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Need Advice: Horse Sale Gone Wrong!
My friend offered to sell me her two horses a few months back. I paid off the gelding. I was supposed to enter a contract to pay for the mare. My friend delivered the mare and gelding last Saturday.
Within 24 hours the mare turned out to be lame, in her hind foot, and emaciated (ribs showing, hollowed out near barrel, and you can see hind end vertebrae). My "friends" admitted that they never picked up their feet to clean them. Their hooves were too long and splintered. The gelding tried to kick me in the face, he stepped on me, and bit me in the back. When I shared this disturbing information to my friend she started crying and said that she was afraid of him and didn't spend time handling or training him and that is why they sold him to me! They thought that I would work with him.... ....But he has no vices, she tells me.
When I approached them about the mare favoring her hind leg, with the broken hunks out of her hoof they lost their minds! They were insulted that I would even suggest that they are selling me a lame horse.
They decided that they were going to pack up the horses, the gear, the tools and anything else they brought and return with it in their trailer to Michigan. I calmly said, you can't do that because I paid for the gelding. He belongs to me now. They went so far as to write a check out in the amount that I paid them, for the gelding. I refused to accept the money and stood my ground.
They drove like mad to the farm where the horses were located. When I got there the owners of the property called the police to have them removed for trespassing. They said that they were going to take me to court, "for all of this...". I asked them to take the mare, her tack, and their trailer and please leave my home and leave this farm in the morning. My friend screamed at me, "Don't you understand Shelley! I can't take the mare back home by herself! She has never been alone and it wouldn't be good for her psychological well being to be without her son! You see, that is why I don't want them here with you! You don't even think about their well being." I politely replied, ".. if you were so worried about their well being then why didn't you work with the gelding to give him structure, ride them, feed them what they needed, and care for their feet properly?" She came at me and the policeman stepped in to hold her back! Then, she growled, "You're going to regret this! I am going to take you to court! Is that what you want?" The policeman then instructed her to get in her car and leave.
The following morning, I went to the farm very early, just in case they did show up. I didn't really want the horses to go back to them, but I didn't want to lose the gelding! I waited and waited for hours. Finally, my boyfriend called me and said that they contacted him and apparently were on their way home to Michigan. They just decided to leave the mare and the trailer parked in grass on property I am leasing!!!!! They told my boyfriend that I am to enter a contract to pay for the mare and trailer.
I do not want to see the mare going back to them. They are afraid of horses and clearly do not care for them properly. I can afford to keep her but do not wish to enter into a legally binding contract with these people. I do not trust that they will actually give me a bill of sale for the mare, or a title for the trailer. Also, they do not understand that the mare needs medical attention and is underweight. This costs money and they were not upfront about these problems!
I would like your advice as to how I should proceed with such an issue. Would you suggest that I write her a letter asking her to remove her trailer and horse from my property within 30 days or else I will start charging her rent for the trailer and board for the mare. If they do not pay, then does the mare belong to me?
By NYS law if they do not claim the animal in 30 days after I send this letter, would this constitute as abandonment?
Also, can you suggest someone I could speak with? Who has experience in these matters?
Thank you!!! :(
Subscribing to the thread. I'll be back in a bit after I talk to a friend of mine. She had a problem like this a few month back.
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I had a situation in my life arise where a woman gave me a horse and after she had already given it to me and I had kept it a couple of weeks, wanted me to enter into a rescue adoption contract. For a less than $200 I was able to get a consultation with an attorney and have him send a letter to the previous owner forbidding her to come on our property or anywhere near the horse. In our case, we still have the horse and all is well. I think before you take any action you need to find out what your rights are. I know that nobody really wants to go to an attorney, but at least that way you know where you stand and it will help guide you in the right direction as far as what you need to do. Also, you need to keep receipts for all your expenses on both horses.
If you are going to buy the trailer you would pay them at the same time get a bill of sale and a title. If you do not want the trailer have them get it or have it towed away.
If the transaction was done long distance you could send the money to an attorney and they could get the title and then give her the money at the same time.
Or you could make a report to the sheriff that they abandoned a horse and trailer on your property. You can offer to board the mare for a reasonable sum per day until they return to pick it up.
I am not sure what the laws are in your state, but in MN if someone abandons property on your property for over 30 days, such as a car, you have to send a certified letter to their last known residence demanding removal and the payment of reasonable storage fees. Find out what a storage yard would charge you for the storage of a horse trailer for a month.
If they fail to pay and remove their property from yours by the specified date in the certified return receipt requested letter, the property is then yours to dispose of as you see fit. You can sell the trailer and horse to recover your costs (storage and boarding fees) and if you decide to keep the trailer you can just go to the DMV and request a duplicate title.
I have had to do this several times over the years. I would certainly suggest contacting an attorney that knows about property law and get their advice regarding laws in your state.
You had the cops out there for the initial incident. I agree with draftrider. File a police report of abandonment. That gives you a legal paper trail. Also get a copy of the police report from the first incident to see if they mention the threats. I would also suggest a restraining order to keep her from just coming on your property willy nilly. Have your bf write out his statement now and have it notorized. I've seen cases get pitched because the witness waited to get one written and the judge felt it left time for the recollection of events to be questioned.
I agree that you need to send her a certified letter stating she has 30 days from the date it happened to reclaim the trailer and mare. I would also get a vet exam done on her ASAP so when the 30 days comes, you can claim her as abandoned and have proof of their neglect if they attempt to fight it.
If the trailer is hers and she did not sign the title over to you, you are going to have loads of fun with that too.
Pay her for the other horse and then you can say you have paid for them and they are yours.
I sent the letter yesterday.
I did try to contact several property lawyers and have not heard back. Apparently this is a great time of year to go on vacation. Since I had 5 days to get the letter to the woman, I had to act without legal counsel.
I will keep you all posted! :)
She sent me an email two days ago saying that I owe her more money, sent me a paypal request and said, "Aries is not yours anymore. Yow owe me more money for him."
So, even if I paid for the mare, would she ever send the bill of sale? Would it just be a game to her to keep stringing me along?
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