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Pennsylvania rules on "stay at home" and boarder/leaser/lessonette access to the barn

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  • Pennsylvania rules on "stay at home" and boarder/leaser/lessonette access to the barn

    Can anyone point me in the direction of where I can find information from the PA Dept of Health, or PA Dept of Agriculture or the State Veterinarian's office where it specifically has verbiage that says what a full care boarding barn that has a lesson program can and cannot do? I don't need opinions on what is right or what someone heard etc,. I need to see actual words from an regulating authority that I can share with others. TIA

  • #2
    In our jurisdiction the wording on this has been supplied by the horse federations. The actual government decrees have not gone into so much detail as to specify every single business category.

    Our national and provincial horse federations got legal advice and talked to the major barn insurance provider and made recommendations for the industry.

    I would contact your equestrian federation to see if they have an interpretation or if they can direct you to one.

    In general around North America caring for animals is an essential service. But customer service oriented businesses that can't keep 6 feet between people are being asked to modify or shut down. Ontario Equestrian Federation since it is still winter and indoor arenas interpreted riding lessons as falling under the category of indoor recreation which was banned by that province. There was nothing from Agriculture Canada on this.

    Anyhow I would contact your equestrian federation and your state Ag department.

    Comment


    • #3
      This isn’t from the government but regards insurance so I think is also a valid concern;

      PLEASE READ: Thanks (name removed) for spelling this out so it's easy to understand!!!

      The horse owners are not “essential caretakers” in a full service or full care barn. Our commercial insurance will not cover the liability of having horse owners on the property when they are deemed not essential during this mandate to daily operations & they get either injured or sick at the barn. The “Tenants farmers” loophole only applies to those horse owners on self care board.... meaning they are the sole caretakers of their horse(s). If you pay any board above a dry stall rental for self care... YOU ARE NOT ESSENTIAL.

      However, if something happens to a client’s horse while the client is restricted from the farm -your care, custody & control coverage will be in full effect by your insurance. Food for thought for everyone as they make choices for their own businesses....

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you both. We have been getting feedback from boarders that horses are property and therefore, we have no legal right to restrict them from taking care of their property (horses are on full care board) and/or riding their property. My BO has been told by another local BO/BT that her insurance (which is also ours) will cover everything like normal. We have not heard this "straight from the horse's mouth" as it were.

        Comment


        • #5
          The "property" argument is very weak. I would tell your BO not to be intimidated by that. Property is never an absolute right and many restrictions can and are placed on your ability to obtain, use, and enjoy property. Easiest example is your car: you own but the restrictions on the use of it are significant. You own your house, but you cannot alter it in violation of building codes or use it in violation of zoning codes. You own your dog, but you cannot neglect or abuse it. They don't have a leg to stand on here if shelter-in-place or insurance or health concerns supersede their right to enjoy their property for a time period.

          The simple fact that people own a horse as chattel property does not mean that they are not subject to restrictions. This unprecedented situation is resulting in significant restrictions being put into place not only on the use of property, but the freedom of movement itself, which is a MUCH higher bar to clear than a restriction on the use of some types of property. Those owners sound like real jerks and I'm sorry you all are dealing with this.

          Comment


          • #6
            I know this is from a different country (let alone state), but it outlines minimum standard of care in a really easy-to-understand way. Possibly a good frame of reference, at least?

            https://www.nfacc.ca/pdfs/codes/equi...f_practice.pdf

            This is what our federal and provincial sports federations and barns are using when determining who constitutes essential personnel.
            Last edited by DarkBayUnicorn; Mar. 27, 2020, 10:55 AM. Reason: Typo

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by skyy View Post
              Thank you both. We have been getting feedback from boarders that horses are property and therefore, we have no legal right to restrict them from taking care of their property (horses are on full care board) and/or riding their property. My BO has been told by another local BO/BT that her insurance (which is also ours) will cover everything like normal. We have not heard this "straight from the horse's mouth" as it were.
              As FitzE stated, you do not have unfettered access to your property all the time. Let's say you own a dry dock storage for boats. Let's say normal operating hours are 8-5 every day. First, if you want access to your boat outside of those hours, you are SoL. Second, during this time, even if a business is allowed to stay open/continue operating because it is deemed "essential" does NOT mean it HAS to or HAS to accept customers. So, let's say the dry dock boat storage is allowed to stay open. The business owner may decide to restrict access by customers to reduce the risk to his employees. He may decide to shut down altogether if he deems it necessary.

              So, the answer to your boarders is no - just because you own the horse does not mean you have unfettered access to your horse. You agreed to pay someone else to house and care for it, if a situation arises where the facility is closed to customers, so be it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I do not see any specific text from Pennsylvania in regards to horse barns or horse boarding. There was a page for Dog boarding kennels. Very few locations address horse barns specifically, I assume it depends on how large the industry is for that location.
                Pennsylvania does state that outdoor activities are permitted, so you may have a hard time arguing with some boarders over it, assuming you're looking for this information because you have people pushing back against a barn closure. Going to a park and taking a walk, not touching anything and staying 6+ feet away from anyone else, is an entirely different thing than going to a barn and touching doorknobs, stall doors, lead-lines, halters, and other stuff that the barn staff also have to touch.
                Custom tack racks!
                www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Again, thank you all, especially for the property examples. BO called insurance agent from Farm and Family and he said we are completely covered with our current policy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How long is the virus believed to survive on wood? Each person coming in may be shedding virus on BOs property.

                    So many think social distancing is for others, not them and they are free to visit anyplace they want whenever they want. Maybe BO could require disposable gloves and masks to visit the property? Especially owners living in more densely populated areas? Might not be a bad idea.

