Need help quickly! Abandonment laws in North Dakota?
I'll keep it simple for now since it is kind of time sensitive.
Basically, a friend of mine rented a pasture to a man for his broodmare band. The stipulations were that he paid a lump sum for the use of the pasture for as long as there was sufficient forage for the horses. There was a cap on the number of horses that were allowed out there.
They have not been able to contact him for about a month now. He was never out often, but one of the foals became ill and they wanted him to get her vet care. They texted, called and left voice messages, but he never responds.
The foal died even after they did get it some care. They had to do the best they could since no vet will touch the foal because they do not own it. :? They left him more messages to let him know what was happening and that he had to come out and pick up the foal's body as they didn't want it on their property.
He never showed up and there has been no contact. The pasture is now running bare and the owners of the field cannot feed 16 more horses. The police won't do anything.
They don't know what to do. There is no one to call and they cannot feed that many horses, but they also can't get rid of the horses. The cops just told her that she has to take care of and keep the horses until he shows up.
I figured that since horses are really considered property out here over pets, that abandoned property laws might apply? Something.
There isn't a local humane society or even a nearby horse rescue that may have that information? I tried googling for statutes but didn't get very far, though I noticed several listings for horse rescues in Illinois.
1. It was incredibly unwise to define the duration of the lease with "as there was sufficient forage for the horse" This is widely open to interpretation.
2. The owners had no business entering leased property for any reason other than to check the condition of the premises and verify the number of head. Unless the lease specifically states otherwise. Their interfering with the lessee's livestock beyond reporting what they can see from the outside is likely a form of trespass.
3. The lease should have some form of written notice clause and they would need to abide by that. Hopefully there is a clause in the lease that this man has actually breached.
4. Most grazing leases are until October/ November, it sounds like the Lessors allowed way too many head for what the pasture could support in the first place.
5. They will have to start an eviction action. This will be probably the only way to remove him from the leased premises.
**If there is not a written lease:**
1. Shame on them for not getting it in writing.
2. All of the above for written leases still apply in a slightly different manner.
3. Without a lease, in addition to starting an eviction action, they may actually be responsible for the horse's care. In order to possess the horses for costs, they would need to file an Agister's Lien. The problem with this tactic is that it muddies the water with the definition of the relationship between the parties. A lease situation, they don't provide care, but in a boarding situation they do.
What county is this in OP?
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What a sad mess for your friend. I don't have any good advice really, but I sure would be looking under every rock to find the owner of those horses. Have they tried tracking him down?
This is exactly why everything needs to be in writing, and to cover all the "what ifs" in the agreement.
Even in North Dakota where you think you should be able to trust everyone.
Call the nearest humane society. If they don't respond within 24 hours, phone the police or sheriff's office. If those horses aren't removed from the property, the land owner may find herself being charged with animal neglect/cruelty.
I am such an idiot, I went by the OP's location, not the title :oops::oops::oops:
Can't they go out to his house and serve him with an eviction notice?
Does your friend know if this said person is still alive and healthy? Is there any way she can contact a member of his family? Could she go to his house and try to talk to him face to face?
dont waste time asking cops for legal advice, for one they arnt very knowledgeable, and for another they will just lie or tell you anything they can think of to get you to go away.
Personally I would just load the horses up and drop them off at the guys front door.
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