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taking ownership of a horse in leiu of an unpaid board bill...

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  • taking ownership of a horse in leiu of an unpaid board bill...

    I'm SURE this has been talked about, but I failed to find it in my searches of the COTH forums...I'm sure I just didn't word my search correctly. We have a horse that hasn't had a penny paid on it in over 6 months and the time has come to take over this horse's ownership and sell him. Any advise on where I go to find out the procedure without having to pay a lawyer $2K to get money I am already out??


  • #2
    A lot depends upon where you live. Easy peasy in MD.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      This is actually how I came to own a horse I had previously owned. I sold him and two years later the girl I sold him to abandoned him. I am not sure of the rules - this was a massive facility and at the time they actually and unbelievably did not have a policy in place. They did end up getting the old owner to sign a bill of sale and they waived the board that the old owner owed. I paid a $1 for the horse and then paid up his past-due board and took him home (again).


      • #4
        It depends upon the state in which you live. In some states you are personally allowed to take ownership of the horse, in others you must auction the horse. In MD I believe that you have the send a registered letter, post ads in the papers that the animal will be auctioned and then you can hold an auction, or take the animal to an auction.

        I don't own a boarding facility, and I'm not entirely sure I have the details perfect, but pretty close I think. In your case I would call the county extension office, they should know exactly what you need to do.

        Good luck

        I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

        R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


        • #5
          There is a procedure in LA. Notice must be given in the newspaper. You must send a certified letter demanding payment. No response, horse is yours.

          If they do respond, small claims court is a possibility depending on how much is owed. lawyer not necessary.
          “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
          ? Albert Einstein


          • #6
            You really need to spend the few $ on a consultation with an attorney.

            Or you can spend much of your time going to the courthouse and pick brains there.
            Each state has their own laws on repossession, you don't want to make a mistake.

            Some require you post a public notice and tell you where and how and for how long, how to register your claim, initially maybe with the sheriff and then the court house and how to proceed, depending on what happens.

            If you are worried about the cost, attorney's offices will tell you what one consultation visit is, shop around.


            • #7
              Looks like your in CA.

              Start by reading this:


              Then this:


              Then buy an hour of a local lawyer's time to ensure that what you do is correct.

              Good luck in youy project.

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


              • #8
                California Civil Code Division 3, Part 4, Title 14, Chapter 6.7 Section 3080 provides California boarding stables with an automatic lien upon horses in their possession for unpaid board. This lien is often referred to as an “agister’s lien.” No filing is necessary – the lien continues so long as the horses are in the stable’s possession. The stable can use any peaceable and lawful means to prevent the horses from leaving the property, such as padlocking the horses’ enclosures. If the horses’ owners arrive to take the horses, the boarding stable can call law enforcement to assist them in preventing the horses from leaving.

                However, the boarding stable cannot lawfully sell the horses to satisfy the lien without a court order. Typically, the simplest method of obtaining a court order is to take the boarder to small claims court and obtain a judgment for the past due board. The boarding stable can request its expenses as part of the claim, such as attorneys’ fees, court costs and process serving costs, and the current limit in California small claims court is $7,500.

                Often, the most difficult part of bringing a small claims court suit is locating and serving the boarder. California small claims rules provide for service by certified mail, but certified mail service seldom works, because most nonpaying boarders know that no good news ever arrives by certified mail, and therefore they will not sign for the certified mail. Often, while the stable waits for the certified mail postcard evidencing signature to come back, the deadline for serving the boarder expires, requiring the stable to obtain a new court date and start the service process all over again. Meanwhile, the stable is continuing to feed and care for the boarder’s horses, costing the stable additional resources. To locate and serve the nonpaying boarder promptly, there is no substitute for hiring an experienced, professional process server.

                Once the stable has obtained a judgment against the boarder, the boarder will have 30 days to pay the judgment. If the boarder pays the judgment, the stable must release the horses to the boarder. If the boarder has not paid the judgment within 30 days, the stable can then petition the court for an order permitting them to sell the horses. If the stable sells the horses, it must follow certain notice requirements for the sale – see Section 3080.17.

                What happens if the stable doesn’t obtain a court order or otherwise follow the statutory procedure before selling the boarder’s horses? The boarder may have a legal claim for “conversion,” which is essentially a civil form of theft, in the amount of the horses’ fair market value, plus any reasonable expenses that the boarder incurs in pursuing the horses. However, the boarding stable would still have a legal claim for the outstanding board amount (less any proceeds that the stable received from the sale of the horses), and the amount of this claim typically exceeds the horses’ worth. Therefore, a boarder’s suit for conversion would only be worthwhile if the horses’ fair market value greatly exceeds the amount of outstanding board, which is not usually the case.

                Boarding stables can avoid the lengthy and costly statutory lien sale process by having a boarding contract specifying that the stable has the right to sell the horses after a certain period of unpaid board and that the boarder waives his or her rights under the California agister’s lien statutes. Equine Legal Solutions’ boarding forms package includes a boarding contract containing the necessary clauses.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                • #9
                  The best advice I ever received was to not take ownership but to have the owner pick up the horse, then go after the owner in small claims court. Every day the horse is there, he's costing you money. If he doesn't sell quickly or for a decent price, you're just upping the amount you need to recoup.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                    The best advice I ever received was to not take ownership but to have the owner pick up the horse, then go after the owner in small claims court. Every day the horse is there, he's costing you money. If he doesn't sell quickly or for a decent price, you're just upping the amount you need to recoup.
                    you go to the small claims court anyways to get a claim form to get horse on a lieu basis