                    Riding might be a outside sport but betting these owners are not riding outside in this weather and that they are going inside the barn to access their horses and tack, touching many wooden surfaces, light switches, gate latches, tack room surfaces, using the bathroom etc.

                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skyy View Post
                      Again, thank you all, especially for the property examples. BO called insurance agent from Farm and Family and he said we are completely covered with our current policy.
                      Has PA declared a state of emergency? I'm in Ontario, and our province did, so there is also that legislation to refer to. I'm sure PA would have their own for you to look into if a state of emergency has been declared.

                      I find it interesting if insurance is saying you're completely covered IF your state has declared a state of emergency, and if horse boarding farms are not essential services (not the employees working on the farm, but the boarders visiting/grooming/riding/etc). Again, up here it has been a little unclear, but the general consensus now is that no, unless a horse owner is providing "essential care", then they are not allowed on the property. Employees only.

                      I did see a post from one of the equine farm insurance providers, and it seemed to indicate that farms would be covered for any non-COVID-19-related issue (ie. insurance would not cover transmission of the virus to anybody from or on the property). However, in the same release, basically said that you may be jeopardizing coverage if you aren't following provincial and federal legislation and recommendations. I can't imagine that anyone up here would be able to successfully claim on their insurance when we've been told to isolate except for essential services.
                      I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In PA:

                        "When Wolf declared the emergency, he activated a section of the state’s emergency management law that gives a governor broad powers to deal with a crisis. Among them: limiting travel, ordering evacuations, designating routes for an exodus, commandeering private property, and limiting or outright halting liquor and firearm sales."

                        NB: limiting travel, closing businesses, commandeering private property, and limiting firearm sales are all WAY more extreme than limiting your access to your horse. There are some Constitutionally protected rights among the things that are being curtailed FFS. Whoever is making that kind of claim to their BO is seriously delusional and represents the exact entitlement complex that will doom efforts to stop the pandemic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skyy View Post
                          Thank you both. We have been getting feedback from boarders that horses are property and therefore, we have no legal right to restrict them from taking care of their property (horses are on full care board) and/or riding their property. My BO has been told by another local BO/BT that her insurance (which is also ours) will cover everything like normal. We have not heard this "straight from the horse's mouth" as it were.
                          Tie their property outside your property, and tell them they're free to take it wherever they want, as long as it's not back onto your property.
                          Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would worry about someone getting hurt, requiring medical intervention like cpr or seeing a doctor.
                            The risk of being exposed,d for both,to interaction with a first responder would be a no from me.
                            Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

                            http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ajierene View Post

                              As FitzE stated, you do not have unfettered access to your property all the time. Let's say you own a dry dock storage for boats. Let's say normal operating hours are 8-5 every day. First, if you want access to your boat outside of those hours, you are SoL. Second, during this time, even if a business is allowed to stay open/continue operating because it is deemed "essential" does NOT mean it HAS to or HAS to accept customers. So, let's say the dry dock boat storage is allowed to stay open. The business owner may decide to restrict access by customers to reduce the risk to his employees. He may decide to shut down altogether if he deems it necessary.

                              So, the answer to your boarders is no - just because you own the horse does not mean you have unfettered access to your horse. You agreed to pay someone else to house and care for it, if a situation arises where the facility is closed to customers, so be it.
                              Agree with this. By the same logic of the boarders, does that mean I could come and ride at 2:00am? because I felt like it. I think there is an understanding that when a boarder boards at X facility they agree to the rules and regulations of that facility.
                              These are extraordinary times and people need to be flexible.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by skyy View Post
                                Thank you both. We have been getting feedback from boarders that horses are property and therefore, we have no legal right to restrict them from taking care of their property (horses are on full care board) and/or riding their property.
                                They can take their horses and do with them what they wish. Easy solution. Otherwise they follow whatever barn rules are in place. Period.

                                I don't believe there is any binding direction at the moment in PA (or NJ) about whether barns must close to boarders or not... but once you as the barn owner make your decision, the boarders can either leave or abide.
                                ~Veronica
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                Comment


                                • #17

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Angela Freda View Post
                                    I would worry about someone getting hurt, requiring medical intervention like cpr or seeing a doctor.
                                    The risk of being exposed,d for both,to interaction with a first responder would be a no from me.
                                    I've been wrestling with this, myself. My horse is at home, in my backyard. I rode on Monday. Haven't since, and I can't decide if the risk is too great or not. Other than the risk of my potential exposure if I have to go to the hospital, but also the issue of potentially using up a hospital bed unnecessarily that could have been used for someone with COVID-19.
                                    Custom tack racks!
                                    www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by skyy View Post
                                      Thank you both. We have been getting feedback from boarders that horses are property and therefore, we have no legal right to restrict them from taking care of their property (horses are on full care board) and/or riding their property. My BO has been told by another local BO/BT that her insurance (which is also ours) will cover everything like normal. We have not heard this "straight from the horse's mouth" as it were.
                                      Bologna from the boarders. Marinas are closed in many areas. Meaning boat owners that pay a hefty bill each month are being denied access to their boats.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Speaking from review of another state's stay at home order: businesses here are presumptively closed unless they quality as an essential business and/or for certain minimum operations. A boarder would read the order and think "I am allowed to do an outdoor activity," but barn owners can't read it like an individual citizen would: they need to read it through their business owner's lens and ask if they quality as an essential business. The day to day care of horses clearly qualifies in my opinion under our state's order; opening to lesson students does not; and opening to boarders does not unless they specifically assist in the delivery of direct essential care to the horses (self boarding, or possibly exercising or hand grazing stalled horses). That's my opinion, anyway. Have not read the PA order but would be curious to see if for comparison.

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