Can anyone help me with AZ law re. padlocking my horse?
Due to a dispute related to innaccurate billing and other complicated issues with my landlord, the property management company at my subdivision has padlocked my 22yo arthritic horse in his stall. He can't be taken out to be exercised or bathed and is detiorating quickly. They won't release him till I pay the amount they say I owe, which is inflated by about 2x, and claim they can't adjust the amount till after an HOA Board meeting that isn't to be held for months.
The property management comp and barn manager were both new the month we came in. He's since been let go and everything he told me was innaccurate and they don't care. He never even set up my boarding account and months later I found out the HOA had been billing my landlord and she didn't tell me till a few weeks ago. I was billed for a previous balance that wasn't mine, for all of June when he wasn't there all of June and then $50 more per month, June through Sept. I had sent checks in June and July that were never cashed and are still open. I was told by the now-gone barn manager to wait till I got a bill, which I never got.
SInce several other people boarding their horses also had checks that had been open for months and I was still waiting for my account to be set up, it seemed like an OK idea at the time.
I have the money to pay the account in full based on what i shoukd owe but they want double and i dont have that.
I can't help with what the laws may be, but I'm wondering if something could be done in the way of abuse or neglect from him being stalled like that. Maybe you could get a statement from a vet saying it's unhealthy and detrimental to his health to be confined. Don't take my word for it, I'm just throwing some ideas out there.
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I have no idea how they handle it there, but anywhere I have been boarded your horse will be padlocked until board is paid or worse, sold. Seems extreme, but justified by the board owner. It should also be in your contract that this will happen. If it isn't disputed in your boarding contract, then you can cause some waves.
Otherwise there are really only two options... Pay the board or bring the law in. For your horses well being, it may be best to pay the inflated price to get him out of the stall.
If you believe your horses health is in danger, cut the lock and get the law involved. Padlocking a stall is intended to bully the owners to paying, if you have a history (not saying you do) of not paying or late board, their action is justified. If this is your first time, they're overreacting. We had only one board members horse stall padlocked in all my years of being in public boarding.
Good luck :/ ...
I'd get on the phone and be as friendly and civil as possible and ask them to please proved turnout for the horse because he WILL suffer physically from confinement. Tell them to paddlock him into a paddock. Ask them not to punish the horse for the error, afterall he didn't do anything.
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Thanks guys. We just got him the end of June and he's been there since then. Our boarding account was never set up, I never got a signed agreement from them...nothing. The stable is operated by the HOA in the subdivision but there is a history of mismanagement. The HOA ended up billing my landlord and part of what I'm being told I owe are charges that aren't mind. We also are in the midst of a legal battle with the landlord (for not providing adequate A/C all spring/summer) so I've already been drained financially over that. I can't pay the bogus amount right now.
The facility has no paddocks or turn-out. Some of the boarders turn their horses into round pens or the arena but since those aren't irrigated the horses aren't into walking around AND you have to stay on site while they're out of their stalls. I think it's a horrible facility and actually in my opinion, it's cruel to keep a horse in those conditions. They only get out when the owners take them out and for some, that's next to never. :(
That has nothing to do with my situation except that I found board for him with 24/7 pasture access and want to move him. Even when I can get him out, 1-2 hours a day is nothing compared to standing in a 12x14 stall 22-23 hours a day!
I will call the vet and see if she can give me a letter or something. I knows she thinks the facilities there are awful as she's told me (and another vet has too).
FWIW, I asked the HOA's management company how quickly they could get the padlock off if I were to pay them and they said they won't accept payment from me...that I have to pay the landlord/property management company now (even though about a week ago they said I could pay them directly). The property management company/landlord will only accept money order or cashiers check and I'm fairly certain that if I give THEM the money it won't properly get applied to the boarding account and that the horse still won't be freed. And I'll have no recourse. These are people who left us harassing voice mails on Sept.30 saying they were heading over to change locks and do a move-out inspection without us present because a neighbor told them we abandoned the house...even though Sept. AND October's rent were paid (and on time) and we've been there daily. It's a total crazy-train!
And just for the record, I have never received a bill, late notice or any communication from the HOA mgmt co that has padlocked the stall...
IMHO if you do not have a signed contract, they don't have anything to enforce. Cut the lock, and move the horse. Send them a payment however you have to for what you actually owe, cancel the open checks, and then find somewhere else to live. Sounds like a horrible situation to be, but no one would be getting between me and the welfare of my horses. Good luck to you and your horse.
Good heavens. Get some written proof of how much old horses are getting if slaughtered because that is their only hope of getting any money from the horse. On a good day, a horse with good weight might fetch $350 tops right now. With this evidence they might be willing to work a deal. Some twit there has no idea of what the horse market is like and is trying to hold the horse for ransom. Play their game. Let them know they will come out the losers.
Do not accept anything I say as legal advice.
I would cut the lock, move my horse, and tell them to bite me. If they want money after making my animal suffer physical harm with no notice or warning, they can come after me with the boarding contract bearing my signature showing I agreed to pay them anything at all. I'll counter-sue for knowingly inflicting animal suffering and cruelty.
They're bullies trying to get their way. Nothing they are doing sounds at all legal, especially without a contract.
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