Broken contract, will this do?
Long story short, gave my horse away very trustingly and had the new owner sign the following contract:
Contract for ******
I .., agree on the following terms with regards to the re-homing of the horse, ********.
************** (Previous Owner)
ID number: .
ID number: .
Witness 1: Signed:
Witness 2: Signed:
Right, so now I visit my horse and for the first time in her life her ribs are showing and she's lost a significant amount of topline muscle. I want her back. Its only been a month since they got her. They are also riding her in a saddle that is pinching her wither and they have lied to me about a number of things. Bottom line, I have made a horrible mistake and would like to take her back now. I have the SPCA on to it at least to monitor things. But it might take months for me to get her back or maybe I won't get her back at all if the situation does somehow improve (they haven't been feeding her enough or deworming her). Right, so I think I've found a loophole. I happen to be the horse's barefoot trimmer...if the owner doesn't call me in 4 weeks to trim the horse's hooves as agreed to in the contract - she's broken it and I can take the horse back, right? I would of course get the cops involved at this stage...
More than likely you will have to take them to small claims court and let the judge decide who gets "custody" of the horse. That would be the best way to avoid getting into any trouble yourself. Cops cannot enforce "contracts" that is a civil matter that will have to be handled in court. They can however, if they feel the horse is being neglected or abused seize it for animal cruelty charges which it will go to a boarding facility of their choice pending an investigation and outcome
hope this helps
Actually no. I see the barefoot clause in your contract but not where they have to call you specifically.
If you try to regain ownership you would have to do it under the followig clause.
If at any time, the current owner is unable to keep ******* in the conditions described above, the previous owner, xxxxxxxxxx, will have the option of regaining ownership of *******
Very true. They are under no obligation to call you to trim the horse.
Your contract also completly skipped over what you deam to be an acceptible body condition. So unless they are not keeping her outdoors and are not having SOMEONE trim her,they are not breaking your contract. Spyders suggestion is your best bet but because of the way you wrote the contract, it probably wont get you very far in terms of using a loophole to get her back.
Ok, now if I get her to agree to contact ME to organise hoof trims (like every other normal person) in writing, (I've sent her an email) and then she doesn't contact me for 4 weeks - is that breach of contract? I imagine that the court would give her some sort of leeway - 1 or 2 weeks? I made sure she signed my last invoice stating when the trim took place, name of horse etc.
The other alternative is that she gets another trimmer...and that way I think she will be breaching very quickly as the farriers out here have way too much on their plates is. I think about 1000+ horses to each farrier or something ridiculous. She'd be lucky if the horse saw anyone for 3 months nevermind 2. I would have to prove that the horse hadn't been seen by the farrier at 4 weeks, 5 weeks, 6 weeks and so on, pictures perhaps?
I plan to speak to a lawyer this week with regards to validity and leeways etc so that I'm ready for action if she does breech.
I've learnt so much from this experience already - thanks for the help everyone.
She is under no obligation to contact you, and unless you can prove that another farrier isnt seeing the horse you cant do anything.
You probably should have spoken to the laywer BEFORE doing the contract. They could have advised you as to how to write a proper contract.
My suggestion is to have a professional ( the humane society in your area or a vet) go with you to check up on the horse and act upon their assessment of the condition of your horse. If they say the horse is not being looked after, their testimony is more likely to hold up in court.
I've learnt so much from this experience already - thanks for the help everyone.[/quote]
I guess you can really only hope for the best I hope things work out though:)
I agree with Spyder.
And if you would like to try the verbal contract, invest in a digital recorder make sure that only you and they are present in the conversation, also make sure they state their name or respond to it.
As has been said, never try to play lawyer. Even a real lawyer can miss something in a contract.
According to the terms you listed, there is nothing about condition or welfare of the horse. The only requirements is that the horse live outside, stay barefoot and be trimmed every four weeks.
They don't need to use you. They don't need to use a farrier. It doesn't even have to be a good trim. They simply have to buy a file and trim by themselves every four weeks.
Technically, they don't have to feed the horse or maintain its health. Of course, that would possibly get into the animal cruelty realm and involve various laws. The point it, it would not violate the terms of your contract, nor would it necessarily give you any rights to regain ownership of the horse.
If you are going down the "ribs showing" path there is something else to consider. Did you document the condition of the horse before you transferred ownership? What if the new owner claimed they received the horse in that, or worse condition? They could claim the _you_ gave them a starving horse that is now "on the road to recovery."
Sorry to sound so negative. Only want to point out that your contract does not give you much to stand on with the situation as described. If you want the horse back, a "honey" approach may work better than a "vinegar" approach (i.e. threats, SPCA, etc.).
(disclaimer - all opinion... I am not a lawyer)
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