can't pay for it!! Please give me some time to make it up there so i can say goodbye and we'll put her to sleep." With my boarders, i ALWAYS assume they will choose to pay any expense to make their horse get well. Infact, thats also mentioned in my contract, lol!

Also.. was the Vet that put the horse to sleep the Barn vet, or the Vet that the Owner recommended for their horse? Where I live, the county vets always recommend Euthanasia for the bulk of the wounds they encounter (no joke.). I would have wanted a second opinion if a vet told me i needed to put the horse down (unless the horse was in a ton of pain).

Always, Always, Always assume the owner will take the option of life! lol!

Best of luck to ya!

-Skippy! The Wonder Horse!
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-01-2009, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
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The owner isnt pressing any charges but I was just curious as to what could happen. Like I said both the Vet and Barn Owner had tried to contact the owner, I honestly dont know if they tried to contact some of the family but I do know that they got ahold of someone at the office they worked at and he also tried to get ahold of the owner.

I thought the same thing as some of the above posters posted, i would be very upset if my horse was put down without my consent or my presence but at the same time if he was in as much pain as the horse that was put down a week ago, and I was not around, I would want my barn owner and vet to decide what was best together. Which was what happened in this case.

The vet we use, we all use the same on, is a local vet (one of the few we have) that my barn owner has used over the past 6 or 7 years. I myself trust him to do what is best for my horse and I've seen this in every horse he treats at our barn.

The horse was in alot of pain and it was getting worse by the minutes. They did try to get her up so they could possibly take her for surgury but she wouldnt move. It was very sad but in the end I myself believe the descision that was made was in the best intrest of the horse.

Thanks for your replies

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